Beatlebrox art displayed in Salt Lake City ‘With Style’
Steel work part of permanent exhibit
Last Saturday, Summit County artist Zafod Beatlebrox watched carefully as crews from Park City’s Kukal Cranes installed one of his artworks in downtown Salt Lake City.
The work, a steel sculpture titled “Dare to Swim Upstream with Style,” was erected at 150 E. Broadway (300 South), right in front of the Broadway Theatres.
The sculpture depicts a flying fish wearing a tuxedo and holding a top hat and cane.
“It’s meant to be a theater-related piece, because this is the theater district in Salt Lake
City,” Beatlebrox told The Park Record. “They wanted a theater-themed piece.”
The work is part of Salt Lake City’s permanent public art program, said Dana Hernandez, Salt Lake City public art program manager.
“The Flying Object series, the series before this one, was a temporary series that featured all local artists and was a partnership between the Salt Lake City Arts Council and the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency that was up for two-and-a-half to three years,” Hernandez said. “This series is a permanent series, meaning the works won’t ever come down, unlike the previous works that are now on sale through the artists. These [new works] have been purchased by Salt Lake City to enliven the street for years to come.”
Beatlebrox said he’s been working on the piece for nearly three years.
“I feel like I’ve been working on this forever,” Beatlebrox said with a laugh.
Beatlebrox started on it two-and-a-half years ago, but the project was put on hold for seven months after the election of Mayor Jackie Biskupski in 2016.
“When she took office, she wanted to reevaluate different programs and put everything on hold to do that,” Beatlebrox said.
Then Beatlebrox got sick in November, and lost more time.
“So, I really started working hard on this in January,” he said.
“Dare to Swim Upstream with Style” is made of “a whole lot of steel,” Beatlebrox said.
“It’s created to survive 115 mile-per-hour winds,” he said. “It’s supposed to conform to that requirement because of the tornado we had in 1999.”
The sculpture is comprised of “dozens of pieces.”
“There is a skeleton up the middle that connects with a vertical six-inch pipe and another pipe running horizontally,” Beatlebrox said. “There is a whole bunch of ribs going sideways and up and down, and there is a finer skeleton that I put on top of that.”
Beatlebrox wrapped the individual parts with sheet metal and then sandblasted each piece before applying airplane paint.
The sandblasting took a bulk of the labor.
“He took a week to sandblast each piece and grind them down so they would be smooth,” said Beatlebrox’s wife, Lola. “The outside looked like a torpedo, but then it just blossomed when he began applying the paint.
Beatlebrox painted both the outside and inside of the sculpture.
“I painted the inside to stop internal rust,” he said.
“Dare to Swim Upstream with Style” measures 9 feet and 6 inches from the bottom of the tail to the top of the cane. The width measures about 12 feet.
“This is the first work I’ve had to display downtown,” Beatlebrox said. “It’s good to be on Broadway.”
For information about Zafod Beatlebrox, visit http://www.amazingfunctionalart.com.
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