Famous Chewelah artist David Govedare takes on his next big project: putting a Sasquatch on 49 Degrees North

(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)

Heavy metal bands have nothing on Forest and David Govedare. Here they do some welding on the Sasquatch sculpture intended for 49 Degrees North. (Courtesy photo)

Nine-feet tall, a Pacific Northwest legend is coming to Chewelah Peak…

Famous sculptor and artist David Govedare feels areas like Chewelah are unique. North of us is wild Canadian timberland, the Yukon and then the Arctic Circle. With vast land and wilderness surrounding us, who is to say a creature like Sasquatch doesn’t exist?

“I follow credible evidence around the world of various Sasquatch sightings,” Govedare, a Chewelah resident, said. “There seems to be real evidence of a species around the world. It seems they’re built as beings that can run and truly live and exist in the same kind of environment we live and play in.”

The upright walking, ape-like creature that has a whole festival dedicated to him in Chewelah has been a North American folktale and in Native American traditional stories for centuries. But Bigfoot is the only folktale to have glimpses on videos, photos and footprints.

David Govedare makes some plasma cuts on the nine-foot Sasquatch sculpture at his Great Wheel studio. (Courtesy photo)

So Govedare is raising funds and taking on a year-long project to bring Sasquatch to us. He is currently fabricating a nine-foot-tall sculpture of Sasquatch out of corten steel that will sit on top of the 49 Degrees North ski hill and greet skiers with the feeling of a realistic sighting.

Much like the creature himself, he will just appear up at the ski hill, just like you’d come across him in the woods.

“I know what the vision is and I won’t be satisfied with anything less than when that peach fuzz on your arm rising for the first time when you see it and that feeling that you’ve seen Sasquatch,” he said.

But it won’t be a scary encounter. Govedare sees Sasquatch as a friendly creature, one with a big smile – something that he will put into the culture and powdercoat the teeth to give it added realism and friendliness.

“Sasquatch is happy as a species,” he said. “It’s a very loving being, so I want to portray him as that kind of character. You’re going to want to go up to him and say ‘finally, I get to walk up to a Sasquatch’ and give him a hug.”

Govedare’s art always has a living quality to it. He takes in to consideration the setting, the lighting, how it looks to the person and creates moments with structures that don’t move. It’s not an easy feat, but anyone who has been to the runners in Spokane during dusk or has seen the horses in Vantage at the right time of day knows just how striking and alive Govedare can make his still art feel.

This local piece will be a family journey as Govedare will be working with his son Forest on the project, along with having Chewelah’s Tracy Ling work on the gemstone orgone eyes to give Sasquatch life-like qualities. Mixing resin with ground-up gemstones gives the eyeballs a gold or yellow tint within a dark black twinkling depth.

Govedare said when he first envisioned it and came up with his first sketch, that proved to be the final guide for the fabrication.

“The first drawing was it; it looked like it just came to me like I was seeing Sasquatch out in the woods,” he said.

“John Eminger of 49 Degrees North and I talked about it for a number of years about how cool it would be to have a mythical Sasquatch up on the hill so he approved of being a sponsor,” Govedare said.

49 Degrees North Ski Resort became a gold sponsor ($15k) while Govedare has also gotten bronze sponsors ($5k) from Rich Richmond Logging, Vaagen Bros. Lumber and the family of Russ Vaagen, along with CDA Metals in Spokane. A silver sponsorship is $10k.

David Govedare’s sketch of “Sasquatch.” (Courtesy photo)

“I am also looking for local businesses or families that use the mountain and would love to see their name on the base of the sculpture,” Govedare said. Each sponsor will get a print of the Sasquatch print. People interested in sponsoring the project can call Govedare at 935-6108.

Money raised so far in sponsorships has launched the fabrication of Sasquatch at the Great Wheel Studio shop. Govedare is already working on many lengths of “hair” out of steel for the sculpture. It will weigh well over 1000 pounds and sit on a rocky outcropping that will have the name of sponsors, but he also wants to keep the piece mobile so it can be brought down for Chewelah events like Chataqua.

“For us to have a Sasquatch in our community ski hill, a great playground, will be wonderful for the community,” he said.

Govedare’s art is all around the country and he has several famous public pieces including the Bloomsday runners and the horses at Vantage.

“I have to focus on the highest visual impact of creating life, meaning and impression with a piece that can give back to a viewer,” he said. “This will be iconic. If it gets me excited, I think it will get other people excited.”

The metal will come from CDA metals, the same company that supplied him with the metal for the Bloomsday runners and the horses.

Govedare hasn’t come up with a name quite yet, but admits when it comes to art, creators usually come up with some kind of good-natured nickname for their pieces. If there’s one creature that’s good for nicknames, a Sasquatch is one of them.

So if a flurry of Bigfoot sightings begin to hit Chewelah, maybe that is when everybody will realize that Govedare’s work of art is finally done.