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Works of whimsy

A hunter and his dog, two men building in the arms of a tree and a guitarist in the midst of a riff form the 2008 collection of Nevada County sculptor Jeff Tritel, who unveiled his new works in cast bronze at his Lime Kiln Road-area studio over the weekend.

The hunter and dog, both straining to locate the duck in the midst of a cattail marsh, don’t see the bird perched atop the hunter’s hat. That suggestion of a need for a new perspective offers a common thread to Tritel’s additional announcement of designs for four enormous sculptures commissioned for a “multi-million dollar” figure by an international organization, Tritel and his associates said Saturday.

Tritel and his backers hope his four sculptures, which he describes as “monuments,” would help people think about the world and its troubles in new ways, using symbolism, whimsy, illusion, and the experience of walking around and through them, they said.



“I’m trying to give people the opportunity to look at the world in different ways,” Tritel said.

The three smaller sculptures, available in limited series of different sizes, likewise encourage a deeper look at what seem like ordinary moments. In “Home Builders,” two workmen perch in an oak’s gnarled branches; their clean, straight 2-by-4s make for a startling contrast. Man’s best friend, a classic shepherd-Lab mix, waits patiently at the base of the trunk, his tongue hanging out. In “Rockin’ Out,” the neck of the guitarist’s instrument curls around like a ribbon; it seems to take on the flow of the music.




Nearly three dozen collectors viewed the latest models and scores of other pieces ranging from a few inches to about 20 feet tall. They peeked into Tritel’s adjacent warehouse-like studio and strolled outside into the garden, flowing with water and offering such creations as a cat playing hopscotch.

Big plans

Sales and marketing of the thousands of pieces in Tritel’s unsold body of work has been taken over by a new division of Blue Lotus International Inc., based in Reno and with offices in Las Vegas, the British-owned Caribbean island of Anguilla and the Persian Gulf business center of Dubai. Blue Lotus is “A consulting company for large-scale projects … bringing them from concept to launch,” Chief Executive officer Mari Tierney said.

Another division of Blue Lotus International, World Legacy Project, commissioned Tritel for the four monuments for what Tierney described as a “multi-million dollar” design fee. World Legacy Project is “a philanthropic organization promoting new ways of looking at global problems,” according to Tritel.

Tierney, who grew up in Nevada City, met Tritel about 12 years ago when she saw his wax model for what has become one of the four monuments, called “The Tritel Unicorn.”

“I begged him not to reveal it until we had a project of the scope of his genius,” Tierney said.

The four monuments symbolically cover four themes, Tritel said. “The Tritel Unicorn” expresses environmental healing and wholeness; “The Elements of Magic” explores themes of science, medicine and the way new discoveries topple earlier theories; “The Eye of the Creator” expresses the unity of humankind across races, generations and history; and “The Shining Spirit” suggests “the scope of human experience going from the everyday … through our heroes and mythic figures and larger aspirations,” Tritel said.

At least one foundry already has been contacted for the work, which also would require teams of engineers and two years each to complete, according to Tierney and marketing and sales division director Kerry Zoll. Tritel envisions the massive compositions to stand between 35 feet and 50 feet high, as long as 250 feet and be placed at four different locations around the world, Zoll and Tritel said.

The monuments would use water and gardens, employ visitor centers and offer walks through “canyonesque pillars” to “give visitors a whole new way of looking at sculpture,” according to a Blue Lotus statement.

Negotiations continue for the monuments’ funding, scale and location; proposals include the United States, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and South Africa, according to a Blue Lotus press release. Tritel and Blue Lotus leaders would not allow photographs to be taken of the wax models, but said they expected to release more details about them soon.

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To contact City Editor Trina Kleist, e-mail tkleist@ theunion.com or call 477-4230.


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