Pentictonites will soon be able to name a 10,000-pound metal Tyrannosaurus rex sculpture among the city’s stand-out landmarks.
Renowned Chilliwack metal artist Kevin Stone recently announced he’s been hired to build a 50-foot-long, 35-foot-tall T-rex sculpture that will stand permanently on display in Penticton.
Stone got his start in the metal sculpting world in the early 2000s and has since gone on to construct some of the largest metal sculptures in the world. He’s received international recognition for his work and has become a highly sought-after artist among a handful of the world’s wealthiest art collectors.
His sculptures regularly sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars to art enthusiasts, including celebrities like Dolly Parton who has an eagle built by Stone at her theme park, Dollywood.
Stone’s start in metal sculpting came when the brewery equipment manufacturing company he was working for in the early 2000s asked him to sculpt a metal gargoyle to display on the roof of their building. That gargoyle would be the first of many pieces in Stone’s repertoire.
Stone’s art has recently become so in-demand that he was able to sell his Chilliwack hot-rod shop and focus full-time on his art. Penticton’s incoming T-Rex was one of the reasons he was able to make that career move.
“One of the reasons I actually decided to leave the shop is the big T-rex project,” he says. “It’s a big commitment as a two-year project for me to build, with a pretty good budget so it wasn’t something that you really want to turn down.”
So how did Penticton become selected as one of the few locations that will showcase a Kevin Stone sculpture? There’s a long story there including a network of uber-rich art collectors, Las Vegas, Dolly Parton, Miami, something called the Big Boys Toys luxury exhibition and a $60-million luxury car collection.
But the short version is that Penticton’s mystery T-rex buyer saw one of Stone’s falcon sculptures at a luxury car gallery in Miami and wanted a sculpture for himself.
The buyer, who wishes to keep his identity secret, reached out to Stone to ask him about building a giant T-rex. “I’ve always wanted a T-rex,” he told Stone.
“Basically it’s going to be a giant chrome T-rex, full-scale, 50 feet long, 30 feet high, its legs are 12 feet tall… I’m going to try my best to make it have all the details of a real dinosaur right down to the texture of the skin,” Stone said.
The buyer intends for the sculpture to be on a hillside of his Penticton property overlooking the city where it should be visible from most vantage points in the city. He has also expressed interest in purchasing a public park and putting the T-rex there along with other dinosaur sculptures and donating the entire park to the city, Stone said.
Currently stone is wrapping up a dragon project modelled after the popular fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones. Although still incomplete, the dragon has brought Stone more attention than any other piece he’s made to date.
He plans to begin construction on the T-rex soon at his home in Chilliwack and expects it to take almost two years to complete.
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