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Creating Destiny

Jesse Swickard's horse-themed sculpture is on display at Family Fun Center


by: JOSH KULLA - Destiny, the new metal sculpture from Wilsonville artist Jesse Swickard, sits on public display at the Family Fun Center on Town Center Loop.Jesse Swickard’s latest work of art, an enormous, metal sculpture gracing the grounds of Wilsonville’s Family Fun Center, has left him feeling like he’s outdone himself this time.

“My best ever,” said Swickard, a longtime Wilsonville resident and artist who is well known for his role in helping bring public art installations into the local community.

Entitled Destiny, Swickard’s newest creation features a tall, tapered pedestal topped with a magnificent rearing horse. The sculpture is close to 10 feet tall and towers over nearby viewers in impressive fashion.

Swickard and an assistant installed Destiny at the Fun Center on July 9.

“I’ve done quite a few horse-inspired pieces,” Swickard said. “I grew up in Wilsonville, so I used to ride horses around town. It’s sort of an iconic image for me. We’d ride down to the park; we’d even ride to the grocery store.”

The concept for Destiny was hashed out nearly three years ago when Swickard was approached by Fred Meyer to create a sculpture for Old Town Square. He finished a scale model to present to store executives, but for some reason the deal never was consummated.

“We went through quite a few meetings,” Swickard said. “So I wanted to build the project. I was pretty passionate about all the time I had spent building it, and I wanted to protect my copyright. I was deeply involved, and I thought it was good motivation to build the piece to full scale.”by: JOSH KULLA - Destiny, the new metal sculpture from Wilsonville artist Jesse Swickard, sits on public display at the Family Fun Center on Town Center Loop.

So he did just that. For the past two years he has spent all his spare time working on Destiny, paying thousands of dollars for the raw materials out of pocket as he went.

Crafted out of stainless steel, the sculpture is rust-proof and polished to a glossy sheen, with a Scotchbrite finish.

The sculpture’s location is no accident. This is the fourth sculpture Swickard has displayed at the Fun Center. It’s a family tradition, actually, that dates back decades to the days when Swickard’s father worked at the Fun Center on special projects, including its miniature golf course and go-cart track.

“I talked to Darren (Harmon, Fun Center general manager) about displaying it there and he thought it’d be neat to rotate a new piece in,” said Swickard.

At the same time, Destiny is available for sale to the first person or group to come up with the $30,000 asking price. It might sound exorbitant to the uninitiated, but when you consider the vast amount of time and material involved, not to mention taxes, artists normally are lucky to take home a third of their sticker price.

“It’s hard to put a value on things,” Swickard said. “You put your time and materials into it and it adds up. I’ve had a long-term relationship with Darren; he’s a great guy and has always let me display my work there. My dad used to work there so it’s kind of neat to keep that going.”by: JOSH KULLA - Destiny, the new metal sculpture from Wilsonville artist Jesse Swickard, sits on public display at the Family Fun Center on Town Center Loop.

Swickard said Destiny was inspired by the Country Classic equestrian competition held each summer at Hunter Creek Farm west of Wilsonville.

“It’s the horse community,” he said. “It’s a thriving community in Wilsonville, and this piece would be appropriate for a horse riding arena or something like that. The Country Classic was my motivation because a lot of those guys are going to stay in town and buy food or whatever.”

Aside from Destiny, Swickard said he is as busy as he’s ever been.

“We’re working on a sculpture for SMART right now,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be installing that in September if everything goes smoothly. It’s kind of a project with Wilsonville High School and Christopher Shotola-Hardt called Kinetic Wind.”

On top of that, he is finishing up a pair of sculptures commissioned by the city of Redmond.

In part, it’s why he has taken a step back from the public spotlight and ongoing effort to promote public art in Wilsonville.

“I was deeply involved with that,” he said. “But my career is taking off, so I need to really focus on that.”




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