Downtown Decoration

Brad Oldham releases shiny new bird sculpture in downtown Dallas sky

Brad Oldham releases shiny new bird sculpture in downtown Dallas sky

Traveling Man sculpture, Deep Ellum, Brad Oldham
Birds are a favorite motif of sculptor Brad Oldham. Photo by Marc Lee
It's a bird, it's a sculpture, it's SkaterBIRD. Photo courtesy of Brad Oldham
Traveling Man sculpture, Deep Ellum, Brad Oldham

Dallas sculptor Brad Oldham has issued a flashy new sculpture that combines his obsession with birds and a skater motif. Called SkaterBird, it's perched atop his new studio at 1200 Ross Ave., where it can be spied from a number of angles.

According to Oldham's partner Christy Coltrin, SkaterBird celebrates their leap of faith. "We moved our business downtown because we like the energy and can-do bravado of Dallas' core," she says.

Oldham calls the new installation "personal and playful."

"You cannot blaze a trail if you're looking in the rearview mirror," Oldham says. "We choose to believe that if we keep telling stories through sculpture, everything will work out. The SkaterBird kicks out doubt. Look at this sculpture and consider how you can live boldly."

Oldham did not say if you could see the sculpture while looking in your rearview mirror, but you can see it from Woodall Rogers. It weighs 3,500 pounds and sits on top of the 13th story of the building, approximately 150 feet from street level. Fabricated from stainless steel, it stands 22 feet tall, 6 feet wide and 10 feet deep.

Its predecessors include Oldham's various bird sculptures seen in installations such as the Traveling Man in Deep Ellum, and in the Cactus with a Bird at the Hotel Lumen on Hillcrest Avenue near SMU. Oldham also has several bird sculptures on the West Coast, including a 7­-footer in San Diego. The artist has long been fascinated by birds, and he likes to share them as sculpture characters in his stories.

The skateboard theme results from what Oldham says are the similarities between sculptors and skaters.

"Both skills require creativity and physical aptitude," he says. "Sculptures like SkaterBird require many daring moves involving years of practice, thousands of pounds of metal, molten temperatures and brute strength. There's something equally badass about the skater's will-­not-­settle-­for-mediocrity attitude.

"Mastering moves takes a lot of repetition, dedication and passion," he says. "The beauty of skateboarding is ephemeral and almost surreal when the athlete catches air. SkaterBird immortalizes such a moment."

The sculpture can be viewed from the following vantage points:

  • From Woodall Rodgers, driving west on Ross Avenue and driving south on Field Street
  • From downtown buildings, including Fountain Place, Ross Towers and Republic Tower
  • Pedestrians walking from the Arts District to the West End

A dedication will take place in June. The sculpture is made possible by support from the Headington Companies.