OHS Students Learn About And Talk With Statuary Hall Artist

OHS art teacher and sculptor Matt Kargol (left) and Statuary Hall artist Benjamin Victor (right) pose in from the Norman Borlaug miniature.

OHS art teacher and sculptor Matt Kargol (left) and Statuary Hall artist Benjamin Victor (right) pose behind the Norman Borlaug miniature.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – OHS students were able to ask questions of the sculptor responsible for making a statue of Norman Borlaug that will stand in the National Statuary Hall in Washington D.C.

Benjamin Victor spent the day, first by participating with the students in the class room, and then later in George Daily Auditorium where he held a question and answer session with each afternoon class.

The state of Borlaug will soon replace the statue of former senator James Harlan. Harlan was also the Interior Department secretary. His statue will return to Mt. Pleasant Iowa.

Borlaug, a Cresco native, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his role in combating world hunger. He died in 2009 at age 95.

Victor said that his interest in sculpture started while he was in college at Northern State University. “I just steadily became more and more interested over the years.”

Victor says that his path to being a commissioned artist was unique. “My sophomore year in college, I did a full size sculpture for one of my classes and then it was seen locally and I started getting commissions and it kind of spawned out from there.” He now has over 50 sculptures around the country.

Sculptures can take a varying amount of time to create. Smaller size pieces can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 5 months to create, while larger pieces can take over a year. “It just depends upon how intricate and how large,” Victor explained.

The story of how Victor ended up in Oskaloosa is a bit surprising. “Well you guys may not know it, but you have a world class sculptor here that’s your high school art teacher [in] Matt Kargol. I worked with him, and he’s done a number of national full size abstract projects. I do more realism and figurative, but he’s really an excellent abstract designer. He does these large scale steel and welded steel structures and sculptures.”

The two met in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and their friendship has continued. Kargol is the one that informed Victor about the commission for the Borlaug statue. “long story short is – I ended up getting the commission even though it was an international deal, I’m pretty lucky to get it.”

Kargol then took the opportunity to invite his friend to Oskaloosa so he could share with the students the experience of making this statue.

Victor was excited to talk about the works his friend and Oskaloosa High School art teacher Matt Kargol has done for corporations around the country. “And he’s right here, the high school art teacher.”

“We’re getting some new curriculum next year and I’m hoping to get the kids making some big stuff like that too,” Kargol responded.

Kargol works in metal fabrication, “there’s a lot of cutting and welding, and there’s math involved. You’ve got to figure out geometry.”

If you would like to visit Kargol’s website to see more of his work, or just to learn more, visit www.321blastart.com.

You can also learn more about Benjamin Victor at his website www.benvictor.com.


Posted by on Mar 28 2013. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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