On Sep. 17 a 22 foot tall sculpture was put up right across the street from the famous “Breaking Bad” carwash. It was a state purchased statue from the #@DonKennell group of metal artists. A multi-colored Phoenix statue that took over 3 months to create was put together over several hours at the fire station located just off of Menaul. The most interesting part, the crew uses throw away car parts to make these beautiful pieces.
Lead artist Don Kennell has made multiple art installations, including a giant 20 plus foot horse that was intended to go to the annual Coachella music festival. Unfortunately Covid-19 happened so the piece did not see the light of day. Fortunately he and his team, including; Caleb Smith, Zack Greer, York Moon, Zach Nicholas, and Lisa Adler were able to erect their art work in their current home state during these odd times.
“We finally get to install a piece today,” Kanell said. “There is a lot of work that goes into these projects. And it can be competitive as we aren’t the only company in the country that bids for big monuments such as these. Fortunately with this project we were picked and worked very hard to bring in a piece that people driving down the street can enjoy.”
Matt Carter was the head of the crew at Fire Station 9 overseeing the process.
“This was the fire station asking the governing office for a display,” he said. “They wanted to show people how important our first responders are and this company from Santa Fe has done a tremendous job from what I’ve seen. The fire department loves public art. And as I watch right now this is going to be a beautiful display.”
The @donkennell crew was selected out of more than 70 submission to enact the statue for Fire Station 9. According to Mr. Carter, Don’s work stood out and the city then reached out to the team of steel workers for a full on display.
Going with a Phoenix as the symbol, Kennel felt it to be the thing people should see driving by a firehouse.
“We as a group love the work firefighters do,” he said. “We love as artists the idea of coming out of the ashes which is what the phoenix is all about. Being reborn out of the ashes sort of speak is what these firefighters do. They rush into these disaster situations and sort of have to hopefully come out. It’s a really brave thing and I’m so happy we could honor that.”
It took multiple hours for the team to get everything in place but the statue, again made out of car parts, is up. If you’re driving down Menaul Blvd near the East side of Albuquerque, make sure to check out an extraordinary piece of art that honors our firefighters.