It’s the largest sculpture he’s ever created; a 50-foot long, 4,400-pound Humpback whale. Local sculptor Stephen Kesler (aka Tusk) has worked for months to fabricate the sculpture, along with a 20-foot calf.
These whales will be one of the first things guests see as they walk into the Aquarium. Stephen, with the assistance of his brother Dan Kesler, knew the biggest challenge would be getting the massive sculpture through the front doors of the Aquarium. The whale was engineered to break into eight pieces in order to fit through the 6 ft. x 9 ft. door.
These pieces were moved into the Aquarium one by one at the end of October. Weather was a factor because they had to avoid wind and rain when delivering each piece to the Aquarium. Preparation for installing the whale and hanging it in the Aquarium lobby has been ongoing for months. Aquarium crews worked closely with Stephen and his team. Two structural engineers created plans on how to support and hang the sculptures.
The structural plans were reviewed and approved by Draper City and a building permit was required. The final design for the adult whale included a 3 ft. x 3 ft. tunnel, which was used to bolt the parts together. The tail and the fins were installed after the whale was secured and raised up.
Stephen Kesler crawled into the belly of the whale to secure the fins. Then final patching and painting was completed. There are less than ten full size Humpback sculptures in the world.