by Cody S. Decker
LOUISVILLE, KY (October 27, 2015) – For the past five years, GonzoFest Louisville has worked to honor and celebrate the life of Louisville’s own Hunter S. Thompson, but the time has come to take things to the next level. GonzoFest Louisville organizers are working to create, fund, and permanently place a life-size bronze statue of Hunter S. Thompson in his hometown of Louisville, KY.
Thousands attended GonzoFest Louisville this past April at the Big Four Bridge Lawn to celebrate Hunter and his legacy. Last Friday, Hunter fans gathered at WorK Architecture + Design to kickoff the fundraising campaign. Now the GonzoFest Louisville team is calling on Hunter fans around the world, especially those in Louisville, KY, to help preserve Hunter’s legacy by making a donation to their gofundme fundraising campaign.
Hold on to your hind quarters, folks. Louisville has bought the ticket and now we are all taking the ride. Plans have been planned, models have been made and now we’re all here to help take this long overdue honor to the next step. I once heard a fella say, “You ain’t made it til they make a statue of ya big as you are.” I didn’t think much of it at the time, he said it while staggering down the mouthwash aisle looking for his next cocktail. But now I’m starting to kind of see what he was talking about. Hunter “made it” years ago. He didn’t need all of this recognition in his hometown to live the life he did and write the words he wrote. But this seems to bring it all full circle. He left. He saw. He conquered. And now he comes home.
Hunter S. Thompson did the city of Louisville proud. Hell, he did the whole state of Kentucky proud. A bluegrass boy went out and made something of himself. Some people may not agree with that. Seeing the fact that he romped and raised hell all over this “dark and bloody ground” until he was forced to leave with a choice of jail or the military but I guaran-damn-tee that they aren’t here. But just in case I’m wrong and one of them slipped through the cracks and is meandering around amongst us, let’s sniff them out. Let’s pretend to be friends with them, only to gain their trust. Allow them to buy us a drink and chat about what craft beers they’ve tried this week. Then we strike. We back them into a nervous corner and begin to preach the Gonzo Gospel. It’ll do ’em some good.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way….back to business.
I asked Mr. Dennie Humphrey of The Monkey Wrench for a thought on this whole ordeal and his words were, “Man, it’s just kinda crazy to be a part of something that started as an idea for honoring Hunter in the parking lot of Monkey Wrench but in no time has turned into a movement. It’s obvious now that keeping Louisville Gonzo has no end or limits.” Ain’t that the truth? With GonzoFest growing bigger and better each year, we aren’t only keeping Louisville Gonzo, we’re gaining Gonzo. Hell, gaining enough to even get the mayor on board with creating a statue of HST and placing it in the city where Gonzo began.
I also touched base with Matt Weir, the hands that are molding this vision into reality. I asked him for a quote on this project and his response made it clear to me why he is the perfect man for this particular job. He said, “Creating this sculpture work is a big deal, it’s difficult, my job is not easy. In a way I have to walk in his shoes just to prepare myself to consider what might best recognize Hunter and his works and his legacy. It’s a good fear though, healthy, the kind Hunter spoke about, the kind you have to kill. The only kind worth living for in a way. What I especially appreciate about this project though is that I truly respect Hunter and his life and work. As an artist what I create as an expression of my work is typically not an individual you might recognize, or an individual at all, it’s purpose is different and meaningful, hopefully worth my and your time in addition to all the materials and energy it took to make the damn thing, or experience or whatever it might be. There’s no time left for waste in my opinion. Although, an artist has to waste I’ve found. I suppose we all do now, we all have the brain capacity to make that make sense day in day out. Nevertheless, Hunter is an artwork for me, he’s not a commission, this is my work and I intend to do it the service my work and any great work of art worth existing on this planet deserves.” There’s a hell of a lot of passion behind this project.
The jig is up! Louisville’s outlaw native son is claiming his home turf once again.
The statue was commissioned as the result of a series of suggestions written by Kentucky poet Ron Whitehead on how Louisville should honor Hunter S. Thompson. Matthew Weir, a Louisville native and master sculptor, was commissioned to create the statue.
“The statue of author and Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson distills the life and popular identity of the man to the writer’s visionary self,” says sculptor Matt Weir.
“In particular, I have determined Hunter’s iconic campaign defeat for Sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado as the visual fulcrum on which to depict and balance Hunter’s complex and contentious identity,” says Weir.
For more information visit GonzoFest Louisville’s website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make a donation to the statue, visit www.gofundme.com/HuntersStatueLou.