Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
September 9, 2008
Public art doesn’t have to be dull, or so blandly abstract that it’s hard to look at. Just ask Bradford Rhea.
Bradford, a professional sculptor, had created artwork for the town of Sterling, Colorado, before. The town — in a generous gesture — asked him to come up with something new. Anything he desired. “I always wanted to do a sculpture of Moses parting the Red Sea, with his hair flying,” Bradford recalled. The town asked Bradford to think about it again. “And this just came to me all of a sudden. The idea of dreams being redeemed. I thought of how great it would be to have the look of balloons in a metal.”
Bradford’s “Dream Redeemer” was officially unveiled on September 7.
What exactly is it? Bradford explained: “This creature is taking a deflated balloon, which represents a broken dream, and is dropping it into the machine that has all kinda elements of space and time — the degrees of longitude and lots of clocks and things like that — and he’s basically cranking them through and all these inflated balloons are coming out. I’ve sculpted relief on them — symbols of what might represent new dreams. That’s the entire concept. He’s a redeemer.”
The creature looks like a steampunk flying monkey to us, and we can imagine that Bradford will be getting calls from people wanting him to design armor for their live-action role-playing characters. Guess you’d call it Mythical Realism, normally only found on SF book covers and in their movie adaptations. Bradford said that the sculpture isn’t an homage to anything, and humbly deflects praise, although he does say that “I really did try to make him friendly.”
Bradford admits he was nervous about how his statue would be received. “I’ve just been worrying. That’s typical of me.” Dream Redeemer is something that you don’t see every day, and certainly not ten feet tall, in bronze, in a public park. More fever-delirium art like this, pleez — and like this too.
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