Media: Both trees have been painted with exterior latex house paint, I believe the tree is an oak
Size: 13 foot tall Paul and 7 foot high Babe
Location: Battle Creek's Fantasy Forest at Leila Arboretum, at 928 W. Michigan Avenue in Battle Creek, MI
Painter and design concept, Kimber Thompson
"Paul and Babe"
When a grove of Ash trees in Battle Creek's Leila Arboretum were killed due to an infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer insect, a decision was made to NOT cut the trees down, but instead create beautiful works of art.
During June 2016 a dozen artists traveled to Battle Creek from across the United States to carve tree trunks in Battle Creek's Fantasy Forest. All of the artists were commissioned in 2016.
During an 3-day event in 2016, spectators watched as 14 more trees were transformed by artists to finish this FREE sculpture garden at the entrance to Leila Arboretum.
"Paul and Babe" depicts folk hero Paul Bunyan and Babe, his Big Blue Ox. They have been painted on 2 separate tree trunks, so visitors can stand between them for a photo.
The model for the Paul facing the forest is my dad, Dennis Atherton. In his childhood and youth, he helped his dad and grandfather while they were logging in the woods of the upper peninsula. Since the event took place on Father's Day weekend, it was easy to pick my model!
The landscape around their feet is based on the woods of the U.P. and the falls that are shown are the Munising Falls, again, in tribute to my dad. He told me on a recent trip that he only feels like he is truly "home" is when he stops to see these falls where he used to play as a child. The rest of the landscape includes a painted concrete slab, complete with logging roads that are perfect Matchbox car roads!
The model for the Paul on the back of the tree is Norman Reedus, from The Walking Dead TV show (my favorite). It is supposed to look like he and Babe are playing catch with a full-size tree.