25 February 2013
Say g'day to Cameron Chapman Australia Zoo's very own on site artist. You may recall Cameron's latest work, the awesome 13-metre long sarcosuchus imperator, unvelied last December for Robert Irwin's ninth birthday, but having worked at Australia Zoo for eight years, taking a walk around is like walking through his very own art gallery!
Thousands of visitors pass by his work every day and it's hard to find somwhere you can look without seeing one of Cameron's impressive works. Even the artificial logs within the animal enclosures come from Cameron's workshop on site at the zoo!
The most noticeable pieces of Cameron's work are Cameron the Crocodile, the first piece he created for the Zoo eight years ago (and subsequently named after him), the two temple dogs guarding the entrance to the Tiger Temple and also the Irwin family themselves, cast in bronze, which greets visitors near the Zoo's entrance. Terri Irwin wanted a family portrait of her, Steve, and their two children holding a crocodile with beloved family dog Sui and was unveiled at the first Steve Irwin Day in 2007.
"It was sculpted at the zoo and cast at a foundry," Cameron said. "It took about four months to sculpt the family in clay then another to go through the foundry. It's 600kgs of bronze."
Of the imposing temple dogs, an idea that came from director Wes Mannion, Cameron says "Wes brought back these model dog statues from Cambodia and asked if I could make some, I said yes. He said two, so I said yes! He said six metres high, I said I could do it!"
The top half of the giants were built at Cameron's shed on site from where they were craned up and put onto framework and the legs were built from the body down. "Again it's all concrete shell and painted to make it as natural as possible," Cameron revealed.
Check out this video accompaniment. Cameron introduces himself and some of his work.
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