The Story of The Spirit: The Iconic Michael Jordan Bronze Sculpture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Achieving Immortality Through Bronze Sculpture
Throughout history, artists were commissioned to create innovative sculptures to honor individuals,
from all walks of life, who contributed greatly to the advancement of society. A perfect sculpture
signifies immortality through profound creative expression.
A well-known example of this can be found inside the United Center in Chicago, IL, home to the Chicago
Bulls and the world-famous Michael Jordan sculpture, titled The Spirit. The United Center is one of the
largest arenas in the United States and hosts over 200 + events each year.
The Spirit is easily recognizable as one of the most iconic sports sculptures of all-time, as millions of
people have visited the sculpture since its installation in 1996. However, most people are unaware of
the legendary artists who created the sculpture and the amazing story behind its creation, until now!

The Story of Julie and Omri Amrany
The Spirit was created by Julie and Omri Amrany, classically trained sculptors and painters from opposite
sides of the world who first connected through the concept of movement in sculpture.
Julie, originally from Highland Park, IL, and Omri, born and raised on a kibbutz in Israel’s Jordan Valley,
first met in Pietrasanta, Italy, in 1985 while studying to advance their art. (Omri often jokes that while
others were studying computers, he went back to the Stone Age!) Since the time of Michaelangelo,
Pietrasanta, where Michaelangelo lived, has been the mecca for stone carving.
Julie and Omri married in 1987 and settled in Northern Israel for two years. They had their only son,
Itamar, in 1989 and moved to the United States that same year with the intent of establishing an art
center and workplace modeled after the many European ateliers where the couple studied the art of
sculpting in Pietrasanta, Italy.
Thus, in 1992, Julie and Omri founded The Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany, which is now located in
the historic Fort Sheridan in Highwood, IL.

Capturing the Essence of “Air Jordan”
A few years after founding The Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany, Julie and Omri were notified of the
commission opportunity to create a bronze sculpture of Michael Jordan, a six-time NBA champion with
the Chicago Bulls outside of the United Center in the fall of 1994.
The sculpture was commissioned by the Chicago Bulls, in collaboration with Nike, the NBA, and Upper
Deck, a worldwide sports and entertainment company.
However, the couple only had 72 hours to submit three images for consideration. Julie and Omri took on
the challenge, while parenting a toddler, and created the iconic design that made bronze fly–Jordan’s
classic outstretched flight.
Once the design was selected for the sculpture, a series of photos were taken of Michael Jordan to
ensure that every sculptural detail was as accurate as possible. Next, the skeletal armature was created
and the sculpture rendered in clay.
After the final clay sculpture was completed and approved, molds were made of the clay. The molds
were used by the foundry to complete the many steps required to pour the metal. Final fabrication and
patina occurred in conjunction with Julie and Omri.
The final result was a ground-breaking sculpture that was created with the highest quality standards and
attention to detail to ensure client satisfaction.

Life After The Spirit
In the 23 years since the creation of The Spirit, Julie and Omri have created over 300 public and private
high-quality works of art for many other notable clients including but not limited to: Los Angeles Lakers,
Adler Planetarium, University of Illinois, and 9-Acre Veterans Memorial Park City of Munster, Indiana. A
full client list is available here.
Today, The Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany is home to an exceptional group of artists and designers
who are acclaimed for their public artwork, park design, and installations. Their work reflects
contemporary consciousness that looks to the future for experimentation with newfound materials and
pioneering discoveries in science.
Innovation, and an ethical commitment to creating high-quality art, is a driving force within The Studio’s
culture as they seek to push the limits and accomplish the unknown with each new piece of artwork.
To learn more about commission opportunities with The Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany, please
email info@rotblattamrany.com.

“We are grateful to have earned public respect in many cities. I believe we are giving something
hopeful and energizing back as we explore the lives of heroic figures and hold up parts of
their human and soulful experience that can inspire others.”
– Julie Amrany