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Iowa Rock Artist Ray Sorensen, Rocks!
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Iowa Rock Artist Ray Sorensen, Rocks!

Art is a language that is universal. It speaks to everyone in different ways, and inspires them based on how they perceive it. It is a highly subjective experience.

There are some people, like Ray ‘Bubba’ Sorensen II, who take art to another level. He paints military tableaus, to show his love and appreciation for his country’s veterans, on huge boulders. When an artist begins to transform ordinary rocks into art pieces, it comes as no surprise that people might debate overwho has a bigger right to keep them.

From 1 to 99

Bubba first decided to paint a rock for Memorial Day back in 1999, in Iowa. This original rock was big and heavy, weighing almost 90 tons, but Bubba painted a heartfelt composition about military veterans on it. This ‘Freedom Rock’ caught the eye of many Iowans and Bubba became famous. After this, he decided to repaint the rock every year to keep his piece of art in good shape.

He also decided three years ago, to paint similar rocks in every county the state. He has recently managed to complete his 46th rock, and has a long way to go, to finally reach each of Iowa's 99 counties.

A Matter of Placement

People acknowledge the artistic and well as social importance of what Bubba does, which is why there is frequently a bit of disagreement between different groups as to where his latest creations should be placed. There is occasionally a race amongst different entities, be they governmental or private, to have Bubba’s latest rocks on their property. Some people argue that the rocks should be placed nearby prominent public buildings, such as courthouses, while others think that they would be much better located in other areas.

Not an Easy Task

Bubba continues to paint his rocks without falling into the fray. Still, this isn't the only challenge he has had to face. With such a unique art form, there are bound to be some controversies. Sometimes, he has to face families that are against the idea of their veteran members being painted about so publicly. He has to convince them that his rocks are artistic landmarks, and the veterans being painted on them are worthy of being seen and noticed openly by the people.

An Artist’s Life

As a professional artist, Bubba has found a way to help provide for his family through these rock paintings. Still, for him, the main reasons for creating the pieces are to veterans, to promote tourism in Iowa, and to provide for his family. By painting these rocks throughout the Iowa counties, he's surely making a stand.

Bubba is using his art to immortalize those whom he views as the true heroes of the United States His goal is to honor the individuals who have lost their lives and families to defend their country. He continues to make it happen one rock at a time.

Leave a Comment

  1. Travel Iowa Team
    Travel Iowa Team
    What a story! Thanks for the post!
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