Sunday, November 07, 2004

Shreveport Elvis, Sculptor Interview

Recently a sculpture of Elvis Presley was installed in Shreveport, La. to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his first appearance on the "Louisiana Hayride" radio program. Barbara Karkabi interiviewed the artist, Eric Kaposta, for the Houston Chronicle.

Q: How did the Elvis sculpture come about?

A: I called the Shreveport people because I knew the 50-year anniversary was coming up. People still love Elvis, and I said: "I think you guys should entertain the idea of doing a sculpture of Elvis Presley to commemorate the anniversary. It would be great for tourism." An adviser to the mayor happened to be a fan, and she agreed with me. Between the two of us, we kind of pushed other people. There are only three other Graceland-approved Elvis statues in the United States.

Q: What was your vision for the piece?

A: I wanted to give him the look that he was happy to be up there and kind of sharing that happiness that he had when he was on stage. It was one of Elvis' most endearing qualities — see, he has that little smile on the sculpture — a sort of: "Can you believe this?" It made him as liked by the guys as the girls. I took the image from a lot of different pictures.

Q: How did you get Elvis to Shreveport?

A: I took the piece by truck in the back of a little trailer, and I didn't cover it up. I thought: "We are just going to let everyone see Elvis and have some Elvis sightings on Highway 59." Some people waved on the way. When I came into town they were so excited, they had music playing, and all the people clapped as I came around the corner to the auditorium. It was really cool. Then on Saturday they had a concert.

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