I have called these big boys ‘Clash of the Titans’ and they have recently taken up residence in their new home on the Lafayette River in Virginia – on a bar counter being built specially for them I might add. This was such a great commission to work on simply because it was one surprise after the other.
Richard and Audra have collected an interesting ensemble of my work and last year felt ready to commission another piece and when I asked them in return what interested them, Hippo they said! What?… That was a surprise. Okay. Hippo are not nice people you know. They are always angry, they turn boats over, they attack without any provocation and in fact they are very dangerous. And they fight. No animal in Africa fights like a couple of hippo bulls – often to the death. Every other tooth, tusk and protrusion in the mouth of a Hippo is for the express purpose of fighting, biting and for being generally nasty.
So back I got to Richard and Audra and I was sure that I was going to sculpt a couple of Hippo basking in the sun. No! Fighting… What? Okay, fighting and so I envisaged a coffee table with two hippos fighting as a centre-piece. How big? Maybe twelve inches high and say sixteen inches in circumference. No! Five foot long four foot wide. What?… Okay life-size. The model I made for Richard and Audra was sent to various Foundries to get a price and unfortunately the price far outstripped the budget so we had to settle for half life size.
After a long COVID-related wait I finally made the trip to deliver them. So before I open the truck, a discussion is held as to where the Hippo are going to be situated in the garden. A decision is taken and I back the truck up to the garage to unload the sculptures and when the back is opened they take one look and they say “no way they are going outside!” Inside! What?… Okay inside, but where? On the Bar! What?…
Okay so to cap this story off Richard and Audra will have a bar custom-built with the two half life-size fighting Hippo on it. Beat that if you can!