Tag Archives: sculpture

Katrina Tree

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When my dad died, my sibling insisted I travel to Mississippi for his memorial service.

I was house sitting in Tracy, California when he passed on Monday afternoon. My dad’s wife scheduled the memorial service for the upcoming Friday evening. By Tuesday I’d bought a $600 round-trip airline ticket. By Thursday morning, I was flying out of Oakland, on my way down South.

My sibling and my sibling’s partner met me at the airport in New Orleans. They rented a car, and the partner drove us through the darkness surrounding Interstate 10, all the way to Ocean Springs. The three of us visited awkwardly with my father’s wife (who was holding up exceptionally well), then headed to Bay St. Louis where we would spend the night.

We stayed at the home of my sibling’s partner’s aunt and uncle. The aunt and uncle were out of town, but they graciously offered us the use of their empty home. It was dark when we pulled into the driveway, but my sibling managed to find the hidden spare key. It wasn’t long before we were passed out in the spare bedrooms, exhausted and probably still shocked at the unexpected death of the patriarch.

The next morning we were blessed by being able to sleep until we woke up naturally. My sibling cooked breakfast and we planned our day. I needed to stop at a thrift store before we saw my dad’s wife again so I could buy a new shirt. (I only had one shirt with me, the one I’d worn the night before. I thought my dad’s wife would only see me once before the memorial service, but it turned out she’d see me twice, and I knew she would notice if I had on the same shirt I’d been wearing the night before.) Before we went back to my dad’s house, my sibling wanted to show me the “Katrina Trees.”

My sibling and the partner and their son had visited my dad and his wife the previous summer. During the visit, my dad and his wife had taken them to see several “Katrina Trees.” The “Katrina Trees” were trees that had been killed by Hurrican Katrina in 2005 and later carved into large-scale sculptures. My sibling wanted me to see at least one of these trees that meant so much to my dad and his wife.

According to https://www.gulfcoast.org/listings/hurricane-katrina-tree-sculptures/3683/, the

tree-sculptures are located all along scenic Highway 90. There are now approximately 50 sculptures throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast,

The website for the city of Biloxi (https://www.biloxi.ms.us/katrina-biloxi/sculptures/) says,

The trees were victims of the saltwater storm surge of Hurricane Katrina.

There was no plaque with the tree, no explanation or artist information. I did some internet research and determined this tree was carved by chainsaw artist Dayle Lewis of Indiana. My conclusion was confirmed by “Lewis 2012” carved into the bottom of the sculpture, just under the heron.

According to https://www.gulfcoast.org/listings/hurricane-katrina-carved-angels/4266/, Lewis has carved angel sculptures out of six live oaks killed by Hurricane Katrina’s 40-foot saltwater surge. The trees can be found throughout Bay St. Louis.

  • Two…“Carved Angels” stand in the Cedar Rest Cemetery on Second Street[.]
  • One [is on] Beach Blvd – In front of Our Lady of the Gulf Church[.]
  • One [is] near Century Hall[.]
  • Two are located on the first block of Demontluzin Avenue[.] The “Demontluzin Avenue Angel” was used as a life raft by three Katrina survivors and their dog.

I read an article on the Florida Times-Union website (http://jacksonville.com/sports/outdoorsoutside/2014-08-30/story/angel-tree-mississippi-gulf-coast-saved-3-lives-during) which shows a photo of the tree I visited with the story of the three Katrina survivors and the dog, but I think they used the wrong image. While both trees were carved by Dayle Lewis, the tree where the three people and the dog spent the night during the hurricane was described in an article on the WGNO web page (http://wgno.com/2016/09/14/the-unique-guardian-angels-of-bay-st-louis/) as “probably the plainest of them all.” The article goes on to say,

The most elaborate of the four angel trees looks out to sea, just like the original one — it has several angels carved into it, along with some herons, ladybugs, turtles and pelicans. One of the angels has white eyes — of all the angels that adorn the four angel trees, it’s the only one with white eyes.

The tree I visited is clearly elaborate, faces the sea, features turtles, herons, and pelicans (sorry, but I don’t remember any ladybugs), and includes an angel with white eyes.

We didn’t stay at the tree very long. I took photos, and my sibling hugged it, then we headed back to my dad’s house to prepare for his memorial service. We didn’t stay long, but it did me good to see the tree. It did me good to see such a wonderful part of the life of my father, a life that I missed for so many years.

Another Horse

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Since I wrote about a horse yesterday, I thought I’d stick with the theme and write about a horse of a totally different kind I saw in Truth or Consequences, NM.

I was house and dog sitting in a neighborhood near the hospital. One morning while walking the dog, I went down a street I hadn’t explored before. I looked over and saw a horse…a metal horse.

The sculpture was located in a fenced area between two houses. The fenced area was more of an empty lot than a yard. The fence was of the hurrican variety, so the horse was entirely visible. While the gate was open, I didn’t go into the enclosed area. I thought that might be a little too much like trespassing. Thankfully, I was able to aim my camera up and over the fence so I could get an unobstructed view.

There was no plaque to go with the sculpture, nothing about the artist or the medium or the technique used to create this creature. Maybe it’s a piece of yard art like I sometimes see being sold in tourist towns. Even if it is “just” yard art, I still like it. I like the horse sculpture in general, but especially the mane and tail. I like the jauntily raised hoof and the three-dimensionality of the piece. This is not some flat cutout! This horse has heft.

One of my favorite parts of house and dog sitting is exploring new neighborhoods and discovering their character. I like the spirit this metal horse adds to its block.

I took the photos in this post.

Quackers

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Quackers is yet another sculpture in the permanent collection in downtown Mesa, AZ. It is located next to a large fountain near the northwest corner of Main and Center streets. (View the guide to Downtown Mesa’s Permanent Sculpture Collection here: http://www.downtownmesa.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/PrintableSculptureGuide.pdf.)

img_5855Mike Dwyer of Loveland, CO created this bronze piece. According to Dwyer’s website (http://mikedwyersculptures.com/mikedwyer-quacke.html),

Mike was inspired to sculpt “Quackers” around his two year old son Nathan and his love of feeding the ducks at the local park. Nathan would hold on to crackers or bread and try to get the ducks to come in as close as possible.

This was Mike’s first sculpture of a child. He used real measurements from Nathan, even going in with his calipers and measuring ears nose and extremities while Nathan was napping. He also took many pictures of the active, small boy in many different poses.

According to http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM8V72_Quackers_Mesa_AZ,

The sculpture was purchased through the City of Mesa’s Permanent Sculpture Panel and was dedicated img_5856in April 2004.

I think this is a really cute piece of art. How can Mesa go wrong with a little kid feeding ducks? What I really want to know is how the city keeps people out of that fountain in the summer.

Teaching Children Since 1878

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I’ve written before about the sculptures on Main Street in Mesa, Arizona. (Read about The Big Pink Chair here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/10/07/the-big-pink-chair/ and Booked for the Day here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/10/15/booked-for-the-day/.) Today’s featured sculpture is called Teaching Children Since 1878.

According to http://collections.si.edu/search/results.htm?q=record_ID:siris_ari_316604,

The sculpture is the central piece of a larger plaza setting, which includes 16 bronze or brass relief plaques on surrounding stucco wall with inscriptions on the history of education in Mesa and 4 columns from the original Mesa High School (formerly known as the second Abraham Lincoln School).

The brochure (https://res-5.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1/clients/mesa/DMA%20Sculpture%20Guide%203-2015_7bd31763-551d-4e7d-8dac-5cdcc56c8d24.pdf) with information about the self-guided tour of the Mesa’s sculpture collection lists the sculptor as James Avati, but the img_5842aforementioned Smithsonian Institution website lists three people as sculptors of this piece: James  R. Avati, C. L. Harding, and Dennis Tidwell.

While writing this post, I learned James R. Avati is from a family of artist. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Avati,

“His [grand]father was a professional photographer in New York City and his father was “James Sante Avati…an American illustrator and paperbackcover artist. ”

James R. Avati’s biography on the Utah Artist Project website (http://www.lib.utah.edu/collections/utah-artists/UAP-James-Avati.php) refers to Teaching Children Since 1878 as a “major commission.” It also says,

James R. Avati of Redbank, New Jersey, and Salt Lake City, is an excellent and sensitive sculptor who img_5845studied at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, at the Arts Students League in New York City, at Ricks College in Idaho, and at Brigham Young University. He was also a graduate student in the Department of Art at the University of Utah where he earned his M.F.A. in 1988. While there he worked with Angelo Caravaglia in the development of his frequently powerful art.

This life-size bronze sculpture is located on the south side of Mesa’s Main Street, on the corner of Sirrine Street.

I enjoy the juxtaposition of the fashions worn by the teacher and her students against the backdrop of modern buildings and cars, motorcycles and traffic lights. The teacher reminds me of a statue of a pioneer woman in Austin, TX a friend and I once used as the star of a short film.

Next time you’re strolling in downtown Mesa, be sure to checkout these scholars.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Booked for the Day

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I recently wrote about the public art on Main Street in Mesa, AZ and mentioned my favorite sculpture there, The Big Pink Chair . (Read that post here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/10/07/the-big-pink-chair/.)

Another piece in Mesa’s outdoor art collection that I like a lot is Booked for the Day by Dan Hill.

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The statue is made from bronze, and is 42″h x 16″w x 30″d. It has a copyright of 2000.

Of course, I like the fact that the girl is reading. I love reading and books, so I was tickled to see two of my passions depicted in art. I also like the fact that the sculpture is sitting on a bench, out in public, just like a real person. It’s fun to sit next to this depiction of a young reader or stand behind her and look at the pages of the book over her shoulder. Oh, the possibilities for photo opportunities for anyone visiting Mesa’s Main Street with friends! img_5783

Dan Hill’s website (http://www.danhillsculpture.com/booked-for-the-day.html) says,

        A good book is hard to put down and this girl won’t be putting her book down anytime soon. Ten-year old Erica, engrossed in Harry Potter, was the inspiration for this interactive sculpture. This sculpture is in the permanent public collections of the City of Mesa, Arizona; the Carnegie-Evans Public Library, Albia, Iowa; the Palos Heights Public Library, Palos Heights, Illinois; the Eccles Community Art Center, Ogden, Utah; City of Ankeny, Iowa; Cleary University, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Main Street Garden, Twin Falls, Idaho; the Prescott Public Library, Prescott, Arizona; and the Ligonier Public Library, Ligonier, Indiana. 

According to the aforementioned website,

[Dan Hill’s] talent for s[c]ulpting emerged accidentally in 1974 when he was lounging around at home recuperating from a work related foot injury.  While watching an old western on television, he began messing around img_5781with a toothpick and some playdough [sic]…By the time the movie had ended [Hill] had sculpted a small bust, capturing a remarkable likeness of actor Lee Marvin.  These humble beginnings as a sculptor were followed by the early success of two sports action sculpture commissions and a first place ribbon in the Professional Sculpture Division at the Utah State Fair.

Booked for the Day is located on the south side of Main Street, between Robson Street and MacDonald Street.

View the brochure that goes along with the self-guided tour of Mesa’s sculpture collection here: https://res-5.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1/clients/mesa/DMA%20Sculpture%20Guide%203-2015_7bd31763-551d-4e7d-8dac-5cdcc56c8d24.pdf.

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I took all of the photos in this post.

The Big Pink Chair

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Mesa, Arizona is a very strange town in the greater Phoenix metro area. Mesa is full of Mormons and meth and…art. Well, at least downtown Mesa is full of art.

According to a brochure that goes along with the self-guided tour of the town’s sculpture collection (https://res-5.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1/clients/mesa/DMA%20Sculpture%20Guide%203-2015_7bd31763-551d-4e7d-8dac-5cdcc56c8d24.pdf)

Mesa’s Growing Permanent Sculpture Collection features 39 fine pieces, most of which are displayed downtown (four privately owned sculptures are also on loan). Enjoy a FREE self-guided outdoor walking tour of the sculptures any time of day or night, any day of the week.

(Do what you want, but I wouldn’t recommend hanging around Main Street in downtown Mesa in the middle of the night.)

My favorite piece in Mesa’s sculpture collection is The Big Pink Chair. The above photo does not do it justice. It’s not just a big pink chair. It’s a BIG pink chair. An adult sitting in it looks like a little child. When I sit in it, my legs don’t hang down. When I sit in it, my feet stick straight out.

And yes, folks can climb up and sit in the chair. It makes for a great photo op, so visit it with a group of friends (especially if you time your visit for 3am).

img_5918The Big Pink Chair is a work by Mary Consie. It’s located on the north side of Main Street, between Morris Street and Robson Street.

I took the photos in this post.

Working Man Statue

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When I passed through Mesa, Arizona, I saw a statue that is obviously the fellow worker of the Toilet Paper Hero of Hoover Dam. (Read about my visit to the Toilet Paper Hero here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/11/09/toilet-paper-hero-of-hoover-dam/.)

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IMG_4349According to http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM8J50_Petes_Place_Mesa_AZ, this man is John W. “Pete” Peters. The statue was sculpted by Russell W. Bowers and stands on Main Street, near Morris Street. The statue was donated to Mesa’s permanent sculpture collection by Western Block Company, a company Pete owned. It was dedicated in January 2003.

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IMG_4350 I like the way this statue seems dynamic, as if Pete is about to actually lay down that cinder block and spread mortar on it. Most statues seem static, so this one really stood out for me.

I took all of the photos in this post.