Lee Gobble Commemorative

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Client: Fairfield Art Association

Location: Fairfield, IA, United States

Completion date: 2017

Artwork budget: $54,000

Project Team

Artist

Chris Bennett

Bennett Studio

Artist

Mark Shafer

Artist

Harri Aalto

Aalto Design

Artist

Werner Elmker

Elmker Photo Video Design

Overview

“Lee Gobble Commemorative”: Life-size, bronze image of Lee Gobble, “Mr. Fairfield”, standing with his hand up, presenting the refurbished courthouse clock tower steeple. Behind him, a colorful ceramic tile impression of his clothier tie collection, is spread out like a turkey tail feather display. Numerous details placed on the figure continue his story. He is set above a 58 inch diameter by 30 inch high colorful pedestal and future daffodil planter. Arts and Convention Center, Fairfield, IA, (2017).

Goals

Lee Gobble was supportive of all things having to do with Fairfield. Two of his interests were cultural and architectural. He helped to establish the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center, the building which is the backdrop for the commemorative. A major project to which he contributed, was the restoration of the steeple atop the courthouse clock tower. The courthouse is in front of and across the street from his gesturing hand. As well he was a proud veteran of World War two. A veterans memorial is located on the courthouse lawn in front of him. The design includes the built surroundings of the entire city block which are integral to portraying Lee Gobble’s commemorative story.

Process

There were five artists directly involved in the creation of the project. All five artists have Fairfield ties or roots.
I was the lead artist, and developed a detailed portrayal of Lee Gobble in co-ordination with the Fairfield Art Association committee. There were many stories, some a bit quirky, associated with Mr. Gobble. After the initial pose and attire was chosen, those tales were added as details.
I conducted the clay modeling portion of the project within the atrium of the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center
One artist, Ken Rowe was asked to contribute by completing the life-size portrait head and hands for the enlarged figure.
Another artist, Mark Shafer, drew sixteen colorful detailed drawings, relating to Mr. Gobble’s Fairfield interests. They were drawn and applied to the shape of neck ties.
A fourth artist, Harri Aalto, transformed the tie-shaped drawings into ceramic tiles, which were installed as a turkey tail, fanned out behind the image of Lee Gobble.
The fifth artist, Werner Elmker documented the entire project by photograph and video.

Additional Information

I am a story teller. This commemorative project became a colorful illustration of a colorful community personality. Lee Gobble was a third generation clothier, who lived to be 101 years old. Everyone in the Fairfield knew him and appreciate the detailed tribute made to him. People look forward to seeing this familiar story in bronze, as they do toward visiting with their good friend. It was a pleasure to collaborate on the project with four other associate artists. I enjoy producing detailed personalized memorials.