For a Mere $1,250, Sculptor Bob Edlund Will See to It That Your Jeans Never Wear Out
After a lifetime of projects that never quite lifted off the launching pad—who can forget, for example, his fiberglass-coated paper-flower collages?—Bob Edlund thinks he's on to something: blue jeans sculptures, the perfect combination of nostalgia and art.
For a mere $1,250—plus freight, the jeans themselves and a picture of the art patron wearing the incipient objet d'art—Edlund will take "the hardest things in the world to part with," stuff them with pillow forms he calls adjusto-buns, shape them and brush on three or four coats of fiberglass resin. Michelangelo, move over.
Why would anybody in their right mind pay $1,250 for a pair of petrified dungarees? Well, one Texas customer who hardly ever sees his son ordered a pair of the kid's jeans, just to keep in touch. But actually the market hasn't yet reached its apex. By the 40-year-old ex-adman's own admission, he's sold only two of the 15 he's made so far; the rest have been given to friends. This, he feels, is just a temporary lull, soon to be filled by a hurricane of orders. In the next few months, he expects to create $250,000 to $500,000 worth of denim masterpieces. After that, he and wife Barbara, 29 (they live with her two kids; his two live with his ex-wife), hope to set up a distribution network through galleries, where the price per sculpture will be $2,500.
"It's a fun kind of art form," insists Edlund. "Every one is different." For a liberal lawyer friend, he created jeans leaning a little to the left. For an avowed lady-killer, he placed a not-so-discreet bulge at a not-so-discreet spot near the zipper.
As one might guess, Edlund is optimistic about the future. But on the off chance that the adult blue jeans sculpture market fades rather than flares—these things have been known to happen to Edlund—he is prepared for the next major art trend: fiberglass-coated kiddie overalls. "It's like bronzing baby shoes," Edlund says with his usual enthusiasm. "I can't imagine any grandparent who wouldn't want to get a little guy's jeans for a gift."
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