Through specialized headgear, viewers can interact with the larger-than-life Olympian. The First Virtual Reality Monument features Michael Phelps, clad in speedos and USA-emboldened-swim cap, standing steadfastly akimbo with feet planted shoulder-width on an Olympic-style podium. His chin is up with a determined gaze reminiscent of recent Phelps memes. His son Boomer, supported by a child harness across Dad’s chest in place of a gold medal, holds open arms as if sweetly welcoming his auspicious future.
“I intended to monumentalize Michael Phelps’s athletic dominance and prevalence over inner-demons,” Edwards says. “Contrasting Ryan Lochte’s unfortunate actions in Rio, I find it especially important to commemorate Phelps’s growth and maturity.”
Boomer Phelps, the cute three-month-old ‘mascot’ of the Rio games, was present as his father won six medals. “I don’t recall the emergence of such an adorable breakout star as baby Boomer at the Olympics before,” added Edwards. “All of the pics on Boomer’s Instagram page provided plenty of inspiration for his portrait.”
“Ryan Lochte’s misbehavior undermines the spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play of the Olympics, placing more necessity to remember Phelps’s Olympic-sized strides,” said the artist’s spokesman Cory Allen. “But after 23 gold medals in five Olympic Games, Phelps’s greatest legacy may indeed be son Boomer, as portrayed by Daniel.”
Daniel Edwards has been sculpting Olympic Gold Medalists for over 20 years. Coca-Cola, BMW, and United Way sponsored his Olympic portrait exhibit that followed the torch relay to selected cities and exhibited in the Olympic Village in Atlanta in 1996. His portraits are in the permanent collections of the National Art Museum of Sport and New York Athletic Club.
The “First Virtual Reality Monument” will open to the public at Irv Art at 206 South Audubon Road in Indianapolis in November. For more information contact Cory Allen at 323-393-3115 or visit www.cacanet.com.