Controversial wood sculpture destroyed in car crash
A motor vehicle incident involving a van and a car, resulted in the destruction of a hand carved piece of public art at the corner of 44th SW and SW Brandon on Wednesday morning.
No person was hurt in the incident that involved a van and a car. The van was eastbound on Brandon street SW that hit the car that was northbound, sending it into the sculpture.
The sculptures now around ten years old have drawn both attention and controversy from passersby and neighbors. They were created from elm trees that were invaded by Dutch Elm Beetles. The city demanded he take them down. But the owner John Schlick knew that the beetles live in the bark of the tree so, he cut the tops off and took off the bark, leaving bare but still tall stumps.
Schlick chose to have them carved into what the city has determined is public art.
They are controversial with some, especially a few of his neighbors, most likely because one of the figures is a naked female form albeit with six breasts.
"I felt that mythological/fantasy beings were a good match for the spirit of the trees that were being used. I wanted an edge of eroticism to them to foster conversation since we live in a very very very sex negative society."
That led to some unhappiness Schlick said, "I have one neighbor that calls the city to complain about me about once every two weeks."
Nonetheless, "In general, I think the response is %90 that people love it, and %10 hate it (due to the erotic subtext of it)."
Schlick said, "it might be able to be replaced for as little as $20,000" but suspects the actual cost would be far higher.
Schlick is no stranger to controversy of course since his home and yard have drawn attention for years. He has a sculpture atop his chimney and some unusual brickwork in it. He has slowly been making changes to the property over time. But some neighbors have made it clear they do not approve. He is not bothered by it at all and considers what he has done to be both interesting and compelling. "here is the thing I always wanted people to take away from the work I'm doing on the house...I want for people to say: Oh, progress has been made. And it's cooler now. Maybe I could do something to my own house. I want people to be inspired to do their OWN art. And sadly very few people take that message away from seeing it. It's also kind of a take on personal responsibility."
But beyond the car crash, according to Community naturalist and conservation specialist Kersti Elisabeth Muul, all the stumps are rotted including the one that fell. Muul has no problem with the art but recommends they all be cut down and displayed as sculptures in the yard. She said, if that "stump wasn't rotten it would have not fallen in the manner that it did."
Hopefully he can rebuild the dragon sculpture. It would be a shame if he couldn't
I applaud the work of this man, especially the fey on the chimney. Yes, remove the statues from the stumps to preserve them and show them in the yard.
The owner of this house John, has absolutely zero respect for the surrounding neighborhood.
I feel sorry for the people that were in the accident I just know you did a great thing for our neighborhood today.
Good riddance! That was an eyesore that we are very happy to have finally removed. Put all the art you want ON your own property and the whole neighbourhood will be better for it. These were WAY too close to the street form the start and should have been removed years ago.
Shame they only knocked one down! It's amazing how one guy can ruin a neighborhood. Most of the neighbors would agree with me. Totally inappropriate for a family neighborhood. Also distracts drivers, hence the crash!
Oh No! I loved that sculpture. It's amazing no one was hurt given where the car ended up and the amount of damage.
Seems like this might be my last opportunity to ask: why was the dragon circumcised? Who would dare circumcise a dragon?
I have admired and appreciated those sculptures for many years. When I’m in the neighborhood and stop to look for any period of time passerby’s ask lots of questions, especially in the summer when people are out or visiting the lawn and garden center behind the property. They create curiosity and wonder for people, even the ones they provoke negatively often say the sculptures are very very interesting, but they wish they weren’t so public. I’ve never personally considered them sexual, yet understand how others project that onto them. I’m very sad at the loss of this dragon. While there was some rot going on in the base, it was in not danger of falling and there are many ways to remedy such a sculpture to protect it for posterity. I sincerely hope they can be replaced or restored. I love taking friends by to see these fascinating creations.
This house is a dump and the owner knows it and does nothing. Not one person on that block is sad.
It would be a lot easier to consider these sculptures "art", if the residence itself didn't look like a murder house and/or drug den. Whenever I'd walk by, I'd always search the windows for someone holding up a "help me!" sign.
If the owner is actually fortunate enough to fleece the drivers' insurance for $20k (or "far higher"), I hope the money goes into cleaning up the property and improving the house itself. That scaffolding has been up for over a decade... how does the city even allow that??
We have always enjoyed the Dragon House! ART/YES
Noooo!! They slayed the Dragon!!! I lived at this house for 2 years and the statues were always a conversation starter. Most people loved them and I couldn't even be out in the yard without 20 passersby taking photos and asking about them. John is an eccentric genius and even though some of the body parts may have made some people uncomfortable, the mythical creatures are much more interesting than your average bear or salmon carving typical of the PNW. Most public art is so "safe" that you're like, "Wow, a warped metal circle... but what does it all mean!?" Lol... John took the tragedy of losing the elm trees and turned it into something unique. Keep it up John!!! Miss you guys!!!
the house was once located on California Ave and was home to our family from 1962 until 1975. It was a wonderful big house with 2 large holly trees in the front yard on busy California street.
We sold the house and eventually it was moved to it's present location. It has been remodeled and it's appearance has changed since 1975. Our home housed a family of creative and inspired artistic people. The house welcomed us so many years ago. I'm sure it is happy with it's present owner
Jeff Hengst's wooden masterpieces should be viewed and thought about by as many people as possible! Start the conversation?
Haters should go home and masturbate or something; it'll do you good. I think the sculptures are amazing! Oh no! Six titties on display in a family neighborhood!
Get over yourselves.