Film Strip USA

How Six Grew to Four

Sometimes my small bronzes are so exciting to me, that I want to see them made into huge sculptures.

Six to grow was one of those pieces. After studying the small sculpture, I hired a welder, told him what I had in mind, and we discussed the size it would eventually become. We purchased several large sheets of 14 gauge half hard red brass and went to work. We worked in my backyard using templates made of heavy duty butcher paper. Each part was cut from the brass; folded, bent and tacked together using my gas welder. Fortunately, the helper had very strong hands and arms. While I orchestrated, he performed magic with the brass pieces. 

 It took about two weeks to complete the welding, and his job was finished. I sprayed ferric nitrate liquid chemical on the surface until it became the color that spoke to me. Washing the surface with water, I reheated the sculpture and painted a hard carnauba wax on the surface. When the wax had cooled, I buffed. 

The piece stood eight feet high and I put it into a two-woman show in a bank in Beverly Hills. The other woman in the show was Sister Mary Corita, a well-known seragraph artist. We had many successful sales and when the show was over, I was called to come and collect my large eight foot piece.

With no thought in mind, I went to collect the pieces without a truck. After loading the small pieces in my car I was stumped about the large piece. I looked the piece over and realized it was sitting on a very low wooden board with wheels and had a strong pulling rope. A light bulb went on in my head, and I remembered that at the corner of Wilshire Blvd and Beverly Drive, in the heart of Beverly Hills, stood a large Union Bank building. So, I decided to put my sculpture in the gutter of Wilshire Blvd. and pull it down to Beverly Drive. I was about a mile away,near Santa Monica Blvd. With no other thought in mind, completely oblivious to traffic and people, I proudly marched down the gutter to the Union Bank. Parking my sculpture in the gutter, I went inside the bank, spoke to the head honcho about leaving it on display for a while. They came out, officially inspected the sculpture and nodded approval. Shaking hands, smiling and feeling pleased with myself, I left my name and phone number for them to contact me when they needed the space. 

About four months later, a bank person called with the statement that the sculptures space was needed. Well, if my ploy worked the first time, I could cross the street to a Glendale Federal Savings and Loan Bank and go through the same routine. Which I did, successfully. A few months later, the Glendale Federal Savings people called and asked if they could purchase the sculpture.

Hallelujah! Bringing a truck I mounted a pedestal under the sculpture and placed in its permanent home in Riverside, California. 

Me Too

The urgency to create this sculpture was so powerful, that I took my original wax work to a family dinner party and worked on it there.

Having enjoyed my boys when they were babies, I remembered how they would come and hug us around the legs when Jack and I would hug. The image was so powerful in my mind and heart, that I became obsessed to execute this particular design on a small scale. This particular sculpture is one that has influenced so much of my other works because it expresses some of my deepest feelings. Hugging has always been my way of expressing myself.

I received a phone call from the the Los Angeles County Museum about a gentleman who wished to work with an American sculptor.  I was visited by Gaspar Gasparian and his interpreter.  We set an evening date with Archie's father, Pop Altounian and he became our interpreter.  Gaspar and Yerevant Gojobashian came to my home wearing Zoot suits with neon colored ties looking like something out of the early forties movies.  

We began the enlargement of "Me Too" and it was a hoot.  I sent the men to pick up clay that I was familiar with and I needed about 500 pounds. The clay factory people called and told me about a problem.  The men were driving a Volkswagen bug and the car would not hold all the clay and both men.  The store was 35 miles away from my house so they had to make two trips to get everything done. When the clay model was completed they requested that I buy gips.  I put them into my car, drove them to a lumber yard and said,"please find the gyps.  They led me to sacks of Gypsum and we were all grins.

I found that even though we couldn't communicate in English, we could work together as sculptors.  We made plaster molds against the clay, poured concrete into the plaster molds then hammered annealed copper around each section of solid concrete. Then all the pieces are welded together. This technique is called copper repoussé.
Later, I recreated a bronze casting of this piece. It can be seen in front of the main Glendale Public Library in California. 

I  made two smaller bronze versions both 5'6" high. One of those sculptures is in front of Mayo Clinic in Austin, Minnesota. When Mayo doctors retire, maquettes are presented to each doctor and the major benefactors of the hospital. 

14' x 10' x 4'

 Silver

Tornado 

On March 11, 1996 The city of Prescott, Arizona dedicated "Silver Tornado".  A cast stainless steel bucking bull, standing 1O feet tall, stretching 14 feet long and weighing 4 thousand pounds. This large stainless steel casting of a bucking bull is the only one of its kind in the world. It is Krol's 50th monumental sculpture in a public environment. Natalie's idea to create a sculpture of a bucking bull began taking shape as she watched the awesome power of the rodeo bulls in Prescott, Arizona, known as the "Home of The World's Oldest Rodeo". Natalie Krol is a unique artist who exemplifies the best and most extraordinary characteristics of modern sculptors.  She pioneered the casting of stainless steel as a fine art form. The fifty cast pieces of "Silver Tornado" were welded together from the inside, then cosmetically welded on the outside, chased and glass beaded. Ms. Krol is an internationally known sculptor.  One of her outdoor art works, in Culver City, California, is known as "Film Strip U.S.A." A welded stainless steel sculpture, 32 feet long, 18 feet high and weighing 7 tons, recognized by Dr. Marcus Epps, of the Smithsonian Institution, as an important form of contemporary American art.

Krol's other heroic sculptures are in front of the City Hall in Kaizuka, Japan and throughout Southern California.

                   It is a really big bull!                                                      Louise Lifka, Public Relations

B-136   It's About Love

It was going to be my "Swan Song." But, I found that creating is always within me. 

As I watched Alanna kneel down to hug Paisley I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this amazing image. The loving connection took my breath away and immediately I began to visualize the image becoming a piece of sculpture.

At my request, a few weeks later Alanna arrived with Paisley to pose for a series of photos that I could use as my reference point to create this sculpture. Alanna inquired, "do you want us to remove all our clothing before posing?" I said, "No, you may keep your underwear on because I have drawn enough nude bodies to know how they look."

Once the photo session was finished, I contemplated the appropriate size to build the sculpture. During this creative contemplation time, I consulted with two sculptor friends. Diana Simpson loaned me a base board large enough to accommodate my work and some clay tools. Karl Kendall brought additional armature pieces to support the clay child and additional clay smoothing tools. Both Karl and Diana came to my rescue several times. My construction medium was an oil based clay. It never dries out assuring that I could take my sweet time to work on this creation.

While I was sculpting this project, my husband Jack, came into my studio to read all types of literature aloud, and we would have lively discussions after many of the readings. Those times are always precious to me.

T-52 20th Century Samurai

Bronze Bust

20" x 14" x 12"

When I went to Kaizuka, Japan in 1977, to install Friendship's Tie, Yoshio Nakanishi was the contractor for the installation of my sculpture. 

After installing Friendship's Tie in Japan, the following year, Yoshio Nakanishi came with a large contingent of Japanese people from Kaizuka. I created Yoshio's portrait in 1978 when he came to visit his sister city, Culver City in California. 

Mr. Nakanishi had fought against the USA in WWII. He told me, "If I had known how wonderful Americans were, I never would have gone to war."

The negotiations for his portrait were mind-boggling. We needed an interpreter as he spoke no English, and I no Japanese. He requested that we, including my husband, go up to his hotel room to complete the negotiations. There was no paper in the room, so we used a paper bag to write the contract. When the price to be cast as a bronze sculpture was agreed upon, Mr. Nakanishi walked to the corner of his room, turned his back on us and dropped his pants. We were momentarily shocked.

Mr. Nakanishi was wearing long johns and a huge money belt. My husband and I stifled our laughter. He peeled off $100 bills from his money belt, lifted his pants up, and returned to our negotiations. 

He told me at the end of our negotiations, "I am a very homely man, can you make me look better?" 

I replied, "I will do my best."

It probably was the most memorable business transaction that I have ever been part of. I still smile today when I think of the occasion. 

When he came to pose for the sculpture, he left his street shoes outside the front door, and put on slippers. The interpreter was not there to help us. Well, when lunchtime came, I took him to a Japanese restaurant, where the sushi chefs could speak both Japanese and English. We finally were able to have a conversation with the assistance of the workers. Mr. Nakanishi bragged to them that he was the richest man in Kaizuka. He had the only construction company in the city of 45,000 people. 

Serenity

Two tedious years, making weekly appointments with architects, carrying my portfolio, my purse, my slide carousel and a box of slides. I made presentations only to be given a 'Thank you," and "We'll call you." Discouragement was my middle name. 

Finally, the phone rang one day, and an architect invited me to make a presentation for a building being renovated in Pasadena, California. Giddy with anticipation, I went to visit the architect, made my pitch and was told he had a concept in mind. He asked me to make a drawing of criss-crossed pipes. Needless to say, I was not excited. But, it was a paying job, and I was determined to get into the art world any way I could. 

I took his sketch home, went to the junkyard and collected ugly pipes. I laid them out on my studio floor, hating it all the time. I arranged the pipes over and over with no sense of joy.  Dutifully, I presented the ugliest sketch I had ever made to the President and Vice President of Glendale Federal Savings and Loan Bank. 

Bank President Gordon A. Klett looked at my portfolio, then at my shameful drawing, and said, "Natalie, this doesn't look like anything in your portfolio. Please go home and create another design. Come back in two weeks with your new idea."

I went home elated and bypassed the architect. Living at the beach at that time, I thought about sailboats, people and fish for inspiration in my concept.  I presented the sketch at our next meeting. 

The drawing was accepted with great smiles. It was requested that I write a contract, which I present for your viewing here:

Dubnoff School for Educational Therapy

Dr. Barbara Bogen Lovell

Certified teacher in Early Childhood Education

Once there was a playground in a state of disrepair. Flat, dusty, narrow areas, lacking color and life-–a barren place, having only one set of swings, a circular slide, and one functional parallel bar. But this yard was home for a part of each day to many children with urgent needs. When funds became available for a new school building, it was decided that the yard should be an intrinsic part of the total school environment. 

Caring, loving and far-sighted people are the decision-makers at the Dubnoff School. These are the people who wisely chose a very special type of person to create a play-yard, which would emphasize life, freedom and learning and would foster an illusion of space. Mrs. Belle Dubnoff, Director and Mrs. Irene Chambers, Assistant Director of the Dubnoff School, asked sculptor Natalie Krol to undertake planning, designing and full responsibility for a unique playground. Ms. Krol was told that there must be no tunnels or nesting places in which children could retreat or withdraw. Everything had to be open and airy. Swings were discouraged. It was important that the yard equipment help children learn the concepts of: up and down, high and higher, side to side, the idea of left to right, back, front and behind. Also to be emphasized was overcoming fears of height and a fear of crossing from one bench to another. In addition stimuli were needed for tactile sensations—i.e. hardness, softness, toughness, smoothness, warmth, and cold. There was a need for visual stimulation. Could Ms. Krol fulfill all of these needs on a limited budget? Not only could she, but she did! 

Studying the needs of the children and the actual site of the play area Ms. Krol was able to formulate her plans, she had kept in mind that the playground must not only be attractive, but that it must really work for the children in terms of enhancing body development and motor skills, a very important part of the Dubnoff program.

When work was finally ready to start, there was a feeling of enthusiasm, excitement and a sense of dedication not often found on work sites. Ms. Krol felt that the old equipment should be relocated and the grounds bulldozed into sculptured mounds. With the help of Larry Moline, landscape architect, areas began to emerge. Mr. Moline worked with Ms. Krol to create the necessary textural changes.

Concrete, steel, sand, grass, stones, wood, and the use of color (in plants and flowering trees as well as murals along outdoor walls) were lovingly interwoven into the school’s total environment, resulting in a harmonious and delightful tying together of the entire plant. Two abstract families were envisioned to serve various functions. The families were formed, one in concrete and one in steel, using ramps and angles as aids for climbing.

A highly unusual 25 foot circular, sand play area, was designed by Ms. Krol to surround the 8 foot concrete sculpture, “Ring Around The Rosy”, depicting family life. Sculptural holes and angles give this work of art the lure that all specially designed climbing equipment has for children.

But it is different because now the children will be climbing up a mommy’s arm, sitting in the hole in daddy’s tummy, standing side by side with the baby, or climbing from baby sibling to mother to father and finally jumping off. And children are jumping off…children whose previous phobias prevented them from being free!

Also included in this play area were 7 tons of ocean washed stones, personally selected by the artist to be placed so that children could sit, stand, slide, and play on them without the danger of jagged edges.

Around this area, and all the areas that followed, are grass and round, wooden stepping stones, carefully placed so that children may skip along on them with ease.

Ms. Krol feels that by translating the human form into a plaything, she has created a living sculpture. In this, she has succeeded! Norman Gonzales did the concrete work on the school and the concrete sculpture.

The second family sculpture was welded out of steel, with the help of donated labor by Mr. Bill Singlehurst, who also installed all of the steel sculptures. This “London Bridge” sculpture continues the theme of family. Like it’s predecessor, it is abstract, but is painted a bright fuchsia having been incorporated into the vivid color scheme of the school itself. This sculpture stands on grass. Ms. Krol has created massive sculpture with a delicate look allowing space throughout. The narrow corridor sprang to life. A third piece, designed to meet special needs, was a large welded climber, painted in bright colors with numerous body building challenges built in. A tall bar tower has two ropes suspended from the top. One is knotted at pre-measured intervals for ease in climbing. The final piece to go into the yard was again a first, designed by Ms. Krol. A crow’s nest adorns the top of the structure, which is rectangular in form with an internal ladder to climb up and two poles to slide down. The platform on top of the crow’s nest invites much imaginative play.

The final touches to the yard were again unique. Ms. Krol outlined flowers, birds, bees, insects, etc. on the outdoor walls and the staff enthusiastically filled them in, painting the walls with all the colors used inside the new building. The objects are simple and draw many a child’s eye.

Also along these walls, she placed low balancing bars made from I-beams and again, painted in vivid colors. The I-beams are placed at varying heights to encourage children to try one step further. The yard’s environment, due to the design of sculpture, the placement of grass and trees, and the interest in total design and effect, has created an exceptionally inviting and tranquil atmosphere. Teachers at the Dubnoff School were unanimous in saying that this had been the most peaceful and productive summer ever. A great deal of the credit must go to Natalie Krol.

Friendships Tie

The Nichibo girls, Kaizuka Japan's 1964 Olympic Gold Medal Winners in the sport of Volley Ball. As a congratulatory gift for their excellent achievement the girls were presented with a tour throughout the United States of America.  When the girls returned home from their tour they reported to the Kaizuka fathers about the most enthusiastic and gracious treatment they had received especially from the people in Culver city, California.  Kaizuka, then invited Culver City to become sister cities and the rest is history.To cement the friendship Kaizuka presented Culver city with an exquisite meditation garden and provided their own master gardeners to install the garden.  Culver City wished to gift Kaizuka and I was asked to submit a proposal for a sculpture.  The Kaizuka selection committee consisted of twenty-two people.  After I made my presentation twenty-one committee people voted in favor of my concept and one person dissented.  The dissenter said he liked my proposal but believed there should be one dissenting vote for the record.

The next request was for me to show my proposal to the Culver City Council.  I visited the Council, while in session, a week before my presentation was due and found their process to have a short visit for the first go around then the person asking for something needed to come back for a second visit.  I made a forty-five-minute proposal on my first presentation and to my joy it was passed on the first go around.

Stone Carving

A-16 Mother Plus Two 

19" x 15" x 12"

The Los Angeles County Museum hosted a wonderful King Tut Agamemnon exhibit many years ago. As I walked through the show, I was completely mesmerized by a small, delicately carved alabaster head. It was exhibited in a large clear box. I stopped walking and stood in awe in front of the head. It really spoke to me. When I had a chance to catch my breath, I decided to carve stones. 

Pursuing this new passion I attended a stone carving class taught by Dick Frasier, a retired architect.

Before starting the class I purchased a small carving hammer and a large variety of stone carving chisels.

Summer was upon us and as I worked, sitting on a wooden table straddling my stone, looking up at the wall in front of me and re-reading the statement "Just row faster."

Daily you could find me chiseling my first chiampa stone. Stones are rated on a density scale of 1-10, chiampa being one, diamonds being 10. Alabaster is a 3, marble a 4-6 and granite a 7. 

After hammering for many hours, the head of my hammer splayed out over the original size, and the muscles in my lower arm turned into rock. 

Three months of classes passed, and I was ready to go home to start working. My husband built a large, waist-high sandbox, filled with fine sand, plus a small gang of sand bags, I used to move my stones. 

Taking myself very seriously, I purchased an air compressor, a two pound jack hammer, and had special shanks put on some of my carving tools. 

When I purchased a new stone I would study the shape and color, drawing a few sketches that I felt might emerge from the stone. I would select a sketch to create a small two or three inch wax miniature model with the concept that I wanted to bring out of the stone. 

I carved stones for ten years while continuing on with my other sculptures. Soon, my metal sculptures and art exhibits consumed all of my working time and my stone carving days came to an abrupt end.

My Introduction to the Art World

 

I was in the throes of writing children's stories and was determined that I should illustrate my stories. For eight weeks, I went to Joan Carl's to take drawing lessons. Joan and I had much in common, we each had a toddler in tow, and a baby on the way.  A wonderful friendship blossomed with us.  Joan had spent her youth studying art at the Chicago Art Institute. After eight weeks, I said' "I am going to enroll in art school".  While Joan may have silently been offended at my brashness, she joined me at the New School of Art in Los Angeles, California, thus began my five-year stint taking many art classes.

Quickly abandoning the idea of writing children's stories, after going to Art School, I fell totally in love with creating my own art work.

I hate to admit it but my first drawings looked awful. But I persisted and began to make recognizable objects. One student at the art school liked one of my drawings, and bought it for five dollars. I thought that was big money and I had arrived. The truth be known I drew something every day, for five years. The discipline and knowledge that grew from that experience served me well throughout my life.

Oil paints were the medium when I began painting, and the teachers I had would give me projects to paint. This went on for the first three years of my Art School.

I worked as the school's bookkeeper for one year to help pay my tuition. I had no knowledge of bookkeeping, but a friend gave me a crash course and told me what to do.  Alas, the art teachers were drawing out more money than they were bringing in, so at the end of three years, the school bellied up. It was time for me to move along.

One funny story I'd like to share about the school. My children went to preschool across the street from the art school, making it convenient for me. I would go to pick them up at lunch time then head for home. This particular day, my figure drawing class was running late, I left all my art supplies and rushed across the street to get my children. I needed to clean up my materials, so I brought my boys, two and four years old, back with me without thinking about the nude model.

My two-year-old was oblivious, but the four-year-old looked wide-eyed at the model and said, "How come she don't got no clothes on?"

As nonchalantly as possible, I replied, "We're studying her bones".  He circled around the model very slowly, investigating thoroughly, then he announced,

 "I don't see no bones".  I never repeated that error again.

Two years more of studying painting with Zen master, Sueo Serisawa, completed my painting education.  There were sixteen easels in a large painting room, and Sueo held court on a couch, inside a small room. When I had a problem with my painting, I removed it from the easel carried it into the small room to the teacher, stood the painting on the floor to lean against the wall, then took a seat next to Serisawa.

His first words were, "Uh, huh. Uh, huh Uh, huh, what's wrong with the painting?"

My problem answer followed his question.

He then said, "What might you try to make it better?"

I explained what I hoped might help, and he said, "Uh, huh. Uh, huh. Go and try it".

That's how I learned to solve my problems and become secure in my decisions.

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