Indiana Daily Student

Artist constructs temporary sculptures in Jordan River

Rock sculptures line the Jordan river near Franklin Hall. Over the last week, Patrick Siney has been lining the river with these rock sculptures as an independant art project after becoming inspired by something similar he saw in Colorado. Other Bloomington residents and students have also  contributed to the sculpture building.
Rock sculptures line the Jordan river near Franklin Hall. Over the last week, Patrick Siney has been lining the river with these rock sculptures as an independant art project after becoming inspired by something similar he saw in Colorado. Other Bloomington residents and students have also contributed to the sculpture building.

Patrick Siney sat back on his heels at the edge of the Jordan River and pushed two more flat stones into place. His newest sculpture was almost finished.

Siney is an artist of all trades — he paints, he takes photographs, he builds cars in his garage.

His day job as a freelance graphic designer leaves him time to pursue his love of art as a hobby, and his newest project is building stacked rock sculptures in the Jordan River, near Franklin Hall.

Siney’s style is inspired by sculptures he saw in creeks on a visit to Boulder, Colo.,
he said.

“I saw people sitting in front of them and picnicking,” Siney said. “The minute I got home, instead of going back to work, I took three days off, and I spent those three days building those rock sculptures.”

He finished 23 sculptures before a heavy rain washed them away. Siney said he doesn’t mind, because it gives him the opportunity to rebuild and refine his
creations.

Bloomington resident Jim Holmes passed Siney as he was working last week and stopped to watch. Holmes said he was fascinated by the artwork and the artist’s
patience.

“It washes away,” he said. “To me, that’s what it represents — that nothing is
 permanent.”

To Siney, the rock sculptures represent the idea of a shared ancestry, he said. As he worked, people stopped to tell him about other artists who worked with similar styles of rock stacking.

“Everybody has a story to tell about their experience with rock sculptures,” he said. “It’s not a new idea. People have been doing it for a long time.”

Other anonymous Bloomington artists have followed his lead. Siney pointed out ten sculptures that he had not built.

The Jordan River is a convenient place to sculpt, he said, because his work takes him past campus daily.

“I’m downtown pretty much a lot, and it’s really the only body of water that I can get to on my bicycle on a regular basis,” he said. “Plus it’s a really pretty area.”

He rides his bicycle to the Jordan River on an almost-daily basis to create new sculptures, he said. Each stack of rocks takes him about 15 minutes to
complete.

He loves his job, he said, but stacking rock sculptures is the highlight of his day.
“It’s my favorite part of the day, to get out of the home office,” Siney said. “I would rather be out in the creek making artwork.”

Although he said there aren’t any set principles or rules to his artwork, he has to work with the natural condition of the rocks. He does not plan his creations before his visits to the river.

“There’s definitely an art in it, and you don’t get to have your way all the time,” he said. “They’re not permanent. They’re fragile.”

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