blog by Jenie Yolland

Today I’ve chosen to share gifts and skills of the sculptor Zenos Frudakis.

Like millions of other people, I am very moved by his “Freedom Sculpture”.

“I wanted to create a sculpture almost anyone, regardless of their background, could look at and instantly recognize that it is about the idea of struggling to break free. This sculpture is about the struggle for achievement of freedom through the creative process.”
– Zenos Frudakis

Freedom Sculpture Specifications
Size: 20 feet long x 8 feet high
Weight: 7,000 pounds
Media: Bronze
Sculptor: Zenos Frudakis
Date of Dedication: June 18, 2001

Location: 16th and Vine Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – here it is.

There are a couple of YouTube interviews with him and you can delve deeply into his thought-provoking sculptures.  He talks about how he isn’t a wordsmith so he prefers to express himself in sculpture.  He wanted to maintain the texture in this piece; he didn’t want it to be polished and “finished” because he wanted everyone to be able to identify with it.  I love to see the making of a work of art like this.

 

the work of Zenos Frudakis

 

He says that he likes to listen to audible books while he works.  If he’s doing a sculpture of, for example, Mark Twain, then he’ll be listening to books or lectures on or about Mark Twain.   He likes his works to be 4 dimensional, he says, and inside the 4th space in the sculpture is a sign that says “stand here” so that people can become a part of the piece themselves.

You can see here the artist, Zenos Frudakis standing in the 4th dimension of his sculpture.  Capturing  moment in time, as we are all constantly changing and moving.

 

Freedom Zenos in the sculpture

 

He has included all manner of items, people, family even his pets into this sculpture in order that all who view it feel as though we can identify with the form that is breaking free.   In order to make this even more interactive, he has included a sculpture of his cat (he had for 20 years) and he placed it only 2 foot off the ground so that kids can pat it and identify with the work.

 

 

We can all become that person who is breaking free.

Zeros says “what goes into your head comes out of your fingertips!”. On his Freedom sculputure he explains  “I wanted to create the idea of struggling to break free”, he continues “and breaking free and being elated that you are free.”

 

Sculpture by Zenos Frudakis

This is a full length interview and Zenos lifts up the laptop and shows us around his studio and explains his motivation behind the process of creating his pieces.

He began his love of sculpting when playing under the kitchen table with some dough given to him by his mother.  As we say about life “you never know where the ripples end”.  Meaning you can give a child some dough and end up with an artist who creates masterpieces like this in bronze that will last forever.

 

 

Zenos’ father, born in Greece, came to the U.S. as a boy. The oldest of five children growing up in Greek culture, Zenos admired, respected, and was drawn to Greek sculpture. Greek art influenced his aesthetic vision; additional inspiration came from sculptors Michaelangelo, Bernini, Carpeaux and Rodin. The poetry of Eliot, Frost, Roethke and Graves is important to Zenos, as is post-modern, deconstructionist philosophy.  He often quotes T.S. Eliot in his chats on YouTube.

 

 

Zenos talks a lot about our mortality and the value of sculptures in his interviews.

This is a speech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KUOFMiPKqs he made at the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s 40th Annual National Convention.

Zenos is lecturing about the sculpture he created with them for Lawyer Clarence Darrow who famously defended John T. Scopes.  If you haven’t heard about the Scopes ( The Monkey Trial) trial – here’s a quick quick summary.  “In 1925, John Scopes was convicted and fined $100 for teaching evolution in his Dayton, Tenn., classroom. The first highly publicized trial concerning the teaching of evolution, the Scopes trial also represents a dramatic clash between traditional and modern values in America of the 1920s.”.  How relevant is that still in 2018?   Frightening really!  

The challenges Zenos had faced when putting up the statue of Darrow were immence!  You can read the staggering account of it here.  One of the local preachers openly threatened him.http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/06/23/i-spoke-with-a-christian-terrorist-threatening-atheists-in-tennessee/

The majority of the work that I can see from my research that Zenos has created speaks directly to the idea of education, knowledge and freedom need to be foremost in our worlds.  You should see the book he is creating that’s about 9 foot tall and has quotes and images from dozens of great thinkers, writers, politicians, poets, activators, from all ages.  The book is going into a high school.  How motivational will that be for the students!  Amazing!  I’ll try and find an image to show you.  (For more detailed images of this sculpture go to : Knowledge is Power Book

 

Knowledge is power by Zenos Frudakis

Using Francis Bacon’s quote, “Knowledge is Power,” as the central theme, Zenos Frudakis sculpted a monument to inspire the process and pleasure of learning. The sculpted large open book features Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein emerging from the pages. These influential figures represent key shifts in the understanding of the world and its sciences. Relief faces and quotes of 31 icons of science, history, mathematics and the arts portray contrasting theories, philosophies and politics, as well as struggles shared across generations. The viewer is led through a process of exploration and is left to weigh countering viewpoints to discover their personal resonance.

Size: Over-life size
Dimensions: 8-feet high, 12-feet long
Weight: Over 1,500 pounds
Media: Bronze
Location: Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey

to see Knowledge is Power being finished in the foundry go to http://www.zenosfrudakis.com/sculpture/knowledge-is-power/  

From dough under the kitchen table to works like this, I’d like to thank you Zenos Frudakis for sharing your skills and knowledge with us so we can be inspired to move forward in whatever way is relevant to us.

Images are from his website:

http://www.zenosfrudakis.com/sculpture

Copyright © 2015. FRUDAKIS STUDIO, INC. All Rights Reserved.
Website by Cher Skoubo, Skoubo Graphics
Public Monuments, Portrait Sculpture, Corporate Art, Sculpture Collections.

Hope you enjoyed learning about this amazing person and artist!  I do love sharing the gifts and skills of the sculptor others, this time Zenos Frudakis.

 

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