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Penticton  

Artist working on giant chrome metal T-Rex for Penticton property

Giant T-Rex art arriving

"Okanagan Inspired" is a weekly series of articles offering a peek into the stories and inspirations of Pentictonites who hold creative roles in the community.

Imagine it; the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the lake is calm, and in the distance, a 50 foot long, 35 foot tall and 10,000 pound Tyrannosaurus Rex. Another perfect Penticton day.

Growing up on Vancouver Island, Kevin Stone started in metal trades when he was young, taking welding and fabrication classes in college.

Stone moved to Vancouver in the mid-90s and worked for shipyards and did iron work for BC Ferries.

“When I had my boys, I took a less dangerous job that was closer to home,” says Stone. “I began manufacturing brewing equipment which led to me being asked to design and create a gargoyle for a company in Abbotsford. People liked it, and I got investors to begin creating other projects. This led me to leave working a traditional job and to become a full time artist around 2002 or 2003.”

He has since moved to Chilliwack where he creates his masterpieces, but he still has deep ties to the Okanagan.

“One of my first projects was a Chinese Imperial Water Dragon which was displayed at the PNE and then was showcased at the River Rock Casino in Richmond for Chinese New Year,” says Stone. “Then I made a 56 foot wing-spanned Eagle which was contracted by Dolly Parton's Dollywood Theme Park."

Sculpture work then slowed down a bit for Stone so he opened his own hot rod shop in Chilliwack for 10 years, still doing art work when he could, including smaller projects for businesses in Calgary and Ontario.

“I got invited to Big Boys Toys in Vegas. It is a luxury show in Las Vegas, which showcases basically anything expensive, modern or the newest technology,” says Stone.

“I began creating a 30-foot mirror polish stainless steel falcon, but then Covid hit and the show was cancelled. I was already deep into the falcon and was stuck with it. It was meant to sell in Vegas. I kept working on it and finished in September, and in October I got a call from a man in California who visited Dollywood and wanted a sculpture for himself. He thought about buying the falcon but we discussed options and finally decided on a 60 foot long Game of Thrones Dragon."

The Dragon is Stone’s latest project that he has almost completed.

A customer in Miami who owns ‘Ikonick: The Collection,’ - the world’s largest collection and display of supercars, saw Stone’s Dragon project on social media and thought Stone’s artwork would pair well with his car collection and purchased Stone’s falcon. Then, serendipitously, a mystery man saw the falcon in Miami, and decided to reach out to Stone for his very own creation. A T-Rex, in Penticton.

Stone has his own connections to Penticton. His parents first lived here in the 50s when they moved from Alberta to BC before settling down on Vancouver Island, however Stone lived in Kelowna and spent many a night partying in Penticton in his younger days.

“I still ride my Harley to Penticton almost every year," says Stone. “Penticton is great, the summers and the beaches are just awesome."

The T-Rex project, which will take around 20 months to complete, is an exciting new challenge for Stone.

“A lot about this is exciting for me. Firstly, the fact I get to do a giant chrome T-Rex is pretty cool,” he says laughing. “I love doing giant projects.”

The T-Rex will live at a private residence to begin with, visible from all of downtown Penticton, and the owner is considering purchasing a park and donating it to the City of Penticton. There are also talks about a Stegosaurus potentially joining his T-Rex friend. The mystery owner has explained this is a 20-year, lifelong dream that he has been fortunate enough with business and money to finally pursue.

“Metal sculpting is really two mediums coming together. You need to be a good welder and a good artist. But if you have a passion for something, pursue it. Always try and never quit. If it doesn't work today, try tomorrow. Eventually you'll be successful at anything you do,” Stone advises.

Sourcing material for the T-Rex is becoming more and more difficult. Covid shut down manufacturing temporarily causing supply and demand and shipping shortages. Stone has been trying to buy as much as he can for the stainless steel dino. Stone notes the reflection of the chrome dino will be safe and not spark any fires. He plans to begin creating the T-Rex’s head shortly.

Being a huge hot rod lover and owner of a 1954 Hot Rod Buick and a Road Glide Harley Davidson, Stone says his favourite song to create to is Hot Rod Heart by John Fogerty. “It mentions both of those in the song so it's perfect for me,” he explains.

Stone looks forward to spending more time in Penticton throughout the next 20 months as this amazing T-Rex becomes a reality. Follow his progress at @metal_sculptor_kevin_stone on Instagram and check out past projects at www.kevinstone.ca.



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