Just after dark on Wed the 27th an email came in from a fellow SLC artist, informing me that his neighbor had just recovered a pair of my trout that were lying in the street/median after an apparent hit and run by a car. This is the same group that was hit by a car previously, and I headed up to see how the triple group faired. The triple group was hit as well, but the ground was soft from our recent weeks of rain and they were just pushed to a 35 degree tilt- all the welds held and they weren’t dented this time. There was still a stream hoop from the missing pair topping one of two shoved-over poles, the hoop was in good shape save for the missing everything else. There was a lot of car debris: headlight, grill bits, trim, etc. It must have been a newer car with the updated pedestrian safety standards, saving the sculptures from the beating they had taken a few years ago. I headed over to the rescuer’s house, she met me at the door telling me a pair of young fellows had helped her lift the sculpture into her SUV. Her husband helped me move the pair of trout and their remaining hoop into the truck- and easy shift across.
Sunday morning re-installation of Bonneville Upstream.
The rest of the morning was up at the intersection of 2100 S 1300 E, with the long turn lane still closed for street construction. This gave us a nice safe space to park and work from. The City’s public art coordinator, Kat Nix, brought hardhats and safety jackets for the guys, and pitched in with the work. The director of Salt Lake City’s Arts Council, Felicia Baca, also stopped in, joking around at how I used to be her boss back when I ran Global Artways for the City. After Jed and I had dug out the holes and installed the paired group into concrete footings, Chris made a quick trip up to help us lift the triple group into position and slurry in the concrete. Everything went swimmingly, and the trout are happily in the current again.
The trout are all finished out. When last we saw them, they were undergoing reconstructive surgery from their car attack. Since then I set a new cold patina to etch and seal the naked bronze, then went about color matching. They are all dolled up with patina renewed, and the entire form cleaned and waxed. When their sister pair is released from police evidence, I’ll finish out that set, then add new stainless steel mounting poles to both sets.
Triple digit heat finally let off today, allowing triple trout triage. The double trout set is still held as evidence in the City’s court proceedings with the driver that smashed into them, but I thought I’d get started on the big triple group. The car had slid up and over the front fish of the group, gouging in many deep lines along both sides of the fish and worse, pushing a big running dent.
The busy intersection the fish reside at has a street fully closed for construction, and so the turn lane adjacent to the sculpture is blocked off. E and I headed up to have a look, parking in the closed turn lane. One of two poles held the group of fish, the other having sheared at the weld line, and of the missing pair one pole still held a battered/torn hoop. Two cuts and it could all be gone. E worked her way along the City phone tree ’til we connected with the new director of the city’s arts council. She told me the accident happened Monday-ish, the missing fish were recovered by a witness to the accident. She has been waiting to call me, as there are many plates in the air on how to handle this one. I was concerned it would be easy pickings for metal thieves, and she gave me the green light to remove it. My pal Jed said he would help, as did my neighbor- who also offered up his work van, as it has a much lower gate than the truck and those fish are heavy. E watched his two kids and brought Nora over to his house (our week of storms was beginning and Nora has her issues with weather).
We parked the big van in the closed turn lane as Jed arrived. The group of three fish was my primary concern, and one pole needed to be cut away. I’d put a battery on the charger as soon as E & I had returned from our recon mission, by the time I had permission and a crew together it had charged and I snapped it onto the sawzall while popping on a used blade and bringing my spare (also used) and my second battery. And the most important tool that I can’t ever stress enough: Cestus Vibrex gloves (if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be able to type this). The first blade made it about half way before glowing red as its teeth smoothed off. The second blade nearly made it through before the battery was spent (a new blade would have taken off both posts on the one battery in half the time…). Not enough blade or battery to take off the remaining hoop, but it isn’t much of a temptation to thieves, and I’ll recover it soon enough.
It’s always surprising how heavy big heavy things are. We muscled the group of three fish and hoops into the back of the van, drove the few blocks home, and unloaded it into the shop. The guys went home and I called the arts director to let her know how we had faired. Just then there was knock at the door, and it was my neighbor and his young daughter with two police officers. The police had been flooded with calls from people waiting at the light as we pulled the piece, and a citizen had subtly followed us back home and given the police all the deets. This really cheered me up. I’ve had my work trashed 4 times now including my best and favorite work, Orpheus and Eurydice, stolen by metal thieves and shredded for scrap. This is the only time a sculpture has been damaged by accident. I handed the phone over to an officer and he spoke with the director briefly, and everything checked out.
I’ll recover the remaining hoop on my own today, and hold them all for the City while the process of how to proceed shakes itself out. (I used a new-to-me type of sawzall blade, $10 for a single blade; it took about 10 seconds to light-saber through the 2 inch stainless steel sch40 pole. Faster than a cutoff wheel.)