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Meet the man who is the model for Jesus

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Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 09/20/17

Who knew?

From the Catholic Register in Canada:

St. Jacobs, Ont., is home to a historic village, a charming farmer’s market and one of Canada’s most renowned Catholic sculptors, Timothy Schmalz.
On this day, in his backyard, Schmalz has a visitor — Jesus. Or rather a stand-in for Jesus. And he’s holding a rifle. Ed Czuchnicki, 65, has modelled for Schmalz for about 20 years and been the life model for all of the artist’s Jesus sculptures inspired by a passage from Matthew 25, including his most recent work When I Was Sick You Visited Me. The bronze sculpture, featured outside of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, was blessed by Bishop Douglas Crosby on Aug. 17. The key to posing as Jesus is to “not let it go to your head,” said Czuchnicki, who was raised Catholic. “I am representing someone, I am not pretending to be them,” he said. “I never think, ‘I am Jesus right now.’ If I am representing Christ, it’s Christ. If I’m representing a pirate, it’s a pirate.”

Related: An interview with artist Timothy Schmalz 

Czuchnicki is not dressed as Jesus this day. He is representing World War II soldiers for a mural Schmalz is creating for the City of Ajax to honour Canadian soldiers who helped liberate Europe. Schmalz’s studio is in his backyard, behind a beautiful Victorian house with a wrought-iron gate encircling green grass that is wet with early morning dew. Several ducks roam the property, one of which is appropriately named Waddles. They belong to the artist’s young children. The studio itself is inside a large shed. It is filled with life-sized sculptures of human figurines, most of which are covered in red tarp to protect them while they dry. Along the left wall sits Czuchnicki, bending his hand in a hook-like shape, emulating a soldier giving a box of heart-shaped chocolates to a little girl. Sculpting hands is a tedious process and Schmalz spends close to an hour to ensure everything is realistic, from the veins in the hand to the exact shape of the soldier’s fingernail. “It’s like I’m putting on a shadow puppet show,” said Czuchnicki.

Read the rest.

Photo: St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation/Catholic Register

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