Inspired by Torre’s emerging talent as a sculptor, diehard Rush fan Rich Bonura approached the artist to see if he would sculpt a special piece for him. Little did he know he would walk away sparking a Grand Design that would bring his love for art together with his lifelong passion for all things Rush. After playing around with several ideas that involved sculpting the faces of Rush band members Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart, Rich recalls saying to Torre, “Well, why don’t you throw their faces on a stand of some sort? Or hell, let’s do it around a mountain and call it Rushmore.”
Torre ran with the idea, first placing water-based clay on a wooden dowel and using his sculpting tools to shape the heads of the three iconic musicians and imprint the delicate lines and features of their faces. Torre then referenced images of Mount Rushmore to space and angle each head in resemblance to Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. The surrounding mountain façade and underlying rubble were also carefully mimicked to look like the original. Referencing the distinctive Rush album font, Torre then carved Rushmore, the name of the artwork, on the backside of the mountain.
The finished clay form was then brought to Bollinger Atelier in Tempe, AZ to undergo the complex lost-wax casting process. Once the mold was cast to produce the raw bronze sculpture, Torre went in to refine and approve the finite details of the piece before a specially selected patina finish was expertly applied. To complete the piece, Torre hand carved a base made of solid walnut with a satin stained finish. He then concealed Lazy Susan hardware within the base to enable the piece to be turned a full 360 degrees. After several phases of refinement were completed and the decision was made to mount the band onto a mountain similar to Mount Rushmore, the three heads were taken from their dowels and cut to fit onto a larger mound of water-based clay supported by an internal structure consisting of plywood and wire mesh.
When Rich Bonura saw the finished sculpture he had helped to inspire and was asked what he thought, all he said was, “Wow, it’s… blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” " For those who may not have witnessed Rush’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, what Rich really said was, “I love it. It’s amazing. When I saw just the heads being sculpted, I already thought it was phenomenal. Then once it was done and I got to see it in person, I was just blown away at how amazing the sculpture really is.
“As a fan, I have seen Rush over 100 times over 30 years. I’ve seen them in almost every state in the country. I’m the diehard. So for me, I thought the sculpture was an amazing representation of their likeness, but also a cool thing that it plays on Mount Rushmore. “When someone is extraordinary, like any of the presidents or even those heroes who fought wars on our behalf, we wish to immortalize and memorialize them. Therefore, we cast their images in the form of a statue made of stone or bronze so they’re forever solidified in our hearts and our minds. “Since no one in the music world is going to build any kind of statue to the three priests of the temple of progressive rock, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do it. Rushmore is a representation of the greatest pillar of our musical taste.”