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Ice Sculptor

Ice Sculptor
Name:Dr. Ice
Location:New Orleans, LA
Gender:M
Age:44
Updated:10/13/14
For more than 2 decades, I've been an ice sculptor, mostly for events in and around New Orleans. This means that if it can be made of ice and it's fun, I've probably made it for some crazy all-out party. I am a gold medal ice carver and my teammates and I also have a Guinness World Record for the world's longest ice bar. In 2004, I was ohh, so close to winning a world championship in Alaska. Alas, we came in second...maybe next time. But want to know something about ice sculptures? Ask me!
Find me online: My website |
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Q
Is Groundhog Day basically your Citizen Kane:) ?
A

Actually Citizen Kane is my Citizen Kane; there are 3 ice sculptures in that movie. But Groundhog Day definitely is significant to ice carvers because of the scene where Bill Murray's character is carving an angel sculpture. That sculpture was actually done by Randy Rupert. (Believe it or not, Bill Murray didn't carve that!) I've competed against Randy in a competition in Youngstown, Ohio. Can't remember how it turned out, but Randy is a very talented ice sculptor.

And by the way, if you're a fan of Jim Carrey or Sean Penn, you might have seen one of my ice sculptures in a couple of movies that were filmed in New Orleans.

Q
What happens when you make a mistake and chip off a bigger piece of ice than you intend? Is that easy to fix? Can you actually re-attach it somehow, or do you have to work with whatever's left?
A

Small breaks happen all the time, maybe because I was clumsy, or perhaps I was too aggressive with a tool; there are all kinds of reasons. To fix it, you cut away the screwed up part and weld a new piece on. You try not to do this too much though because it can sometimes be difficult and the welds are visible. But I almost never toss a sculpture and start over again.

Q
How is a 'world championship' in ice carving judged and by what criteria?
A

The organizers of Ice Art World Championships in Alaska have put together a set of judging criteria that judges at the event use to rate the sculptures. The criteria include things like degree of difficulty, the finished appearance of the sculpture, proportions, use of ice, creativity, expression of emotion and overall impression. The sculpture that I describe in another answer, the bird cage, was off the charts in degree of difficulty and it scored well in all the other categories as well.

Q
What's the sculpture you've done that you're most proud of? Is there a picture of it online?
A

That's a tough question. I'd probably call it a tie between several sculptures. But I'll list them with the reasons:

- Cool Brees: a 9 foot tall ice sculpture of Drew Brees that I carved in Alaska a month after the Saints won the Super Bowl; used it to raise a couple thousand dollars for charity: at www.coolbreesproject.com

- Beautiful Chemistry: an abstract DNA sculpture that we made at the World Championships and that earned 6th place: ”beautiful chemistry” ice sculpture in Alaska

- Ancestral Spirit: a 24 foot tall sculpture where I was a teammate of multiple world champion
...More

Q
How long does it take for an ice sculpture to begin to lose its shape / features at room temperature? How long before it's nothing but a puddle of water on the floor?
A

For a sculpture that's at something close to room temperature, we usually say that a sculpture will last 4-6 hours. That is to say, it's holding some detail and looks basically like it's supposed to. But it really varies depending on how delicate the sculpture is. And if a sculpture is outside in hot weather or the ac goes out, all bets are off and a sculpture might last only a couple of hours or less. As to how long it is before it's a puddle of water, you're usually talking about a LOT of ice, so there might even be some ice left the next day; and longer than that if it's cold or if it was a really large piece.

Q
How did you get into ice carving? Were you always a good artist? Did you one day just decide it looked cool?
A

I worked at a hotel during summers off from college and used to go watch the chef carve. I don't know that I ever asked if I could try, but one day he handed me the chainsaw and told me what to do. My first sculpture was awful, but the hotel used it for their Father's Day brunch.

Ice Sculptor [...continued]