Earthwork Artist Stan Herd
Takes on New York City
Pines' marketing team arrived on the site and took this picture.
Stan lines up Pines' marketing team and tells them how they can help.[/caption] The ornery earthwork artist's creation on New York City’s west side teetered on the brink of failure last month. Father Time and Mother Nature—two of Herd’s constant enemies—conspired to sabotage the Lawrence artist’s latest creation. Chilly winds signaled impending frost and death to the thousands of plants Herd cultivated to create the image of a country landscape. Herd and a small band of assistants—including representatives of Pines Wheat Grass and two homeless men who camped in a nearby tunnel—struggled to convince flowers, fruits and vegetables to bloom in concert.
The Earthwork Artist
First Visualized the Design
“Until about two weeks ago, it was a failed image in my mind,” Herd said in an interview Tuesday. “The produce that I put in early in the year were able to bear fruit but then faded,” Herd said. “The tree would be working beautifully, and then as I was working on another area, it would fade. It was a constant struggle.” Money was running out as Herd and his assistants cradled and coaxed the makeshift garden. Finally, the crops cooperated and hit their fall peak. “It’s a fundamental battle with nature that is at the heart of the art process, of my work,” Herd said. “I’m just really pleased that I was able to achieve what I consider a successful image.”
For Stan, a tractor is a paint brush.
Stan discusses project with a television news crew.
Railroad Yard Becomes the
More than 5,000 plants make up “Countryside,” the rural image planted in the debris-strewn Pennsylvania Railroad yards owned by developer Donald Trump. That's because Herd planted squash, watermelons, cucumbers, impatiens, mums, wheat and soybeans, to mention a few plant varieties. The artist also imported 200 tons of topsoil, 20 tons of rock and 1,000 paving stones for the project. The interplay between the plants, soil and stone completes the scene of a lazy tree looming over rolling fields and a blue sky. “Finally I feel I have an image I am happy with,” Herd said. “I’m doing it on one acre, so detail is paramount. Everything I did out there was noticeable.”
Earthwork Artist's Canvas
Grueling Travel Required
Herd has made 26 round trip flights between Kansas City and New York since the project began five months ago. As money for the Trump piece threatened to run out this summer, Herd took on two local projects to fund “Countryside.” Farmland Industries asked Herd to create a crop art image of the company’s logo for an upcoming TV commercial. WDAF-TV Newschannel 4 turned to the artist for a five-acre sculpture of its logo. “I’m back to that same dilemma. I want to do my art, but I sometimes need to have the commercial projects to work on,” Herd said. The Farmland logo takes up 12 square acres on the L.J. Milleret & Son Farm in Linwood. Created with corn, rye and wheat, the logo will appear at the beginning and end of a Farmland commercial to air through the Midwest in February.
for Earthwork Artist
Other Projects by
Stan Herd, the Earthwork Artist
Herd sculpted the Newschannel 4 logo in a soybean field owned by B.A. Skeet between Lawrence and Eudora. The 5-acre piece appears on the station’s on-air promotions. “My doing the Farmland project gave me money at a critical time. Otherwise, the New York project would have come to a halt,” Herd said. “Then finances became so tight I agreed to do the channel 4 thing.” Herd sank more than $50,000 of his own money into the New York project and received assistance from New York contractors and a handful of corporations, including Pines International of Lawrence. Trump licensed the site to Herd this spring without any promise of funding. The artist said he thought his unusual proposal—”I wasn’t asking for money”—helped seal the deal with Trump representatives for creating “Countryside”. This view shows the completed "Countryside Earthwork Project: