Nestled among trees on the corner of 45th Avenue and 55th Street in Wetaskiwin is an elephant. A hostile looking grey elephant with tusks aggressively pointed towards the street, the back legs in a charging stance, the tail curled around its flanks and ready for battle.
Looks wild and natural but is actually a concrete sculpture created by local artist Edward Kitt. “Yes, I have seen many sculptures of elephants”, stated Kitt as he kept adding cement paste to his newest work-of-art, “but many of them do not have the correct features and characteristics of live elephants. This one (the large outdoor sculpture) is designed and built using one of my series of 12 elephants as my model. In fact if you look at that one (on the bench) it is one of the twelve elephants I sculpted earlier and you will see I did a lot of research and then paid careful attention to details ensuring all the features were correct.”
The elephant has been a work-in-progress for a couple months. The desired shape and framework is built by welding a metal frame and covering it with galvanized wire mesh. The sculptor then covers the frame and creates detailed features by adding cement handful-by-handful. The cement is moistened with just the correct amount of water to ensure the finished product will cure to maximum strength. The drier the mix that will stay in place and stick to the frame, the stronger the final product. “When this cures it will be hard as a rock”, explained Kitt.
Kitt has been a sculptor since he was 17 years of age or for about 30 years. He works with basswood, bronze and more recently cement. “I had hoped I could do what I love most (artistic sculpturing for a living) but realized I did not want to let the need to make commercial sales overrule my feelings about my artwork. I decided I am not doing this for the money but for my love of my artwork. So my wife, daughter and I have a family run commercial janitorial business that enables me to work on my projects about two to three hours a day. This one will take two to three months to complete. “
The piece of artwork is a permanent fixture in the Kitt’s yard. “If I were to do a similar piece on consignment, it would have to be on site as it is just too difficult to move.” Kitt sells his work and takes consignments but, “I just don’t do any consignment. Only sculptures of things I enjoy doing”.
Since moving to Wetaskiwin five years ago, the Kitt residence has evolved into an artist’s gallery with the garage becoming the workshop. Strolling through the house, a variety of beautiful pieces of artwork created with a variety of materials are on display; motorcycles and ladies to birds and animals and much more are proudly showcased throughout the rest of the residence. And now his hobby is moving into the yard with the elephant.