The 2016 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska… Part II: The Artists

Anne Marie Tabardo takes a break from carving "Alice" at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks.

Anne Marie Tabardo takes a break from carving “Alice” at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks.

Anne Marie Tabardo looked up from carving Alice with a smile that was guaranteed to melt an icy heart, or cold art for that matter.  A collection of ice carving chisels rested on the ground next to her. A seriously long one was poised in her hand. It was obvious that she was having fun with her sculpture. A tall tree of ice towered over her and the diminutive Alice, who was apparently ready to dive into the rabbit hole. Off to the right were what looked suspiciously like fly agaric: magic mushrooms. I suspect they are quite common in the land of hookah smoking caterpillars. I wondered if the judges would give Anne an A for authenticity, or even recognize the mushrooms.

Alice ice sculpture at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Alice, the tree, and magic mushrooms. Had the mushrooms been real and available, some people may have spotted a white rabbit with a pocket watch as well.

Ice Art Sculpture "Alice" at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska

Tree limbs looking like fingers added to the Wonderland feel of the sculpture.

Anne hails from the United Kingdom where these same hallucinogenic fungi were recently found on the grounds of Buckingham Palace. An official was quick to assure everyone that the mushrooms from the garden would not be used in the kitchen. The Queen would not be prancing around the palace.

Prior to becoming involved in ice art, Anne worked at Madame Tussaud’s and The British Museum creating replicas of famous people. She has a degree in fine arts from the National Art School in Sydney and at the City and Guilds of London Art School. Her father, Juan, who runs a florist shop in Sydney, Australia, flew in to Fairbanks to help with the sculpture.

Ice Alaska, the organization supporting the ice art competition in Fairbanks, includes brief bios on most of the carvers. Some, like Anne, are art school graduates. Others came by their profession by less direct routes. For example, Chris Foltz, one of the carvers of Soul Catcher, is executive chef at the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute. Ice sculptures are often on display at fancy group dinners such as those found on cruise ship. In these cases, ice carving skills are a plus for chefs. Both of the artists for Spark come from culinary backgrounds. Tajana Rauker from Croatia studied culinary arts in Krk, Croatia. Her partner in carving Spark, Ted Wakar, is an executive chef at Ford Motor Company.

Day time view of ice sculpture "Soul Catcher" at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska

The ice art sculpture “Soul Collector” was still being worked on. A tarp had been put up to protect it from the sun.

Ice art sculpture "Soul Collector" lit up at night at the 2016 World Ice Art Championshipsin Fairbanks, Alaska.

“Soul Collector” at night.

Close up of ice sculpture "Soul Collector" at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships.

A night-time close up.

"The Spark" ice sculpture at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships

This sculpture, “The Spark,” was carved by two people with culinary training.

The Spark ice art sculpture at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships at Fairbanks, Alaska

“The Spark” at night with an ice block “?” held by ‘ice tongs’ in the heart. Translate: Is this the One?

Ice carving artists are often involved with related art activities such as wood carving. Ben Firth, who along with his brother Barnabas, was responsible for carving Conflict, also carves antlers, sculpts in bronze, and works in pencil and watercolors. His art is sold out of the family’s art studio in Anchor Point, Alaska. Ivan Loktyukhin, is another multi-talented artist, who has won numerous prizes for his wood carving and metal sculptures as well as ice art. Ivan holds a degree in Architectural Design from the Russian Pacific National University. Along with Vadim Polin, Ivan was responsible for creating Yahoo!

"Nature of Conflict" ice art sculpture at 2016 World Ice Art Championships held in Fairbanks, Alaska.

A close up of the “Nature of Conflict” ice sculpture during the day.

"Nature of Conflict" ice art sculpture at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships.

And at night. A chess game was in progress at the bottom.

Ice Sculpture "Yahoo" at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska.

“Yahoo!” seemed to be an appropriate title for this unfinished ice sculpture of a woman riding her ostrich. (I showed her missing legs in my last blog.)

Yahoo! ice carving sculpture at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska..

And here she is at night, going all out with legs attached!

Head of ostrich included in the ice art sculpture "Yahoo!" show at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships.

I couldn’t resist this close up of the ostrich’s head.

Another artist who caught my attention was Lkhagvadorj Dorjsuren (AKA George) who was the first person from Mongolia to carve ice. He won his first contest in Finland where no one spoke his language. One of his dreams is to start a competition in Mongolia that would draw tourists. Sign me up! He and his partner Enkh-Erdene Ganbataar, (aka Eggi) created the rather humorously named sculpture AAAHH BaaMMM Beee Beeem. (Yeah, I don’t have a clue, either.) George, working with Altankhuu Khishigdalai, also helped create The Beginning of Time.

"AAAHH BaaMMM Beee Beeem" ice art sculpture at 2016 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska.

AAAHH BaaMMM Beee Beeem during the day…

A"AAHH BaaMMM Beee Beeem" ice sculpture during the night of judging at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships.

And at night.

"The Beginning of Time" ice art sculpture ice art sculpture at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships

George and Altankhuu from Mongolia working on “The Beginning of Time.”

The Beginning of Time ice carving sculpture at the 2016 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska.

“The Beginning of Time” shown at night, my last photo for this post.

I have only been able to cover a few of the participating artists. If you are interested in learning more about these artists or others involved check out the Ice-Alaska website. NEXT BLOG: I will finish up my blogs on the world ice art competition.

30 comments on “The 2016 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska… Part II: The Artists

    • Sorry for this very late reply, Gerard. This comment was hiding deep down in the bowels of WordPress. Temperatures ranged from around five degrees Fahrenheit to up around 32 (freezing). I’ve been in Fairbanks at a minus 30! The small pond next to the carving site produces some of the clearest ice in the world. It is one of the major reasons that the world championships are held there. –Curt

  1. Had to check out the Mongolian ice carvers after your comment on my Mongolia post – fascinating! “The Beginning of Time” is very cool – I wonder how they make that ball seem to float?!

    • A whole new world of art, Lex. One of the Mongolian ice carvers said that his reason for carving was to bring people to Mongolia. I was fascinated to watch them work. They have quite a set of specialty tools.The ice comes from a pond right next to the show. It is crystal clear.
      It was interesting that many of the carvers first learned their art as chefs, doing small carvings for banquets and on cruise ships. –Curt

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