What's up with plane sculpture?

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:22 PM

The junk translated into a mock F-18 fighter jet, which was set up on Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids as an entry for the 2013 ArtPrize.

Berg said he brought his artwork home last week and has it stored at his Ferrysburg business, which is visible from the ramps leading to M-104 and southbound U.S. 31 in the area of the Grand Haven drawbridge.

The inspiration comes from a phrase that a Presbyterian minister quoted to Berg after he was asked to leave another church.

“They told me I couldn’t do communion, and I did it anyway,” he said.

The phrase, titled “Whirlwind,” says: “There is a greater chance of a whirlwind blowing under the back gate of a junkyard, collecting junk as it goes, flying out the front gate as an F-18 fighter jet, than there is a chance of there not being a God.”

The Grand Haven man had the saying engraved on a piece of granite given to him by a friend.

Fifteen years later, he took that phrase to heart while going through another bad stage in his life. The welder/fabricator said when he came out of it last May, he decided he was going to enter ArtPrize.

Berg's inspiration came from the "Whirlwind" quote and a piece of air duct removed from the former Eagle Ottawa Leather Co. factory in Grand Haven.

“All the material came from Eagle Ottawa,” he said, pointing to the plane. “It’s all made out of junk.”

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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