Steel Sculpture by Joseph Rastovich Chronicles 100-Year History of Tualatin

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Ginger Moshofsky
Oregonian

“Lazy River,” the second of two art installations commemorating Tualatin’s centennial, was dedicated last Friday, Aug. 22, in Tualatin Commons Park.

Created by Joseph Rastovich, the 20-foot high sculpture has a curved shape to represent the Tualatin River.

When Rastovich found out that Tualatin was looking for a sculpture to celebrate the centennial, he had just one week to put a presentation together. The committee was impressed by his vision and design and commissioned him to create the piece.

Rastovich, 22, was raised in Portland surrounded by art; both of his parents are artists. He was unschooled every other year growing up, meaning he would go to school for one year, then spend a year schooling himself on whatever interested him.

At age 12, Rastovich became fascinated with quantum mechanics and learned everything he could on the subject. He fabricated his first steel sculpture at 14.

Rastovich explains what he loved about unschooling was he didn’t get jaded by learning and by people telling him what he had to learn. Instead, he followed his passions. “Passion is my word,” says Rastovich.

“Lazy River” is made of structural steel plate finished with industrial paint. On the sculpture are 32 icons representing the last 100 years in Tualatin’s history.Tualatin means “lazy river” in the language of the Atfalati, the region’s indigenous Native American people.

The sculpture took nine months to create and weighs about 4,000 pounds. It was installed on Aug. 6.

“My favorite part is forming the steel. I absolutely love organic curves, the organic form, the break from the straight linear world,” said Rastovich. “You can be more inspired than the concrete straight line.”

The sculpture was a gift from the Tualatin Arts Advisory Committee using funds raised through the annual art show and sale, Artsplash, and not by public funds. The committee commissioned two pieces of public art, “Lazy River” and “Dynamic Continuum.”

“Dynamic Continuum,” a bas relief mixed media mosaic, created by Lynn Adamo, was installed in the lobby of the Tualatin Public Library last December.

Buck Braden is the chair of the Tualatin Arts Advisory Committee and himself an established painter and artist. According to Community Services Director Paul Hennon, it was Braden’s leadership that led to the installation of the two art pieces.

“I think it was something unique and different, the ability to do all these little pieces, the icons, which represent Tualatin,” said Braden. “It has a contemporary look. I like the way it fits in.”

— Ginger Moshofsky

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Sculpting Tualatin’s History Through New Art Installation

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Caitlin Feldman
The Times (Pamplin Media)

After months of work, sculptor Joseph Rastovich helped place his “Lazy River” sculpture in Tualatin last week.

Standing 20 feet tall, the winding steel installation sits on the west side of Tualatin Commons Park and is most visible from Martinazzi Avenue between Tualatin-Sherwood Road and Nyberg Street.

True to its name, the sculpture’s distinctive shape was chosen to represent the Tualatin River, an integral part in Tualatin’s very existence. The shape also represents a mastodon tusk, which Rastovich wanted to include as another important part of Tualatin’s history. Covering the sculpture are 32 embossed icons, which further tell the story of Tualatin, past and present.

“The Tualatin Lazy River sculpture very much tells a story with all the icons and the abstract symbolism of the form,” Rastovich said. “Basically, it’s kind of like this static storyteller to tell people the history of Tualatin, where Tualatin is now and about the things that have gone on. It’s nice to be aware of what has happened in your local area.”

This sculpture is one of eight public art pieces that Rastovich has created since his first at age 18. Now 23, the artist has already been sculpting for seven years and doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon. He feels that public art pieces are an essential element of cities and wants to keep contributing his voice.

“Public art is really great because it creates a space,” Rastovich said. “Personally, I believe it increases the quality of life for the people who interact with the sculptures. It just creates monuments that are a break from the linear world of the city … They make people think. They can make people inspired to do different things. And they also, in many ways, help tell a story.”

To see Tualatin’s story as Rastovich sees it, visit his “Lazy River” sculpture at 7880 S.W. Nyberg St.

 

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