Bob Allison has just recently completed and installed a world-class sculpture of “Jonah and the Whale” for Shandon Baptist Church on Forest Drive. The round, 15-foot fountain-sculpture has an enormous whale head-and-tail weighing over 1,000 pounds, and a 6-foot Jonah in mid-air as he is spewed out of the whale’s mouth. Seeing it in person is essential, and for those engaged in kinesthetic experiences the whale’s tail is hanging over the edge and accessible, as are the tips of Jonah’s toes.
Dr. Dick Lincoln, the pastor of Shandon Baptist, commissioned Bob to sculpt this idea for the church’s entrance. He wanted a life-like, old-world fountain and bronze sculpture that captured this famous Biblical story and created emotion and awe. Bob did just that.
What else can you feel when you see the look so convincingly sculpted on the face of Jonah; that expression of disbelief and relief as he flies out of the huge mouth? Bob used a unique patina to cover the body of Jonah, and every feature – from the angular muscles of his chest, arms, and legs, to the waves of his cloak – conveys an expression of movement that will delight and amaze.
The exciting aspect of this commission is that Bob is a native of Columbia, a graduate of Dreher High School and USC. Bob worked for years at Blue Cross Blue Shield as a computer programmer, and then one day, at age 41, resigned and decided to sculpt full-time: fulfilling a lifelong passion to create astounding works such as this.
As a youth living in Columbia, his house was without air conditioning. But his grandmother had this luxury, and it was at her house, watching color television, that he designed and created with clay some of his earliest works of art.
He moved to Colorado a few years ago with his wife and two children, but returns to add new creations to Columbia’s culture-rich history. His “Leap of Faith” can be seen at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden – a huge bull frog leaping in mid-air just to the side of a walking bridge to the barn.
He has created unique sculpture for Palmetto Richland Hospital, Still Hopes Retirement Center, Hammond School, and many other locations in Orangeburg, Summerville, and North Carolina. Bob is truly a unique and diversely flexible artist who captures nature, the human body, animals, emotions, and movements in a 3 dimensional format that is loved and enjoyed by all ages. We are so fortunate to have the fruits of his world-class talent.