One giant dragonfly

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal


TUPELO – An ambitious couple in Mississippi are creating a 50-foot dragonfly to unleash on the children of Georgia.
The pair are Tanner Coleman, 30, and Alexis Gregg, 27, a husand-and-wife sculpting team. By the end of August, they expect to transform about 90 tons of wet brick into an enduring piece of playable art.
“This thing is meant to be climbed on and played on,” said Coleman, a Tupelo native. “You’re going to have kids all over it.”
The pair were awarded a grant by the city of Sandy Springs, Ga., and Northside Hospital. The dragonfly will be one of several pieces of art that will double as playthings at a planned sculpture garden.
In 2011, Coleman and Gregg created a three-ton brick sculpture that now sits in the Haire Wealth Management Green Space in downtown Tupelo. It’s a 6-foot-tall water drop because the Front Street site was one of Tupelo’s first water sources.
The pair have created lasting brick art in California and Idaho, as well as Taiwan and South Korea.
Now, they’re focused on a project for Georgia, which is Gregg’s home state, but they’re doing the work in Tupelo.
“Wherever we built it, we were going to have shipping costs,” Coleman said.
They’ve been able to save money by staying with Coleman’s mom.
“That’s a big positive for us, after we’ve traveled so much,” Gregg said.
The Tupelo location also keeps them close to Columbus Brick Company, which supplied the bricks for the downtown Tupelo project.
“Obviously, we have a familiarity with them,” Coleman said, “so that was a factor.”
Coleman and Gregg are working in a Journal Inc. warehouse, where they’ve sketched out their dragonfly on the floor with chalk.
The tail section is mostly complete, and it features six benches and stretches about 30 feet. The head will be about 20 feet long and 8 feet high.
A company is making the wings that will double as climbing ropes. Another artist will provide the eyes. Concrete slides will be added when the playable art is installed.
The final result should be an awesome creation for the kids of Sandy Springs, but Coleman and Gregg have many hours of work before their massive dragonfly is ready for the public.
“We pretty much need to be done by the end of June,” Gregg said. “July and August, we’ll be installing this thing.”
scott.morris@journalinc.com