Rubber chicken inspires "Rob Ford" sculpture

Nathan Liewicki
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Kaiser a Just For Laughs finalist for the third time

What wears black stockings, stiletto heels and frivolously twirls around a stripper pole stark naked? If you guessed embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, you are correct.

Created by local folk artist Jerry Kaiser, this sculpture of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford epitomizes the farce theme of the 2014 Just For Laughs Visual Arts International Contest. Kaiser's sculpture is currently in Montreal for the festival, where he is a third time finalist. 

Local folk artist Jerry Kaiser’s latest sculpture, aptly named “Rob Ford,” captures the admitted addict shamelessly exposed to the world around him – literally exposed.

“The way I look at it, you've got to hold powerful and rich people to account, and you can do it satirically,” Kaiser told the Times-Herald on Wednesday.

“To make him – and anybody in a powerful position – look as ridiculous as possible is something I’m going to satirize.”

Kaiser’s inspiration for the Ford sculpture, aside from the fact that it is comical and epitomizes the 2014 Just For Laughs International Visual Arts Contest (JFLIVAC) theme of farce, came from his genuine rubber chicken.

Admittedly attached to his rubber chicken, which recently disintegrated after years of deterioration, Kaiser formulated an idea.

“I got to thinking about the rubber chicken and Rob Ford, and maybe I’ll make him up as a butterball turkey because of his obesity,” said Kaiser.

After adding more comical inspiration in the form of Peter from Family Guy to his sculpture, the idea for Kaiser’s sculpture became more streamlined.

He says he puts a lot of time into thinking about his idea before the actual stages of creation take place, including drawings that assisted him is finding the exact pose he wants for his sculptures.

Once he nailed down the precise pose, Kaiser said it took him about two weeks, but only an estimated 12 cumulative hours to create his Styrofoam and wooden-framed sculpture. Although he topped off his pole-dancing version of Ford with acrylic paint, Kaiser said most of his materials were recycled material.

He tries to be as environmental as possible, and that includes travelling – even to see his work on display at the JFLIVAC ongoing in Montreal from July 12-26.

“I like Montreal, but I've also come down to where I don't travel unless I've built up sufficient carbon credits to go some place,” he said. “I don't like to do frivolous travels. It's too heard on the environment.”

He was, however, in attendance at the 2004 Just For Laughs Festival, the first year he was one of the finalists for the JFLIVAC.

Kaiser was also a finalist in 2013 with his “Pandaphilia” sculpture. And this year he’s one of 40 finalists from 16 different countries.

“We have three works with Rob Ford,” Ana Marinescu, producer of the JFLIVAC. “I think Rob Ford was the joke of the year and the most sought after theme of the year from the finalists.”

In fact, Kaiser is one of six Canadians who will receive a honourary mention on Thursday evening because he is a three-time finalist.

However, to Kaiser he isn’t a big accolades person.

“I like to do it more than I like to show it off,” he said of creating unique artistic satire. “The challenge of using new materials and getting the right kind of pose.”

Once the JFLIVAC is complete, “Rob Ford” is destined or the Saskatchewan Arts Board, where the naked, pole-dancing Ford can be viewed by all.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.

Organizations: Times-Herald, Family Guy, Saskatchewan Arts Board

Geographic location: Montreal

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