By Valerie Shelton, Editor
It’s the first day of spring. A cool morning breeze rustles the pink blossom filled trees at the Dry Creek Trailhead as a crowd of cyclists and joggers pass by on the connecting paths. On this day, Saturday, March 19, many pause to not only enjoy the natural beauty surrounding them, but to witness the unveiling of Clovis’ newest piece of art—a mechanical looking steelwork statue dubbed “Running Time.”
Running Time, named for both its appearance as a running horse and for the working clock in its center, stands proudly on the pedestal at the trailhead and symbolizes the Clovis way of life—the city’s past traditions, it’s present and the future.
Mayor Nathan Magsig, a long-time advocate for art in Clovis, said he is in awe of how local artist Brandon Greer, a 1990 Clovis High graduate, created such a dynamic piece with little direction from the city.
“Brandon has been an amazing artist and he doesn’t give himself enough credit,” Magsig said. “There is no other artist in the world that I have seen who can take plate steel, old tractor parts, car parts, things from the past, and give them movement and turn it into a piece of art like this.
“We [Magsig and City Planning and Development Services Director Dwight Kroll] sat down with Brandon Greer about a year and a half ago and gave him word pictures. We didn’t tell him what to make, we said ‘Brandon, we need a piece of art that can be located here that represents Clovis’ past, present and future, a piece of art that represents the community’s values and something that also incorporates the fact that people ride their bikes and run here at the trailhead.’ That is a tall order and we didn’t tell him what to make, but he went back and started doing some sketches and eventually made a small mockup of a horse which right now is over at City Hall and looks a lot like this and he said ‘What do you think if I do this’ and Dwight and I looked at each other and said ‘This thing is amazing’ so we brought it to the Mayor’s breakfast, showed the community and the community really liked it and here we stand today.”
Magsig continued, saying that Brandon captured the values of Clovis perfectly.
“The past is represented by all the old things—the car parts and the farm implements that are in here,” Magsig said. “The present is represented by the clock that is an actual working clock telling time and the future is represented by the horse running to the future. This horse is just like all of us. We are at different stages of our life, young and old, but as long as we have breath in our lungs and as long as we are here in Clovis, we are fighting and moving toward the future and we want to make this community a better place. This art piece has made Clovis a better place and I’m excited that Brandon got to be involved with it.”
Greer said he is thankful to the city for giving him the opportunity to create this piece.
“Public art is only as good as the people who support it and we’re really fortunate here in the city of Clovis to have some really great champions for public art,” Greer said.
The piece itself, Greer said, is an amalgam of the sentiments he feels being a part of the Clovis community.
“What I’ve done with the piece is I wanted to synergize between the old and the new and I wanted to use as many old pieces of antique equipment that I could muster into the piece and not overcrowd it,” Greer said. “There are 125 different pieces in here that come from different farm equipment, old automobiles, above the clock there is a the front end of an actual Model T truck so everything on this piece dates back to the 40s and 50s. With the working clock, I wanted to bring in a little bit of aspect to people on the trail here having more than just something to look at, maybe they can utilize it if they needed it.”
Greer found many of the parts he used in backyards, barns and junkyards. He also used some parts from his old truck.
Magsig said Greer was very particular in the placement of some of these parts—and one bicycle fork in particular holds sentimental value.
“There is a bike crank that is actually in the location of where the heart is,” Magsig said. “The bike gears and crank are brand name FSA which stands for Full Speed Ahead which I thought was very apropos to the horse and you can kid of see the top of the gears. In the back of the horse you can see a bicycle fork, these are like tendons and you can see that the bicycle fork is attached. Here is a nuance that no one knows: that bike fork belonged to a good friend of mine Ed Lund, who passed away in a bike crash last year and his family gave me that bike fork and I wanted to incorporate that into this piece because Ed was a big part of the bicycling community.”
Running Time also incorporates the agriculture industry.
“If you look at the front, you’ll see an old plow from a tractor,” Magsig said. “It is appropriate because Clovis has always been an agrarian community, more so in years past but it is still tied into ag today and we wanted a piece that had ag wrapped up into it. We also wanted it to show our community values, that we’re a family-oriented community and that’s why it has the bike parts in it. The horse in and of itself is representative of power and what makes Clovis work and makes us so powerful is that we have incredible people here from all different walks of life but we have one thing in common and that is that we love our community so when you listen to the artist talk about how he has taken all these pieces from the past and brought them together to make this horse makes it really special.”
Running Time was 100 percent paid for by donations from the community, with the major sponsor being Future Ford of Clovis. The Clovis Community Foundation also donated to the project as well as a host of other organizations. In addition to monetary donations, the Fresno Irrigation District donated an antique gate belt—a device that helps transmit water through the irrigation system. The gate belt is on display near Running Time.