Art of Extinction: UT Alum Exhibits Life-Size Dinosaur Replica in Austin


During his years as an art student at UT, Jules Buck Jones, MFA ’08, often found himself in the company of pre-historic monsters. He’d regularly head over to the basement of the Texas Memorial Museum where the dinosaurs were kept, marveling most at the skeleton and history of one specific creature: the Onion Creek mosasaur.

Many people might recognize the mosasaur as the giant sea creature that shoots out of the water and ends the chaos in 2015’s Jurassic World, but Jones’ pal was an Austin native. The Onion Creek mosasaur—so-named because it was found in the banks of Onion Creek in 1934—is 30 feet long and more than 60 million years old. As a testament to Jones’ admiration for the mosasaur, he created a glow-in-the-dark, life-sized replica of the monster that once swam through the oceans that covered Central Texas. It’s on display for the Waller Creek Conservancy’s third-annual Creek Show, ending November 19.

“I’m continuously inspired by and enthralled with elements of the natural world,” Jones says. “When I was asked to be part of Creek Show, I thought every creek in town should have its own mosasaur.”

Jone sculpted his 40-foot-long creation, titled “Invisible and Absolute,” out of large blocks of foam he bought on Craigslist around seven years ago, waiting for inspiration to strike. Within in a month, he finished the mosasaur, covering it with Line-X (material used for lining truck beds) and adding a coat of glow-in-the-dark paint. The mosasaur looms over passersby, illuminated by blacklights that line the Creek Show pathway.

Jones’ work is just one of five pieces of art installed throughout the Creek Show, which is meant to create awareness of the importance of Waller Creek’s “transformation for Austin’s social, cultural, and ecological future.” Other installations include assistant architecture professor Kory Bieg’s “The Creek Zipper,” which is a series of lit-up interconnected units that form a zipper-like strand and is meant to depict the ebb and flow of water. “Deep Curiosity,” co-created by Wilson Hanks, MAr 2013, is a 50-foot-diameter arch that reaches out of the water and is lined with LED lights that change color and pattern.

Jones says he wanted to create something pre-historical in the natural setting of Waller Creek, beset by the modernization of Austin. He regularly thinks about ecological evolution and is terrified by the idea of extinction—a sentiment he hoped to capture through his Waller Creek mosasaur.

“The question I want to pose is this,” he says. “Is it scarier to be afraid of the monster itself—or should we be afraid of no more monsters?”

Photo by Danielle Lopez


Tags: , , ,


No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment