Do you drive past something special every day and never really pay any attention to it?
Do you know what I mean?
Is there something special in your ‘backyard’, basically, that you’ve never really explored because it has always been there?
For example, I lived in San Francisco but never climbed Coit Tower. I know plenty of SF natives that have never walked across the Golden Gate bridge or walked down the crooked Lombard Street or ridden a Cable Car!
You get what I’m getting at…
Well, pictured here is a huge broze statue that I pass at least 10 times a week. It is on my regular drive into town. It is called, “The Gentle Giant” however none of us call it that. We all refer to it as the “big horse statue” or the “draft horse statue at the fairgrounds”.
It sits at the entrance of the Nevada County Fairgrounds in honor of the annual Draft Horse Classic that is held there.
BUT THE OTHER DAY…
But, the other day I decided that I wanted to stop and look at it…really look it over and see who created it. So I did.
I actually remembered my camera, parked my car and stood beneath the behemoth.
This is what I saw.
Wow. Being beneath it was so different than driving past it at 50mph!
I noted that the sculptor was Todd Andrews. I told myself to look him up when I got back home. I figured he was some hotsy-totsy sculptor from some exotic locale. I expected that he had never heard of Grass Valley, California before he won the commission…
I wondered what our community paid for it. But, I didn’t really care since it is such a landmark and everyone refers to it… money well spent.
Just about every townsperson uses the statue in a directional sentence.
“Yup, when you see the big horse statue, you are almost at the freeway”… or “Go up McCourtney, and you know you are on McCourtney because you’ll see that big horse statue…” or “If you see the horse statue, you can’t miss it, you are going the wrong way”.
Everyone here in Grass Valley is very proud of “The Giant” but I bet 90% of all people living here have never known the official name of this incredible bronze sculpture – or stood beneath it.
So, I came home and googled TODD ANDREWS.
OMG. I’m such a doofus and so wrong in my assumptions!
Todd Andrews lives in Grass Valley! Yup, relocated up here to live among all the beauty! His website even had directions to his studio which is also right on my way into town. (His studio is hidden, however. The statue is not.)
But, what was surprising is that there are a few other original Todd Andrews bronze statues around town that I never knew existed! I actually got in my car and drove to the one of the other statues just because I couldn’t believe it existed where the website said it existed since I had passed that site a zillion times and never noticed the life-sized statue of a stag there before.
It was there. Oy. I need to pay a little more attention to the little (big) things that surround me during my day…
Todd has the procedure noted on his website which I will link here.
I thought it was great fun to see ” The Giant” in the making. What an endeavor.
1. The client and I agree on the subject, pose and budget.
2. I research the anatomy and body language of the subject.
3. I create a 3D wax model to try to capture the feeling of the subject.
4. The client and I review the model, and I build a maquette (model).
5. Once the model is approved, I request a development fee. This covers the cost of my time and materials, determining the necessity of an armature or engineering for the bronze sculpture, determining the mounting, casting, shipping, and installation costs, and drawing up an agreement.
6. Upon signing the agreement, I request a down payment, and my staff and I build a full-sized armature of our design to support the clay.
7. We clay up the full-sized sculpture, then detail it. The client approves the sculpture either in person or by video, and makes a progress payment.
8. My staff and I make a mold of the sculpture.
9. The bronze foundry casts a full-sized wax and I inspect it to insure the integrity of the original has been maintained. (Pictures of the bronze casting process are shown on the Bronze Process page.)
10. The wax is set up with a cup to pour in bronze, feeds to bring in molten bronze, and vents to remove gases.
11. It is then repeatedly dipped in a liquid slurry and sprinkled with sand, as a ceramic shell is built around the wax.
12. The wax is melted out in a kiln.
13. Molten bronze is poured into the hollow shell.
14. The bronze pieces are fitted together and welded.
15. An armature is installed if needed, and mounting methods are installed as the bronze is assembled.
16. Once the sculpture is together, it is finished to match the original surface.
17. The finished bronze is given a patina by applying several chemicals which give it a rich, robust color.
18. The finished sculpture is carefully packed and shipped to its destination, where it is installed to the client’s specifications.
Wow. I suggest that all of you get out and explore something that you pass everyday. I sure enjoyed it and in some broney statue way, I think paying homage to such a gorgeous creation puts a special shine on The Giant in that moment. At least I like to think that the draft inside the sculpture was happy that I thought he was beautiful.
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