Gib Singleton Giraffe
Although Salvador Perez
Park on St. Francis Drive does not support the vegetation favored
by animals of the African savannah, a giraffe is there to nibble
the resident trees. Citizens need not fear for the animal's health,
however, because the giraffe is a 15-foot-high painted metal sculpture,
designed for the delight of children and passers-by.
From the front, the welded-steel giraffe
seems to be coming to an abrupt halt, with one foot out to brace
itself. From the side, the long-necked creature prances or struts-or
perhaps paws the ground. And up there on top, its placid head
and expressionless face suggest a reassuring steadiness.
The metal giraffe is the design of
Santa Fe sculptor and SFAOL.com artist Gib Singleton,
and the placement in the park was the project of SFAOL.com
president Stan Evans. But the inspiration for the
piece was Singleton's 7-year-old daughter Alexis.
Singleton remembers that he had just
made a small, coat-hanger model of a stylized giraffe when his
daughter asked him to make it life-size and sturdy. "Then we could
play on it," she said. So Singleton made a 12-inch-high version,
but did not know how to proceed with a larger one, because life-size
giraffes cost a great deal, in materials alone.
Singleton asked his friend Stan Evans,
a longtime Santa Fe Realtor, to give an opinion. Evans brought
his6-year-old daughter Kylene along. She was immediately entranced.
"She had a fit over it," Singleton recalled. It was the delight
of the two daughters that convinced Singelton and Evans that the
giraffe should be in a park, for children to enjoy.
Evans then went to Sylvia and Dale
Ball, owners of the Bank of Santa Fe, who provided about $4,000
for materials, installation and transportation. He next got the
approval of the city Arts Board, with the support of gallery owner
Forrest Fenn. "Sculpture in the parks is the kind of thing we
need to have more of," Fenn said.
Evans then sought someone who could
transform the design into a life-size version. A friend, Curtiss
Beevers, had the know-how, but Evans was embarrassed to bring
this snall project to someone who made his living erecting frameworks
for large buildings. "I went to him hat in hand," Evans recalled,
"but his response came in half a minute."
"I kind of like to do these things
from time to time," Beevers said. "It's a challenge, and that's
what you need these days." He then logged about 100 hours on the
Using a hydraulic machine, Beevers
bent 2½-inch steel pipe to make the curves of the giraffe. "I'd
do something," he said, "and if I didn't like it I'd straighten
it out and do it over. All I had to go by was my eye and the model.
This work takes years of experience."
The completed 400-pound giraffe, painted
white with large brown spots, was first erected in Evans' back
yard. "As soon as it was up," said Singleton, "the kids jumped
on it like bees on honey. It wasn't even anchored. We had to hold
it down while they climbed it."
In Salvador Perez Park, however, the
giraffe is anchored in concrete and is not used as a "Jungle Jym,"
for insurance reasons. It has a fence around it, and is strictly
But whether for playing on or viewing,
the sculpture has delighted many people, including its creator.
"I've never really done art for children," Singleton said, "and
I'm getting the biggest bang out of it."
Check out Gib
in the SFAOL.com Store,
and get SFAOL.com President Stan
on the Home Page.
To order writer Susan Basquin's
new book "Goat Song," visit Amazon.com.