Richard Arfsten

American Soldier by Richard Arfsten

American Soldier - maquette. This is a 6-foot maquette that I was hired to design for a monumental-size sculpture. This sculpture is supposed to be larger than the Statue of Liberty. It was to be built on a 13-story base which would have all the names of fallen soldiers from all the wars and conflicts in our country's history. The final statue was to be built somewhere in Florida.

The statue was to be built out of Gunite, a cement process sprayed onto a steel frame with heavy steel mesh.

It was to be built in 20-foot sections on the ground and stacked using a giant crane - like a big layer cake. The soldier was to be 175 feet tall. He was to be a nondescript soldier - meaning you were not supposed to recognize his branch of service. He was to be standing.

The story that evolved as I was constructing it was a soldier paying his respects, standing over the graves of his fallen friends in WW2 on D-Day in a cemetery in Normandy. He has some flowers and the wind is blowing hard off the ocean.

He has not been built yet. Every time I inquire about the project the people who hired me to make the maquette tell me the project is still alive. Just like everything else, funding is the problem.

I was supposed to sculpt the final surface as the Gunite is sprayed on. It gets hard very fast so this will be a very tricky project. Once it hardens and cures into concrete it will be sprayed with molten bronze from a welding process that melts and sprays molten bronze from melting wire.

This project was started about 20 years ago so I am not holding my breath as to the completion date if it ever happens.

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