Sunday, August 19 , 2018, 7:25 am | Fog/Mist 68º


Local Artist Putting His Finishing Touch on City Statue

After a year of chipping away at a 10,000-pound piece of limestone, Blake Rankin is nearly done with a 7-foot sculpture for the city of Brea

The first block of Helena Avenue, just up from the beach, is often referred to as the “funk zone.” It’s an eclectic combination of unusual stores and parking lot entrances: BlueLine Paddle Surf, Fishnet Retail Theatre + Gallery, Latitude Gallery, the Santa Barbara Surfing Museum, Mermaids Chest and Segway Tours. In the middle of the block, in what looks like it was once the yard of a small house, a sculptor carves on stone a few feet from the street.

For more than 25 years, that sculptor had been Donald Davis. But last year, Davis made the space available to Blake Rankin, who has a studio in Santa Barbara.

Rankin had received a commission from the city of Brea to sculpt a 7-foot-tall statue out of a 10,000-pound piece of limestone as part of its Art In Public Places program, and this yard was ideal for his work.

Rankin was well-suited for the task. A Santa Ynez High School graduate, he became interested in stone sculpture in 1999. He was mentored by the esteemed John Cody and continued his training by studying overseas in Queensland, Australia. He returned home to continue his art with the prestigious Cody Gallery in Los Olivos.

The Brea program features a wide range of mediums, styles and approaches by local, national and internationally renowned artists. Rankin’s work fits well into the program; his creations expose the beautiful relationships occurring in life and nature.

To get the commission, Rankin responded to a public call for artists by producing a marquette (miniature version) of his proposed stature. The proposal won approval by the homeowners association and the city of Brea.

To see the result, go by Helena Avenue in the next few weeks. If you miss it, see the installed statue in Brea at the corner of Birch and Poplar streets. Or, check out Rankin’s smaller works at the Imagine Winery tasting room in Santa Ynez and on Rankin’s Web site. Look for the announcement of his show later this year. 

Click here for more images by Bob Dickey of the sculpture process.

Noozhawk contributor Bob Dickey is a local photojournalist with Wine & Dine magazine. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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