Age 17

Here, we were putting the 6 major parts together for the first time with a boom truck.

MAY 2015: Pterodactyl

For the past few months, I’ve been working on my largest sculpture yet. It started with large, perfectly bent I-beam that had been my workshop yard for about five years. The bend in the beam struck me as the perfect curve for the spine of some massive animal. Following this train of thought, I welded immense augers to it as legs, initially intending it to become a life sized dragon, or perhaps a monstrous pouncing lion. However, after letting it sit for a while, I got a new inspiration. After watching a nature program about pterosaurs, and writing an extensive blog post about them, I decided the beast had to be a pterosaur. The species I chose, and the only one that was to scale with the seven foot long I beam was the ancient flying creature Quetzalcoatlus.

This creature was 18 feet tall with a 35 foot wingspan, the largest flying creature to ever exist on earth. While it looks beyond imagination, the scale I’m recreating actually comes from the fossil record, body part by body part, and the sculpture will be anatomically correct. I took artistic license only with the “soft parts” of the creature, which did not survive fossilization.

Thus far I've only completed about half of the body and wings and have nearly finished the head. The wings and webbing will be sheet steel when the sculpture is finished and look more like the interpretations above. The head, neck, and body will be true “art”.

While researching these fascinating creatures, I came upon some variations of the types of head crests from the fossil record. I also looked extensively at images of bone structure and the fossil record to ensure that the skeleton of my sculpture was anatomically accurate. The sculpture will be made in 6 separate pieces so it can easily be assembled and disassembled. We will be using our boom truck to do this. Here is the head side by side with the beginning of the body:

You may be asking yourself what I'm going to end up doing with this massive sculpture. Well, to be honest I don't currently know. There are a few places in town that may accept the piece, but ideally I hope a museum will pick it up. However, if I can't find a home for it elsewhere it will take up residence in our already sculpture strewn yard. I hope this was interesting! As the piece progresses I'll be back with more updates.