(From left) Creston Valley Public Arts Connection Society members Bruce Johnston

Downtown Creston’s bedraggled burro sculpture inspired by trip to Greece

Web Lead

Jerry McKellar studied dentistry and practiced in Colville, Wash., until his retirement in 1994. Throughout his practice, he found time to sketch wildlife and craft detailed jewelry for family and friends. His first bronze sculpture was completed in 1987 and his repertoire, along with numerous awards and honours, has expanded since then.

Many of his sculptures are historically accurate depictions of Native American life or his interpretation of a Native American myth or story passed on through the generations. Figures, both human and animal, from the American west are also a favourite subject of McKellar’s.

Bad Hair Day is also a figurative piece but deliberately coarser. Capturing a rather threadbare burro that he and his wife observed while traveling in Greece, it is bedraggled and losing its winter coat. As burros tend to be, though, it is stalwart and staunch. Squared away and ever sturdy, McKellar’s fine rendering gives the subject dignity and pride — even with its overgrown forelock and mane draping along its spine, revealing a woolly rump and patchwork flanks. Ears cocked and head swiveled, he seems to take it all in stride, no doubt having endured carrying many loads. “What’s a little shedding of hair?” seems his repose; McKellar animates the work fittingly with exacting realism.

1. Where do you draw the inspiration for your sculptures, specifically this year’s entry?

I started sculpting wildlife, but later added figurative work. The idea for my life-size burro, Bad Hair Day, came from a trip we took to Greece where I took a photo of a miserable little burro out in the rain, losing its winter coat.

2. Which artist, past or present, has had a major impact on you as a sculptor and why?

On our trips to Europe, I have admired many sculptures by the masters, but I would say my artist peers have been the most help since I have never taken an art course. Artists as a whole are very warm, helpful people and have helped on any questions that I have had over the years.

3. Was there a defining time or moment in your life when you realized sculpting was something you wanted to do for a living?

Actually, sculpting was a hobby that got out of control. In 1994, I made the decision to retire from 25 years as a dentist to devote more time to my art career.

4. Do you always utilize the same material(s) as this year’s piece, and why is it your preferred medium?

Although I have designed pieces for steel fabrication, I like bronze sculpture for the unending three-dimensional possibilities, its permanence and the ability to use a large variety of patinas.

5. What is the importance of the arts in today’s society?

Feeding the soul is a far cry from feeding one’s family. On the other hand, sculptural installations, public murals and other forms of art can enrich people’s lives and give a heightened sense of community pride. Art can also become a tourist attraction and add a positive economic impact.

Other former Castlegar SculptureWalk sculptures brought to downtown Creston by the Creston Valley Public Arts Connection Society include 30 Birds (2) and Zodiac Totem.

—CRESTON VALLEY PUBLIC ARTS CONNECTION SOCIETY

Just Posted

Increases in taxes, utilities lead to higher rents, businessman tells Creston Town Council

Local businessman and landlord Keith Goforth accused the Town of being unsupportive of business development.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion

I do not appreciate having someone’s opinion shoved in my face.

Let there be peace

Let us show respect and love

Holiday season means more impaired drivers are on the road

It was another slow week for Creston RCMP members, who responded to… Continue reading

Committee for an Affordable Fire Hall ready to get to work

The public will be invited to submit their written ideas for “the top ten ways to get an affordable fire hall.”

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

Most Read