Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog

Accentuating Tlingit Traditions

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Whale of a Tale

June 26th, 2012 by Clarissa

While her son Louis is on her back, Lily Hope washes down the whale's tail in the parking lot of the Juneau Arts and Culture Center - Juneau, Alaska

The Juneau Arts and Humanities is sponsoring a project to help bring awareness to the support of a large bronze whale’s tail to be created by local artist Skip Wallen.  10 polyuerothane foam resin whale tails are being embellished by 10 selected local artists.  Lily Hope submitted a proposal; we were selected as one of the 10.  We were going to create a modern Tlingit-influenced stylized form line design painting, however, that would require at least three days of sunshine, and by this Summer’s lousy weather pattern we’ve been experiencing in Juneau, we decided to create something a bit simpler yet elegant.

Lily begins spraying the toxic, smelly black spray paint

Each whale tail is being sponsored by a local business – Thank you to Huna Totem Corporation for sponsoring ours!

Lily completes the black; Clarissa begins to spray touches of red

All 10 whale tails must be completed by July 1st; 3 will be in Juneau’s Fourth of July parade.  In September, the whale tails will be auctioned.

Modeling for a pretend magazine article - haha!

We had to wait for a couple of hours for the paint to be completely dry before attempting to move it and begin gluing buttons.

Lily begins gluing smokey-gray mother-of-pearl buttons

Lily finishes gluing the buttons, then each is nailed down to survive any weather

Louis helps nail down the buttons too!

Please tell your friends, neighbors and co-workers about the big auction on Saturday, September 15th at the JACC (Juneau Arts & Culture Center, i.e. the Old Armory), where all the wonderful creations will be auctioned off to the highest bidder!

Do we look proud of ourselves or what?

Thanks to all who are volunteering and participating in the Animal Parade and supporting this Whale Project, which will place a spectacular life-scale bronze humpback whale and fountain on Juneau’s waterfront, in recognition of Alaska’s 50th anniversary of  Statehood.  This will be an icon for Juneau, and the third sculpture of Skip Wallen in Juneau.

Many thanks to Kathy Ruddy for coordinating this event;  thanks again to Huna Totem Corporation for sponsoring our particular whale tail!

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