Photo: Kevin Stone metal sculptor
The mystery of who is behind a 50-foot-long, 35-foot-tall metal Tyrannosaurus Rex sculpture arriving in Penticton has been solved.
Metal sculptor Kevin Stone worked diligently on making the enormous dinosaur sculpture, which will be on display in a private property overlooking the lake in a highly visible location on the Naramata Shoal.
Who exactly had ordered this was previously a secret, but this week Castanet spoke to the man behind the vision. Frank Schilling, a Canadian Internet investor who has found success and wealth in domain name registration, lives part-time in Penticton and the Cayman Islands.
âI was just a broke Canadian kid who didn’t know what he wanted to do. I ended up starting an internet business and it went pretty well, so I moved overseas to the Cayman Islands about 20 years ago. I just sold my business and I have a house that I have in Penticton that I wanted to do something cool with, âsays Schilling.
Schilling bought his first home in Penticton next to his childhood best friend on Lower Bench Road, then bought his friend’s large neighboring property when it became too difficult to maintain. Schilling had thought he was losing his original home in a contentious divorce and still wanted a place in the area, but his ex-wife canceled the deal.
âSo now I’m stuck, but luckily stuck, with both properties,â Schilling laughs.
With two properties now, Schilling finds unique things to do with them and wants to be able to share them with the community and visitors.
âThe estate has a beautiful park behind these gates, there is a huge rolling lawn. It’s probably the best park in town, so I thought, I need to do something here. I have to do something original and something cool, like maybe I could make a boutique inn, or maybe I could combine properties and make a winery. I wish I had this really cool stuff. I want to try to do a giant zipline from the back, all around the perimeter of the property, to the lake. Like a real commercial style zip line, âsays Schilling.
In addition to the zipline, Schilling bought the 50-foot-long T-Rex to reside in his home.
âMy parents gave me a dinosaur coloring book when I was young, because they couldn’t be there all the time while they were working, so I colored my dinosaurs, and one of them ‘them were really pretty when I was done, and I was a bit obsessed with it. As I get a little older I now see dinosaurs in pop culture, or a mural of a dinosaur and I stop one more minute because it just brings me back to the dinosaurs in my coloring book, âSchilling explained.
âI’m a car collector and an acquaintance of mine is a car collector, and I saw him, and he had a piece of art that I really liked. It was a big chrome eagle. I gave it to him. asked about it, and I found the artist, Kevin Stone, and asked him what he was working on. I wanted to see what else he was doing, not thinking about the dinosaur at the time, just think about what other kind of art he’s doing, âsays Schilling.
Stone was currently working on a dragon sculpture, from the Game of Thrones series, which inspired Schilling.
âThe dragon wasn’t really my cup of tea, so I asked him if he could make a T-Rex in a mirror polish,â Schilling explains.
âThere were also other dinosaurs in my coloring book. I would like to make a Stegosaurus with the spikes on the back, and I would like to make a gigantic Brontosaurus. It would be a giant dinosaur, but we have to look and see how their weight and balance would work. It’s a huge project, even for Kevin. It will take years of his life. Don’t get too excited if he doesn’t get together, but we’ll see with this dinosaur, and so far so good!
The best way to display the dinosaur is still being decided by Schilling and Stone.
âIt will be very impressive. We have some ideas. One is to put it right on the edge of the riverbank right next to the KVR, on the high side of the cliff, and the other is that we put it near Lower Bench Road, so when you turn around the corner on Tupper Ave , and you if you’re on a wine tour or something, you’ll see this giant chrome dinosaur lit up with all those LEDs sitting on a pedestal up there. I can’t be the only one who wants to see a giant chrome dinosaur. I am obsessed with it, I love it. said Schilling, laughing.
Although he was inspired from an early age, Schilling says it’s a much bigger project than him.
âWe are looking to create something big that people see and that attracts them. I thought all this land I got up there, I’m just going to turn into a park when I’m done with that. I’ll live with it now in this lifetime, but when I’m done I’ll turn the entire Lower Bench site into a park for the community. I love this property, it is so beautiful, âsays Schilling.
He said he chose his property in Penticton over his home in the Cayman Islands for the facility because he felt it was a better fit.
âPenticton is a quirky little town and I hope it inspires others to create larger art installations. I’m just a guy who wants to do something cool. Maybe it’ll inspire someone else in town who sees him doing something really cool too … It inspires kids and makes them dream of bigger things, and that’s the reason for be of life, âsays Schilling.
He said he saw it as a worthwhile investment.
âSome people say, ‘You can give all that money to charity,’ and so do I, but maybe someone sees a work of art and it inspires them. … you can give a man half a million dollars, and he can piss on it, or you can build a piece of art for half a million dollars, and it gives back a little something to the community , each day .”
Schilling hopes the room, and any others he can add to the property as well as the potential zip line, will inspire other members of the community to do something creative and quirky as well.
âI like Penticton because I see it’s not as conservative as Kelowna. There’s a lot more youth and optimism. It’s going to keep getting weirder here with stuff like that. just a little project we’re working on. I’m just trying to do something cool, and it’ll be cool. And once we do that, we’ll figure out what to do next. Maybe a car collection. ” I’m a car collector too, and I find when you park a really cool car on the road, it turns people on. I love that, and cars inspire me. See a chrome dinosaur, I’m inspired. like it makes you dream. It’s a virtuous circle. It’s ambitious. It’s just energy and it’s good energy and good juju, “says Schilling.
While the dinosaur’s exact arrival date is still unknown, you can follow its progress on Instagram at @metal_sculptor_kevin_stone.
âIt’s really cool. You will see it from everywhere. It will be really impressive,â says Schilling.