EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – Even big ideas have to start small.
“It has been a journey,” says artist and inventor, Nathan Pratt.
He began sculpting famous Oklahoma aviator Wiley Post as a miniature first.
But, he insists, “I always thought it would make for a heroic piece of monumental sculpture.”
The man himself started small too.
Wiley was born one of the youngest in a big Oklahoma farm family.
He was a grade school dropout who liked machinery but not much else.
Post went to prison for armed robbery as a teenager and the prison system released him because of ‘severe melancholy.’
But he had a drive and a direction.
“He had a second chance and he made good on it,” says Pratt.
Using a settlement from a shop accident that cost him an eye, Post bought an airplane.
After that, the planet could hardly hold him.
He won air races, flew around the world twice, and the second time solo.
Post is credited with discovering the jet stream and inventing the first pressure suit.
Pratt figures, “I think he was probably most comfortable flying in the clouds.”
Pratt caught on with the notion of a one-eyed, true visionary on a heroic scale.
“A common theme that I try to consider,” he says, “vision is something that extends far beyond the realm of human eyesight.”
His renderings offer the vision of Post in his pressure suit as much as 50 feet high with a compass as a base.
The helmet shines a bright light on what he accomplished over a life cut short in 1935 that also cost the life of humorist Will Rogers.
Nathan argues, “When you do look at our landscape, we don’t have a monument that truly reflects his stature and the contributions he made.”
The idea caught on with the City of Edmond, council members there proposed one possible location for the monument on a corner of Route 66 and Post Road.
Pratt is now on a search for funding and sponsorship.
That vision, which started small, finally looks ready for take-off.
He estimates the cost of ‘Beacon of Vision’ to be approximately $1 million.
Nathan hopes to have the project complete in time for the Route 66 Centennial in 2026.
For more information on the project, Nathan produced a video proposal for YouTube.
Great State is sponsored by Oklahoma Proton Center