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Artist Paul Tornow completes KRC moose sculptures

By: KPC

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KPC’s Kenai River Campus now has two larger than life bull moose standing in their front yard squaring off to do battle. 

These moose are about 16 feet high and more than 20 feet long and made of iron and sheet metal. While large adult male moose can weigh up to 1,500 pounds, these weigh many tons each. 

Paul Tornow, the artist who created this imposing sculpture started the project while he was a KPC art student who graduated with a UAA/KPC Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2009. In 2006 he approached KPC director Gary J. Turner and told him of his idea to weld and sculpt two large bull moose. Turner told him he’d consider it, but he’d need a well-written proposal and letters of reference from people vouching he had the skills and determination to follow-through. Tornow turned these materials in days later.

Turner presented the idea to the KPC Leadership Team and the KPC Council and both groups unanimously endorsed it. Tornow started the work almost immediately and out of the grass rose up the first of the two moose. But after a few years only one moose was created.

“I’ve had other students come to me with big ideas and they haven’t come to fruition,” said Turner. “I was hesitant with this one, but Paul’s reputation as an outstanding student with a very strong work ethic [he frequently took 20-21 credits in a semester] gave me reason to believe in him.” 

After 11 years, Tornow finished up the second moose on April 14, and he has named the work of art, “Strength in the Face of Adversity.”

“It's crazy to think I was only 22 years old when I took this project on. I'll humbly admit that I had no idea as to what the scope a project of this size and scale would take to complete. I do know this though, I would sincerely like to thank everyone who helped make these sculptures possible.”

Tornow will be leaving Alaska in June to be closer to family. While he may be gone, he has left a legacy that should last forever.