By Allie Layos ’09
A stunning 8-foot-tall riveted sheet metal sculpture of a rearing horse is on display at William Woods University. Although it looks professional, the piece was produced last semester by students Scott Kronk, a sophomore studio art major from Fulton, and Kate Hanes, a sophomore business major from Oostburg, Wis.
Both Kronk and Hanes entered into the world of sculpture-making when they enrolled in Sculpture 1: Sculpting the Horse, a course taught last fall by Paul Clervi, professor of art.
“We have a number of equestrian studies students who also have an interest in the fine arts,” said Clervi. “From time to time, we like to offer courses that are unique and complement the relationship between these two interests.”
With a minor in equestrian administration, Hanes is a perfect example.
“I thought it would be a fun art elective to complete my common studies requirements. It combined horses and art,” said Hanes.
While Kronk is not pursuing a degree in the equestrian field, he works full time as a stable hand at WWU, in addition to going to school.
“I enjoy the horses. I admit I’ve never been as fond of them as many of the equestrian science students are, but while working sculpture with horses as the subject matter, I grew a greater appreciation for the form of the horse,” he said.
Kronk and Hanes were friends before the class began, so they decided to team up on the sculpture project. Kronk provided his innovation and some metal-working experience, while Hanes provided her knowledge of horse anatomy.
While several exemplary pieces were chosen for display at the completion of the project, their sheet metal horse was the largest. The piece is 8 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and measures 6 feet long from front legs to tail.
“I spent about 80 hours on it, which is actually fairly common with me doing an art project,” said Kronk. “It was not a semester-long project; we had about two and a half weeks to do it. I spent most of Thanksgiving break working on it.”
Hanes agreed that the project was very time consuming. However, she enjoyed all the time they spent planning and designing.
“The most fun part was brainstorming and thinking of different ways to put the rearing front legs together and what the head would look like,” said Hanes.
Kronk found the overall design to be the most challenging aspect of the project—and the most fun.
“Every part of this build was new, every design, every attempt to solve each problem that arose was an amazing experience,” said Kronk. “Once I decided the way I wanted the form to be presented and the materials I was going to use, I had the problem of how to build a horse standing on two legs—out of sheet metal—in less than three weeks.”
Both students began this project without much prior experience.
While Kronk had taken a few art classes in high school, he didn’t do much else with his abilities until becoming interested in an art degree.
“This was my first sculpture class and only the third object I had ever done in 3d form. The first was in Ceramics 1 with a 16-inch dragon’s head. Then in sculpture class we did a 6-inch bronze casting. So this was my first real attempt at what I would consider as true sculpture,” said Kronk.
“I have a lot of horse drawing and painting experience, but I had only done a little bit of ceramics and had never worked with metal before,” said Hanes.
Kronk said that this made every step “a problem-solving experience,” but according to Clervi, the pair tackled the problems well.
“I always like to see students who are ambitious and develop a piece at a level of excellence. The piece was exemplary of the project in concept, design and completion,” he said.
The horse is on display in the Gladys Woods Kemper Center for the Arts, for two reasons: as an example of exemplary art and, according to Kronk, “because we really had no place else to stick it.”
He added, “It doesn’t exactly fit in my living room. I’m not sure how long it will stay in its current place. We’ve been talking about putting it outside somewhere on campus if we get a stable base put on. I’m kind of excited about that. What I would really like to do is sell it to get back the money that I put into it. That’s every artist’s dream.”
Both Kronk and Hanes say they learned a lot from creating this colossal piece of art.