Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Dad, The Artist

Until now, my father's artistic ambitions have been limited to his annual "Egg Man" at Easter.  The man is a brilliant veterinarian, a gifted minister and born farmer.
 
The one thing he is NOT is artistic.
 
Which is why it surprised me to learn several years ago that my father had been saving empty vaccination vials for YEARS to make into a Vile Dog sculpture.  I believe the subject came up shortly before his official retirement.  While the details of the conversation are now lost, I do remember being rather stunned with Dad's idea.  It was just so bizarre....and so unlike him!  He went on and on and on about how pretty the empty vials were...how the light bounced off of them just so.  Mom confirmed that he had been saving boxes of the empty vials for years....which was another shocker!
 
Yes, my Dad is prone to rather odd ideas once in a while.  Despite his rather pragmatic, humble background, though, he is somewhat of a born entertainer.  The more bizarre the better!
 
To be honest, I never thought he would get around to MAKING the Vial Dog.  Neither did my mother, who just rolled her eyes at the boxes of empty vials in the barn.  I managed to forget all about it after that first conversation.
 
Little did I know...
 
Enter Molly Roberts, a friend of my parents who just so happens to be a gifted artist with her own studio in my hometown.  The long and the short of it is that - based entirely on this year's egg man performance and a whole lot of good-natured teasing about Dad's 'talent' or lack thereof - Molly goaded Dad into action.  Dad got to work, and the Vile Dog made it's grand debut in Molly's shop over the weekend.
  
Dad asked me if I would share the story of the Vile Dog with my blog readers and facebook friends, and so I am quite happy to present:
 
The Vile Dog
By Ed Piepergerdes
Mixed Media Sculpture
November, 2012
 
 My dad chose the shape of a Dachshund because 40 years ago he was nailed by a particularly nasty Dachshund.  Legend has it that he snarled, "You Vile Dog," at the biting beast.
 OK, so I KNEW what the vials looked like...and I'm totally shocked by how beautiful they actually are in the final piece.  Dad was right...who knew?!
 The body form is made of wire, and Dad used clay and paint to build the head and the toy.
 Ahem...the man is a vet....
 ...and anatomical correctness was important.
 His favorite color is orange.
 Here are the girls for perspective.  The darn thing is awfully close to actual life size....
 And for someone who's never sculpted a darn thing in his life, the shape is incredible!
I agree!
And so did all of the people at Molly's Studio last weekend. 
They think he should try to sell the thing on Ebay or Etsy.
 
and now a confession....
I really, REALLY want a Vile Dog of my own!
I would SOooooo put that thing on permanent display on my mantel.
Christmas, Dad, Please?