Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Brown Bear’s Bear

8/27/13 Platinum Carbon ink, watercolor, Stillman & Birn
Back in April when I was looking for local oddities to post on the Urban Sketchers Flickr weekly theme thread on the same subject, I headed north on Aurora Avenue North, which seemed full of oddities (including a three-dimensional elephant on a sign) when I was a child. My theory stands. On our way to Costco a few days ago, we passed another oddity that I had never noticed before: a huge bear sculpture at the Brown Bear Car Wash on 160th and Aurora.
If you’re familiar with Brown Bear Car Wash, apparently a regional chain, you know that its logo is of the “teddy bear” species, or at least a type of bear that evokes friendliness and not fear. The bronze bear at 160th and Aurora is definitely not of the same species. Titled “The Undaunted Spirit,” the sculpture by Lorenzo Ghiglieri was commissioned by the owners of Brown Bear in 2009. Indeed, the realistic grizzly is somewhat daunting – rearing up, long claws and teeth bared. Unlike the elephant sign, I wouldn’t call the bear “odd” at all; it’s actually quite beautiful. Its placement on Aurora Avenue, however, is a little odd.

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