Sculptor Of The North: The Evolution of a Soul Doug Petersen Author

Sculptor Of The North: The Evolution of a Soul Doug Petersen Author
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It was the summer of 1973, and the Vietnam War was casting its insidious shadow over the world. Caught in a riot that began as an anti-war protest, I found myself running for my life from club-swinging cops and being teargassed from pepper fogging guns at the University of Minnesota. The protest was a result of American airplanes bombing neighboring Cambodia. It was soon after the deadly shootings at Kent State University where four students were gunned down. Many students gathered at Coffman Memorial Union watching television monitors broadcasting that day’s protest-turned-riot.It was announced that the Minnesota National Guard had been called in. Oh-oh, here we go again. Were they going to open fire on us too? I was a senior at the university and had been accepted at the University of San Diego Law School. That day’s events changed my life. No way was I going to be a part of a money-crazed system as a lawyer, so I began my journey as an artist/sculptor.Five years later, I found myself living in a tent in the woods near Ely. After two years of tent life, I moved to an old hunting shack filled with spiders, mice, and snakes on the property I bought. It was a roof over my head. After seven laborious years of remodeling with popular logs that I fitted into a log hut around the shack, the structure burnt to the ground during the blue moon on New Year’s Eve 1990. It was minus 40 degrees. I sat in the firetruck with then chief Klun after racing to my nearest neighbor’s house, logger Buster Nicholson, where I burst through his door yelling, My house is on fire!Use the phone, he hollered, and I did. The Ely Fire Department met me at the beginning of Mud Creek Road, and I escorted them six miles down the road and into my remote haven in the woods. It was too late. Fire was consuming everything. Glass and ammunition were exploding, and the hoses on the truck were frozen. A night to remember for sure, but if anything is going to get the motivational juices flowing, it was that. I created a monumental sculpture 31 years later of this resolute and powerful Viking, which is now the second-tallest cement statue in the state. It was a year-long project that stands nine feet tall and weighs about 3,500 pounds. Located in Tower behind the football field, he stands with his sword rammed into the ground looking skyward for a sign from the heavens, just like I did in 1973 and on New Year’s Eve during the blue moon.