Clawson with his Evermore sculpture of Michael vanquishing Lucifer.
Walk through Cory Clawson’s studio, and you’ll find another world in the works.
The scene’s set with brooding gargoyles and a giant sculpture he's been working on since January of Michael vanquishing Lucifer, a chilling depiction of the archangel's fury.
Then there’s Clawson, a bearded, easygoing sculptor with a big smile and firm handshake. His work will be part of Evermore, a 40-acre haunt set in Victorian London (actually Pleasant Grove), opening in 2015. Fans will get a preview of the park and meet Clawson at Salt Lake Comic Con FanX.
“We’re trying to be the biggest haunt in the world,” Clawson says. “The best haunt, too.”
Evermore, the brainchild of People Water CEO Ken Bretschneider, will have five sections linked by a spooky narrative guests can follow, a ghost ship and a church of bones. But during the holidays, Evermore will become a Dickens-style winter wonderland with Christmas carolers and the aroma of hot cocoa and roasted chestnuts.
We chatted with Clawson, who has been sculpting since his high school art teacher handed him a lump of clay 23 years ago, about his work.
Clawson on far right, image courtesy of Salt Lake Comic Con FanX
We hear your pre-Evermore work is pretty impressive, too. Give us some background.
“I was working my way through BYU, and I started working at a place called Western Architectural Services, and that’s where I cut my teeth. We did lots and lots of monumental size sculptures for the casinos in Las Vegas. So, a lot of stuff for the Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Caesar’s Palace and The Venetian.”
Anything we’d recognize?
“Out in front of Caesar’s Palace, there’s the Trevi fountain. Of course, everything in Las Vegas exists somewhere else, so the original is in Rome . . . It’s a huge fountain with multiple figures, and I believe they’re twice-life, and we had a team of sculptors working on them. I did the Neptune figure . . . Another one I really loved was the Paris’ fountain, but they tore it down and now it’s where the M&M's and Coca-Cola stores are. At Mandalay Bay, there’s a winged creature sitting right on the corner . . . And if you drive down the strip, you’d see one by Bernini I did at Caesar’s Palace—it’s a merman sitting on his haunches and blowing a conch. Inside the Luxor, there’s more than I could count.”
So, how did you get involved with Evermore?
“A friend of a friend—they kind of dropped my name to the guys running the park, and they gave me a call I met with them, showed them my stuff, and within a couple weeks I was here.”
What’s the story behind the sculpture you’re working on now?
“That’s Michael vanquishing Satan, actually Lucifer at the time. He wasn’t Satan until he got vanquished.”
You used some buff dudes as models for this sculpture. Do you usually use models?
“Something that big, definitely. Scale kind of equals importance. Probably anything life-size and bigger, you should use a model. It’s always good to use a model, but you can get away without it on some smaller stuff.”
And when we’re at Evermore, how will we recognize a Clawson?
“I’ll sign them at the end. I also have a little insignia ring I push into them.”
Video posted on facebook.com/evermorepark
See more of Clawson’s work at FanX, April 17–19 at the Salt Palace. Click here for tickets. Check back for our Q&A with Evermore founder Ken Bretschneider, and look for a feature story on Evermore in an upcoming issue of Salt Lake magazine.