The Wary and the Fierce

“It’s fun to realize that all the connections I had to get this project done happened in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District or just outside of it. We are so lucky to live/work in such a great community that we can take advantage of these connections and work together,” said Kyle Fokken of his latest project. 

The Wary and the Fierce by Kyle Fokken

Permanently installed as a gateway outside the event center where the Mankato State University Mavericks hockey team plays, the heads of two bulls are called The Wary and the Fierce. Fokken said, “I see these bulls as siblings, or as two sides of the same [free, maverick] spirit – one that is cautious, measured and wary, and one that is energetic, raging and driven. Each side complements the other to accomplish great things.”

Bull being lowered

The donors who funded the project, Michelle and David Schoof, told the Mankato Free Press the two sculptures perfectly represent their passion for the arts and support for a Division I hockey team. “We really want to make this a place where we can grow the game of hockey,” Michelle said. “On game days, with the eyes lighting up in purple and the fog coming out of the snout — families can share that experience with their kids and make this arena a difficult place for competitors to come and play.”

Northeast area artists and vendors involved include artist Brian Hart (referred by sculptor Aaron Dysart) who took pictures of the models and rendered them into a digital 3D design. Ben Janssens at Solid Metal Arts had the enlarged pieces cut out in layers with his CNC plasma cutter. AZZ Galvanizing staff  did the galvanizing .

CNC layers of bull

Fokken welded the CNC-cut layers together with spacers to get the general shape, then covered them with a lighter weight steel to act as the skin of the form. The eyes, nostrils and mouth had to be tweaked. “I also had to make sure that there were plenty of channels for the hot zinc metal galvanizing to go through so that the form wouldn’t rupture. Finally, I had to work on a design that would be reasonably vandal proof but still allow Ben to add in the lighting system and channels for the fogger. It’s a more complicated build than a static form. I welcomed the challenge to expand my knowledge.”

The pieces will be dedicated May 5 at 5:30 p.m. 

Kyle Fokken Artist LLC is at in Casket Arts Studio #120 (east side of building next to parking lot on 17th and Madison), 681 17th Ave NE

Minneapolis, MN 55413.