“A number of years ago I was happily presented with an opportunity to fund the gift of a major art piece at Washington State University. The goal was to honor my parents who were both huge fans and WSU alums as well…
The sculpture was a part of a larger project to renovate and rebuild our football stadium. The location was center campus adjacent to the stadium and major traffic street crossing campus. We needed to identify an artist who was prepared to understand how important this new symbol of our traditions and history would be. After a national search for just that right artist we selected Mike Fields. He began the process of research, imagination and design all the time working closely with our oversight committee.
“Cougar Pride” was unveiled before a crowd of several thousand Cougs and dedicated by Washington’s then sitting Governor approximately one year later. Almost immediately the incredible bronze became one of the university’s most iconic symbols…and most photographed locations. This project was a labor of love by everyone involved. Mike’s cooperative spirit and incredible skill helped us to achieve our goal. He is an amazing talent and a pleasure to work with.”
As chancellor of Johnson & Wales University, First Lady Kathleen Harney and I have had the privilege of working with artist Mike Fields over the past year. The university commissioned Mike to create a statue of a wildcat, the university’s mascot, to be installed at all four of our campuses. Mike is an incredibly determined and focused artist, and his dedication to his passion and career has resulted in a stunning bronze sculpture that has reached far beyond what we imagined…
Not only is Mike a talented artist, he possesses business skills that have endeared him to those at the university who have joined us in the Wildcat statue project. In particular, Mike:
• Has an incredible eye for detail, not just aesthetically, but from a business perspective as well;
• Met deadlines quite easily;
• Communicated well and consistently;
• Displayed a high level of professionalism throughout the project;
• Treated every JWU employee with whom he worked with respect and patience; and
• Created a high-quality, stunning product that is admired by everyone on our campus.
Mike is unique as he is extraordinarily creative and talented artistically, yet he understands client relationsand efficiency. From the very beginning, we knew Mike was the right choice as he listened, questioned us and worked hard to fully grasp our vision. As a result, he was infinitely successful in capturing our wants and needs in the Wildcat. It is without a doubt that this Wildcat is ours – the result of a true team effort between Mike and the university.
In our current strategic plan – 2017: The Centennial Plan – Johnson & Wales University has expressed our commitment to enhancing the experience of our students, from investing more in our athletics programs to ramping up our “school spirit.” In the short time the Wildcat has been installed at our Providence Campus, it has already created an incredible buzz amongst our students, faculty and staff, who are truly excited by its presence. We look forward to continuing our work with Mike to place the remaining sculptures on our other campuses, and would highly recommend him to others looking for an artist who can understand and effectively translate the needs and desires of others.
John J. Bowenn ’77
Washington State University just completed a renovation of our own football stadium. To celebrate the renovation, we wanted to commission an artist to produce a “life-like” bronze representation of a cougar, which is our mascot. We completed an exhaustive nation- wide search to find an artist who could emulate and invoke the emotions of being a “WSU Cougar” to all of our students and alumni. During this process, it became evident that Mike Fields was “top of the class” in this regard and thus commissioned him to complete this very important project…
Mike exceeded our expectations with the creation of “Cougar Pride”. The statue is located in our plaza adjacent to the stadium and has become the most prominent gathering place for our alumni and students. The project came in under budget, on time and the product was simply outstanding. As important, Mr. Fields was extremely professional, attentive to detail and a joy to work with. They spent hundreds of hours researching to make sure that they captured the exact look and feel that we envisioned in our bronze sculpture.
Mr. Fields also created a way for “Cougar Pride” to continue to give back to WSU with the creation and sale of the replicas of the monument. The sale of the replicas has proved to be extremely successful and has further ingrained the “Cougar Pride” monument in hearts and souls of our fans, as well as, generated much needed revenue for our program.
Again, it is without hesitation that I would like to recommend Mike as the artist for your project. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you would like to discuss their work in greater detail.
John Johnson Senior Associate Director of Athletics
Please review and provide feedback. Please try to ignore markings (spots) on cats and only pay attention to composition – the sculpture will be black.
My goal is to create, and present, the panther in a contemporary way. My emphasis will be on accuracy of form and realism, but executed in a contemporary presentation that is dynamic, engaging, elegant and modern.
Deep black, possibly with subtle spots via texture, patina or matte and gloss clear coat
Custom made by an ocularist
The design concepts can be made aggressive, intense or regal. Some concepts are more limited.
The Panther is not a distinct species itself but is the general name used to refer to any black coloured feline of the Big Cat family, most notably Leopards and Jaguars.
The jaguar is stockier and more muscular than the leopard, with a compact body, a broader head and powerful jaws. The jaguar’s tail is also generally shorter than the leopard’s tail. The overall look of the jaguar is more powerful and almost dog like. The jaguar might be the best choice for an aggressive appearance and a composition that emphasizes strength and hides the body. The squattier body type, due to shorter legs, (proportionally) does not make it look as elegant in a standing or stalking posture.
Leopards have sleeker bodies, more refined heads and longer tails, leading to an overall leaner, more graceful appearance. A leopard would be a better choice, specifically for a design like The Descent or a pose that celebrates the overall body and design.
These will be updated once I am selected