Lifestyle

Isle Artist’s Sculpture Unveiling Thursday

June 4, 2014, 8:35 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 6:46 PM
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For more than a year, Big Island artist and former pro surfer Chris Barela entertained visitors at his Kohala Coast gallery while sculpting a 32-inch model for a full-size sculpture that’s being unveiled Thursday in California.

Barela made the life-sized sculpture mold in an addition he built to his Puako home. The mold was packed in three crates and shipped to Barela’s foundry in Ventura, Calif., where craftsmen used the lost wax process to complete the statue, a memorial to surfing pioneers Bob and Bill Meistrell.

The late Meistrell brothers, founders of the surfing company Body Glove, are widely credited with inventing the wet suit and greatly influencing the sports of surfing and diving.

The statue will be unveiled Thursday at the entrance to King Harbor Yacht Club at Seaside Lagoon, Redondo Beach, Calif., said a media release.

The 32-inch model, after appearing at the 2014 Mavericks surf contest, is back on display at the Barela Gallery, where Barela discussed the artistic process with visitors while working it. The gallery exhibit includes photos detailing the making of the larger bronze.

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Barela, a California native, retired from professional surfing in the late 1980s and turned his love for the ocean into a career in sculpture, painting, photography and filmmaking. His works has been shown in public installations from the Oregon Coast to Key West, Florida, and he won first place at the 2011 Hawaii Ocean Film Festival for his short film on octopus.

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“My passion is to bring awareness to the beauty of life within our oceans,” he said.

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