Ted Pelkey’s giant middle finger sculpture apparently has fans beyond Vermont’s Route 128. And the Westford resident’s work of “art” will soon have a twin in Nashville.
Pelkey says he’s driving down to Tennessee with his wife later this month to hand-deliver a second version of his 700-pound wooden sculpture to singer Kid Rock. As WCAX first reported last week, the country music star called the 54-year-old Vermont native in December to express his admiration — and to ask if he could get his own middle finger sculpture.
“It’s quite a thrill for me, honestly,” Pelkey told Boston.com over the phone Wednesday. “He just really wants one.”
Rock, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, has made the crude gesture something of his personal signature through his personal appearances, song lyrics, merchandise, and album art. Pelkey said he first got a voicemail from Rock around Christmas, in which the 48-year-old singer said he “liked my style.” Despite recent controversies, Pelkey noted that Rock came off as a real “down-to-earth guy” during their phone calls.
“I would do it for him if it wasn’t Kid Rock,” he added.
Pelkey had the original sculpture commissioned in November to protest Westford town officials, who he felt were treating him unfairly in a dispute over his efforts to build a garage on his property. He paid a local artist for the massive middle finger sculpture, which he mounted on a 16-foot platform in his yard and lit with floodlights. Considered a work of “public art” under Vermont law, the giant bird was allowed to stay up, catching the attention of both Route 128 drivers and national news outlets.
“It was critical to me to make sure that my neighbors and the people who live in this town understood that I didn’t put that up there for them,” Pelkey told Boston.com at the time. “It is aimed directly at the people who sit in our town office.”
Rock is paying $4,000 — the same amount that Pelkey paid — for the second sculpture. Pelkey says he recently picked up Rock’s sculpture from the same artist who commissioned the original and is looking forward to hauling it down to the singer’s Nashville home. According to the Tennessean, Rock owns 170 acres of property in the city’s Whites Creek neighborhood.
The second sculpture won’t be the first crass display Rock has put up in Nashville, even if it will be somewhat hidden in the city’s outskirts. Earlier this year, Nashville’s Metro Council reluctantly approved a 20-foot sign outside the rock star’s new Broadway restaurant, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock N’ Roll Steakhouse, that featured a giant guitar that was intentionally made to look like a woman’s butt.