We know the Hokie Birds as the whimsical statues seen around Blacksburg, but from an artist’s perspective, the statues mean much more— just ask Candace Monaghan, Gobble De Art artist. She’s known as the “Hokie Bird Painter,” back in her hometown of Buchanan, Virginia. Candace Monaghan has a very special part in the Gobble De Art program.
Candace has been a member of the flock family since the early stages of the art project, back in 2006. She brings her eye for design and bubbly personality into play when creating the beloved Hokie Birds. Candace sat down with us to share what it is really like to have “5-Foot Hokie Bird Painter” listed on her resume.
“The process is very client-driven. I work with a client to sketch out a unique Hokie Bird design. We go back and forth to get the design just right. Then we go through the process of getting the design approved by licensing,” says Candace.
Creating a bird is intricate and time consuming. The completion of a single hand-crafted bird takes about 6 months or more. The birds must be sanded, wiped down with an alcohol solution, and primed before Candace can even begin the painting step.
“It takes me a minimum of 20 hours to paint the bird. The longest that I have ever worked to paint a bird is 70 hours,” says Candace, “The time varies from bird to bird.”
The best part about Candace’s job, is getting to see her designs brighten up the lives of others. She enjoys making designs with meaning.
“My favorite bird took 70 hours to paint. The bird had an American flag with Lane Stadium painted on the back of the tail. The Hokie Bird was commissioned by a father who dedicated the design to his son who was in the military.” Says Candace.
Hokie Bird painting isn’t the only thing she can do. Candace enjoys graphic design, photographing nature and creating fine arts. She even has her own design business. You can see more of Candace’s work here: http://candacemonaghandesign.com/.
You can get your own hand painted Hokie Bird! We have a great selection 2-foot Hokie Birds, that are all painted by local artists, just like Candace. To see our wide selection of 2-foot Hokie Birds, click the link to our store: https://www.gobbledeart.org/collections/all?page=2. If you are interested in getting your own 5-Foot Hokie Bird commissioned, visit us at: https://www.gobbledeart.org/products/create-your-own.