Elk NetworkArtist Uses Deere to Create Elk

General | October 31, 2017

What do you get when you have an old John Deere tractor, a couple of rifles, some used Honda motorcycle parts, a few axes and scores of hand tools? If you’re an artist with a creative flair, you apparently have all the makings for one of the largest and heaviest elk in the world.

Facebook follower Jason Spencer forwarded us this tale from the Pacific Northwest. It was his responsibility to load the approximately 6,800-pound beast onto his 14-foot trailer for a trip north from Hillsboro, Oregon, to the greater Seattle area. From there a 100-foot crane lifted and loaded it onto a barge in Kenmore for transportation.

The 20-mile water route began at the northern tip of Lake Washington, passed the University of Washington before continuing across Lake Union, floated through the Ballard Locks and into Shilshole Bay before heading south in the Puget Sound to its final destination at a waterfront home in Magnolia, the second largest neighborhood of Seattle.

Artist Travis Pond of Portland spent the last eight years working on it. His website, Steel Pond Studios, features a wide array of creative metal products including sculptures of birds, beasts and fish as well as garden work, chairs and tables, benches, railing and security, and other items.

Pond’s online biography provides personal insight into why and how he carries out the artistic work that he does.

“Half of what I do is collecting materials. I look for objects with significance and meaning, objects that have connections to us as individuals and as a whole. The scraps I use are a part of our human history.

“For me, the question is never where to start; it is always when to stop. It is a constant look beyond the object, beyond the form, to what is next. Each circumstance, or in this case, each piece, spontaneously connects to the next.

This seemingly random assortment of metal dictates its future in a very fast and spontaneous manner. Although I control the welds, the individual objects refuse to be forced into form. The sculpture decides for itself what it will look like and when it is complete.

In this case, that translates into a massive elk about 12 feet tall that gained a lot of attention as it turned heads and raised eyebrows during its migration to its new Washington home.

But that begs one obvious question: Why an elk?

“(Travis) is a hunter too. As a hunter, he has that respect for the animal. What he likes about the elk is what it represents,” said Bryan Ohno, Pond’s business partner and owner of Bryan Ohno Gallery.

“I thought it was really cool and right down RMEF’s alley,” wrote Spencer. “I have been a huge fan since I was a youngster and I’m proud to share this experience with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation family.”

Photos courtesy of Steel Pond Studios