Busy Building Dreams

Busy busy busy!

I found myself spontaneously involved in a new project, temporarily, and on a volunteer basis: The Gardens of Myth show put on by Grimstone Studios at the Botanical Gardens in Kansas City, MO, May 27th. You can see more about the project here.

The show is an exhibit of various mythological creatures, hand-welded, constructed, sculpted, sanded, and painted by Kendall R. Hart and his company, Grimstone Studios. He had originally pitched the idea to the gardens for a great work in two years’ time– they originally declined the show, but after some time changed their minds. They called him back, requesting the show in only six months. Not one to back down from a challenge, the studio picked it up and ran with it, determined to deliver the monumental request in only a quarter of the originally-quoted time.

I only found out about and came onto the project pretty late, with only about a week ’til the end. Working for a delivery company, I had passed Kendall and crew working on the project outside their garage on several occasions, and one day after work I was biking around the neighborhood and thought I’d stop in and ask them about what they were doing (as I later learned, this was a very common phenomenon). What was considerably less common (I also later learned) was that when I offered to help, I actually followed through and showed up. I would bike down from home after I got off work and had a chance to get showered and eat, eventually coming to think of myself as part of the “night shift crew” (which honestly felt great when they validated me by calling me part of the crew).

Despite putting a good 20-ish hours of work into the project however, I honestly didn’t do very much; mostly just grunt work like applying base coats of paint to goblins, breaking excess material off of the dragon’s scales, and applying some of those scales to the dragon, to help save some time for the real artists (Kendall and his wife Joanna, Shane & Christian Flottmann, Evan, Destiny, Dave, and an entire crew of people I little saw and/or barely met). It was great getting to know the artists however, and discovering how much we all had in common. We preferred a lot of the same genres in the arts we personally consumed (music, film, books, TV series) and got along really well. While we didn’t have time for me to get a real interview, I got a decent sense of Kendall, Shane, and Christian’s senses of humour, preferences, and inspirations.

Kendall, the primary artist and director of this project, has been an artist for over 20 years. He and his wife Joanna have four children including their new infant addition, and live in Farmington, Missouri. He enjoys works of fantasy (obviously), sci-fi, musical comedy, and an eclectic range of music from 80’s pop and rock to modern Indie, and beyond. Aside from being a visual artist, he also writes, and helps writers to self-publish.

Prior to establishing this Gardens of Myth project, he worked for a company doing similar display work for several years, and decided it was time to strike out on his own. When I asked him how get put this project together, he said, “I want to make peoples’ dreams come true. I knew what I wanted to do so I went out and made it happen.”

Well Kendall, you wanted to make dreams come true? Aside from bringing to life so many others’, it seems you’ve got a great start on building your own!


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