In the Studio

24-foot Puppet Honoring Local Artist Charles Rockey

A little about the project

My name is Sofia Hernandez Crade, and I am a studio multimedia artist based out of Colorado Springs and I am ecstatic to be creating a 24 foot puppet! My colossal project weaves together elements of nearby Manitou Springs’ rich artistic culture, by portraying one of my biggest artistic role models, the beloved, recently departed, local legend, Charles Rockey. I remember peering into the windows of his art studio as a young girl, completely spellbound, fascinated by his ingenuity and creative vision and knowing that when I grew up, I wanted to be a maker like him.

Manitou Springs, Colorado, has long been known as a creative mecca and Rockey embodied the spirit of fantastical whimsy and play, both in his work and as a cornerstone of the community.

Rockey was a man of many talents, known for his colorful impressionistic paintings of his beloved Manitou, his whimsical sculptures, as well as his magical fairytale inspired drawings. His work transcends medium and genre, so whether you are pulled more towards Monet or Tolkien you were sure to be a fan. He was generous of heart and mind, always encouraging the next generation to follow their pursuits with passion and kindness.

I am currently sculpting a giant Charles Rockey puppet who will debut at the 31st, annual Manitou Springs Carnivale parade! He will be surrounded by his fans, dressed as his works of art, brought to life. Holding frames, his animated masterpieces will dance around the artist as we stroll down the beautiful streets of his mountain village and celebrate with the artistic community he helped to shape.

This puppet measures about 24 feet tall (although he is forced to sit due to pesky traffic lights) and has been a huge undertaking. I have constructed him the last month and a half using paper mache, sculpting compound, plaster, paint, wigs, horse hair, glue, wood, wire, screws, bolts dowels, fabric and much more. I have devoted hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars towards this massive work. I see this project as a love letter to the community that has raised me. I have been deeply touched by the generous support flooding in. Dozens of friends and family have donated via GoFundMe and I have been blessed to partner with a local rental company who is donating heavy equipment that he will be built onto. Friends have lent their experience in assisting me with the engineering, and carpentry experience, as well as providing transit. This outpouring of support has only reinforced my belief in the great need for community art, especially in times of hardship and division.

My hope is that this enormous artist traveling alongside his life’s creations will inspire spectators to fully immerse themselves in the unexpected and whimsical, and help remind us all, children young and old, to never stop dreaming. Let’s bring magic to our streets and dance the day away with a sense of awe!

Media Features:

Honoring my Brother, Demitri

Before sunrise on Oct. 11, my life was forced to a standstill when my mom called me in a panic to tell me that my little brother, 19-year-old Demitri Crockett, had been shot and killed by a still-unidentified assailant the evening before.

The last thing that I said before he (went home) was, “If you get scared, just walk up the hill and knock on my door and I’ll protect you.”

Colorado Springs Storm Drain Art Project

It was wonderful working with the city of Colorado Springs for the new Storm Drain Art Project in collaboration with the Brewshed Alliance in celebration of Arts Month!

We had a blast installing these public art pieces in this city I so love! I was honored to be chosen by the city to help raise awareness to the importance of keeping our precious waters clean for sustaining all our diverse lifeforms great and small!

Sofia is honored to be represented by:

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