Clarence Lee Shirrell is one of those lucky people who seem to really love his work. He has a “lawn ornament farm” on Interstate 55 just north of Cape Girardeau, MO. I stopped by this week because I happened to notice Miss C, Clarence’s camel (“You can pet her. She won’t spit at you.”)
I can’t explain my fascination with concrete art (if I may use that word). I think it has more to do with the subjects chosen than the process. Which I assume involves pouring concrete into a mold. I think Clarence Lee said he buys the pieces already cast, so is there a big lawn ornament outfit somewhere and how do they decide what pieces will sell? And who came up with the 8 foot polar bear throwing a snowball?
I had a dozen questions for Clarence Lee but didn’t have time to ask them. For example, which is the better seller: the life-size (whatever that might be) demon or the Virgin Mary. And where would you put the demon?
How did he find Crista Meyer, the lady who paints some of his pieces. And do painted pieces sell better than unpainted? And what prompted the loin cloth on the buff young (Greek?) man. Did someone complain about his tiny concrete pecker and balls (yes, I peeked)?
Perhaps the most interesting thing I found at Concrete Castings was the cryptic message on the back of Clarence Lee’s business card: “Finished files are the result of years of scientific study combined with the experience of many years.”
I think that might be up there with “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?”