“Every artist aspires to have their work in the Louvre – and today I’ve arrived,” quipped local artist David Varnau (davidvarnau.com) who, Saturday morning, celebrated the placement of two of his bronze sculptures outside the French-inspired Café Louvre.
Café Louvre is a tenant of Greg Hoff owner of Windermere Edmonds and Windermere Real Estate Company who agreed to have Varnau’s sculptures permanently placed in the courtyard of the Windermere business complex at 210 5th Ave. S.
Varnau, who admits a certain fascination with people watching, pursued a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola University of Chicago. It was his post-baccalaureate training in the field of prosthetics at UCLA that provided him insights into human anatomy and movement. He began sculpting 20 years ago.
“I believe in the importance of art in public places. The preponderance of public art is one of things that make walking around European cities and towns so charming. Just being able to enjoy the surprise [of coming up an outside art installation] adds enrichment to one’s day. And years later, coming back and experiencing the same piece of art, and realizing how your experiences in the interim have subtly changed your outlook. [Public art] helps one get out of their immediate thoughts for a few minutes; lets one enjoy the visual. Then, you get on with your day.”
On hand for the unveiling of the bronze sculptures, titled “Apres Le Bain” was Denise Cole, owner of Cole Gallery https://colegallery.masterpiecesolutions.org
Before asking the mayor to add his comments to the occasion Cole observed, “Edmonds has the deserved reputation of being an arts town.” She told of the Varnau installation that is at the NW corner of 3rd Avenue South and Main Street and her hopes that other private property owners will follow Hoff’s example of facilitating installations of public art at their business locations.
Mayor Dave Earling added, “This is really an important step toward building our community’s reputation as an arts community. I want to thank David for his commitment to public art and to Frances Chapin, (Edmonds arts and culture manager) and Denise Cole for their hard work on this project.”
Asked for his reaction to the unveiling Varnau said to the gathering, “It means so much to me to have this art displayed outdoors rather than in a gallery or as part of a private collection. More people can enjoy and experience it, and it adds richness to our community.”
He went on to say, “Edmonds is a very special place. Art is becoming a larger part of our community every day. Just look at the number of people drawn here today by art!”
The two pieces took shape after 50 hours of sculpting with a live model. The next steps included, in part, foundry work and formation of a silicon mold which was poured over the form resulting in something of a “chocolate Easter bunny” says Varnau. Ultimately a slurry of molten bronze heated to 2000 degrees is used for casting.
To the question how much does each sculpture weigh, the scientific response came from Varnau’s brother in law, “it’s really really heavy!” In fact, it took four men working very hard to place each sculpture on its pedestal.
Varnau, who retains ownership of the two sculptures, reassured the crowd, “These sculptures will last for many generations.” Varnau is available for commissions for those art patrons who may want to purchase his work.
(Emily Hill and Larry Vogel contributed to this feature)