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Holey Cow, Batman!

Updated on August 27, 2013
Matilde on Her Way to the Market (Original Bronze Sculpture by Nano Lopez)
Matilde on Her Way to the Market (Original Bronze Sculpture by Nano Lopez) | Source

A Favorite Haunt for eBay Sellers

Goodwill Store in Walla Walla, WA
Goodwill Store in Walla Walla, WA | Source
Where I Couldn't Quite Pick Up a WiFi Signal
Where I Couldn't Quite Pick Up a WiFi Signal | Source

Across the Street

My smartphone was acting stupid in the Goodwill Store in downtown Walla Walla.

So what's an eBay seller to do when he needs to do some quick research and his allegedly high tech gadget is operating at a new low?

That's right! Step out of the store!

Standing on the wide concrete sidewalk about fifteen feet away from the store entrance, I typed in the key words, glass dolphin figurine, and tapped the SEARCH tab. This iPhone 4 had been a birthday gift from my wife and son, a veritable godsend in an eBay seller's world where instant access to information about what prices a particular item might be listed for was vital in determining whether or not I would purchase it.

The circular item at the top left of my phone's screen kept spinning and spinning, a clear indication that I wasn't anywhere near a WiFi signal.

Across the street was the Walla Walla Public Library, a place I hadn't frequented in years because Walla Walla wanted to charge out of town residents $135 for an annual library card. Imagine that! I lived a mere four miles away in College Place, and yet I'd have to shell out beaucoup money better invested in my eBay business just to borrow a few books every now and then. No, it went against every frugal (read: cheapskate) bone in my body. I had opted instead to join the Walla Walla County Library System for a less expensive $40 annual membership. The year before, I'd even gone out of state to get a $35 library card at the beautiful public library in Milton-Freewater OR.

(I recently went to the Walla Walla Public Library to get some IRS tax documents, and I learned at the time that the annual membership fee for out of city residents had been reduced to $68. Since most of the books about eBay have to be gleaned from distant libraries, and since the Walla Walla Public Library, unlike other library systems, actually charges $3 per interlibrary loan, I decided to not join this library. I'm leaning heavily towards renewing my out of state library card this summer at the Milton-Freewater Public Library.)

One of the nice (and free) things about the library across the street, however, is the placement of a comfortable park bench on the walkway just in front of the steps leading to the building.

I decided to rest there for a few minutes so I could hitch a ride on the library's WiFi service. Sure enough, it was just a matter of seconds before the information I'd searched for was rapidly appearing on the iPhone screen.

Happy with the information I was gleaning, I was now prepared to purchase the item I had been mulling over in the thrift store.

But first, I just wanted to relax for a few minutes and get in sync with the slow and easy early morning rhythm of the town.

I yawned and stretched, and in doing so, I happened to glance over my shoulder.

And that's when I saw her...this fine female specimen in all her glory.

Breathtaking bovine beauty and moo-less, milk-less, and massively muscled maven...Matilde!

Matilde--Her Various Components

A Dedication Plate
A Dedication Plate | Source
Unlikely Team of Passengers
Unlikely Team of Passengers | Source
Basket of Fruits and Vegetables
Basket of Fruits and Vegetables | Source
A Lizard Basks in Matilde's Ulcerated Stomach
A Lizard Basks in Matilde's Ulcerated Stomach | Source
Riding Atop Matilde's Back
Riding Atop Matilde's Back | Source
Mayan Priest with Headdress
Mayan Priest with Headdress | Source
Combination of Organic and Synthetic Elements
Combination of Organic and Synthetic Elements | Source
Matilde's Long Horns
Matilde's Long Horns | Source

The Sculpture and the Sculptor

An aspiring writer on HubPages is wise to take full advantage of opportunities that seemingly pop up out of nowhere.

Not that this unusual spectacle is something easily missed, but the library is located at the curved end of an unusual street that clearly doesn't run east and west and looks like it was thrown in and re-routed at the last minute by the city forefathers. So you pretty much have to be right at the entrance before you see the magnificent statue.

And, let me tell you, if Mathilde is anything, she is definitely magnificent!

The life-sized bronze statue was created by Master Sculptor, Nano Lopez, an unassuming middle-aged man who could easily be mistaken for a perennial hippie or a struggling homeless person. The balding, long-haired man with the bushy beard grew up in Bogota, Colombia, and was greatly influenced by his father's love of nature and his grandmother's appreciation for texture.

In his bronze creations, Lopez utilizes a compelling mix of organic textures with synthetic elements and machinery, as if to make a statement that the aesthetic essence of life incorporates both that which is living and that which is man-made. For example, in his clay reproductions prior to the final bronze casting, he might take a huge gear and roll the edges of that tool along the flank of an elephant. He might take a bottle, a handful of screws,a lizard figurine, and some leaves and create an ornate montage with these unrelated items...the point being that everything we see in our environment constitutes art.

Nano Lopez's animal figurines are appropriately nicknamed Nanimals. The master sculptor evokes the phenomenon of seeing the world all over again through the eyes of a child. When one observes children at play, their imagination exudes a boundless sense of magic, wonder, and creativity. Nano Lopez captures that innocent essence in his creations by presenting art that forms a seamless interplay between nature, unbridled imagination, science, folklore, monolithic vision, and contemporary mechanical gadgetry. In a quiet yet surprisingly powerful way, he presents an in your face statement to each and every art aficionado--Look, this wondrous mix is exactly what life is all about!

How fitting, then, that one of his majestic creations should grace the entrance to a public library.

And the Coolest Thing of All...

As I diligently researched anything I could find about Nano Lopez and, in particular, the Matilde statue, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this internationally-acclaimed master sculptor is a resident of the Walla Walla Valley. After studying and honing his bronze foundry skills in the Pacific Northwest, he opened his own business in Walla Walla in 1987. About fifteen years later, he designed, built, and moved into a massive 8,000 square-foot building with tremendously tall ceilings complete with skylights.

In 2003, one of Nano Lopez's greatest creations and the bovine pride and joy of local residents, Matilde, established her permanent residence at 238 East Alder Street, a mere stone's throw from the Goodwill Store. She was a huge milestone in the city's resurgence in the appreciation and promotion of fine arts.

For at least one eBay seller and aspiring writer, Matilde--true to the intentions of her brilliant master sculptor--is an inspirational reminder of how blessed we are to live at a point in mankind's history when the designs of the Universal Creator mingle in artistic tableau with the creations of mere mortals.

Where Matilde Presently Resides in Walla Walla, Washington

Walla Walla Public Library:
238 East Alder Street, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA

get directions


Submit a Comment

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Thank you for stopping by to share in this experience. There are some excellent hubbers in Massachusetts. kashmir56 and bdegiulio come to mind. Now I can add you to that list. Blessings and aloha from the Pacific Northwest! Joe

  • ArockDaNinja profile image


    5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

    Voted up and interesting.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Yeah, I thought this artist was someone from the east coast or another country altogether, so it was indeed a pleasant surprise to learn that he's lived here in the Walla Walla Valley for some time. I'm just thankful I decided to take a better look at the unusual cow and the dedication stone in front of it. A guy I know who actually came to my home years ago inquiring about how to get his eBay business going is another artist who did a small statue of a frog posed like Rodin's classic, "The Thinker." I'm starting to notice a lot of talented people in a town once known solely as the site of a penitentiary. Good to see Walla Walla's progress while maintaining a folksy small town feel about it. Thank you for your faithful following and your talented writing, xstatic!

  • xstatic profile image

    Jim Higgins 

    5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

    What a beautiful sculpture that is! This is a great hub about art by someone I never heard of. What a talent he had. Using the phone for research sounds like a great idea too.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Thank you for your lovely visit and words this morning, my friend! How is the weather in your area today? Although we've had a lot of sunshine and blue skies in February, today is typical of our standard February--very chilly and overcast. I'm certain that when I go on my walk this morning, the Blue Mountains will be hidden under coats of God's vanilla ice cream. Have a wonderful day!

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    Yes I agree with you that you have to take advantage of the things around you. Then write about it. This is really very useful.

    Have a nice day!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Hi, Heather! You got it! I drift outside the parameters of the strict HubPages requirements because I love to write with an actual "human interest" perspective. So the rambling, sometimes"real time, as it happens" and often self-deprecating voice is intentional because I want more than anything for people to read my work as if they're sitting with me, face to face, in a coffee shop, just shooting the breeze. I get severe writer's block if I don't imagine writing my hubs just as I'm writing to you right now. This laid back, island-fostered, ukulele strumming while I'm chewing the fat with a friend on the back porch style may never propel me to the successful heights that others are experiencing on HP, but it serves me just fine because it's how I reach out to connect with others. I know that this is beyond what you were sharing with me in your very positive and supportive comments, but that's part of the beauty of connecting with someone...your words helped me get more in contact with my identity as a writer. At some point, I need to update my profile, and so I'm grateful that you unawaringly triggered this moment of clarity. : ) Thanks for the visit, Heather, and I look forward to enjoying your next hub. Aloha from the burgeoning art culture of the Walla Walla Valley! Joe

  • Mommymay profile image

    Heather May 

    5 years ago from Ohio

    I was able to read this yesterday on a long car drive (thanks to my smartphone) but as you experienced was unable to comment because I lost signal! Just like in your story, I put down the technology for a minute and ended up in a family sing-along with my 5 kids and the FreshBeat band. I re-read the article this morning and it meant something totally different. One read--it is an ebay article---the next, a piece on taking time to find missed planned it that way I am sure! Another great article and food for thought!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @rajan jolly

    Thank you for your kind words, my friend. I'm discovering that Walla Walla is awash with art projects that the city leaders are promoting in conjunction with the influx of tourists and potential new residents to this area due to the rapidly growing numbers of grape fields and wineries. I'm thankful for the opportunity to have shared with you and others a little bit more about the area where I live.

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 

    5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    These are awesome sculptures from the master sculptor Nano Lopez and you, my friend, are an awesome writer. I enjoy all the flavors you put forth in your descriptions of events, places and things. A truly satisfying read.

    Voting up and interesting.

  • wetnosedogs profile image


    5 years ago from Alabama


    got your comments! I never had that happen to me before. Enjoy your time with your daughter.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Thank you, dear fellow writer/diligent springcleaner/purveyor of the universe/sunshine Arizonan, for dropping by this morning to read and share your comments. I can't do justice with mere photos and words to share with you just how awesome this guy's sculpture is up close. There are hundreds of details my images couldn't quite capture, and you can thus tell that Nano spent literally scores of man hours working on this project. ArtWalla is the name of the organization spearheading the promotion of fine arts throughout the town of Walla Walla, and I personally think it's a great idea. Glad that this story appealed to the artist in you, Carol. Have a great weekend!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Artists--whether sculptors, painters, poets, or musicians--for ages have been unappreciated and under-appreciated. If I can do my part to promote beautiful things--such as the poetry you gift us all with, cleaner3--I would be honored to do so. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks even more for the beauty you share on a daily basis with our global neighbors. Blessings and aloha from the Pacific Northwest!

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 

    5 years ago from Arizona

    Enjoyed reading about the library and the sculptor.. Lots of good information and new things to learn. Thanks Voting UP+++

  • cleaner3 profile image


    5 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

    great hub, very informational and the human side of life shows that all is not what it looks like . Way to go showing the artist and highlighting his work.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hope you're now able to see the comment. I think I inadvertently clicked on the moderation tab. Sorry about that!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Yes, this was one of the challenge hubs. Hub #3. I should somehow find a way to mark this one as such. Regarding the libraries, it's because I don't live within the city limits but rather within a nearby town. Although it's only 3-4 miles away, they don't have city councils that fiscally make it easy for non-city residents. My town has only the university library, and so I have to find alternatives. Good questions, by the way.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    My bad! I think I got called to dinner, and then my wife, daughter, and I got to talking in the living room about our daughter's stay in Cambodia. I apologize and will follow up on it pronto! Thanks for the kind reminder, wnd!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile imageAUTHOR

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state


    Thank you for your visit this morning, Bill! Yes, I've noticed an upward tick in the local residents' enthusiasm for artistic and cultural enhancement of the Walla Walla Valley over the last couple of decades. This movement perhaps accompanies a kind of gentrification of the area as vintners from all over the world are discovering that this region's soil and climate are excellent for growing grapes and producing some of the globe's finest wines. Walla Walla, therefore, has become a kind of hub attracting people from the metropolitan areas of Portland and Seattle. I would not be surprised if at some point, a very talented New England hubber named bdeqiulio who specializies in the travel niche, pays a visit to Walla Walla to write a series of hubs. If he does, I'd be honored to chew the hub fat with him at a local coffee shop. : )

  • wetnosedogs profile image


    5 years ago from Alabama


    got an email you left a comment on this hub, but it's not showing!

  • bdegiulio profile image

    Bill De Giulio 

    5 years ago from Massachusetts

    What a great find. Isn't it great that when we least expect it, we stumble onto something wonderful to write about. Really interesting and so well written. Nano is certainly very talented. Great job.

  • wetnosedogs profile image


    5 years ago from Alabama

    I always find it fascinating the talent such artists have. His work is wonderful and I can just imagine the love and patience he put into his works.

    You created a beautiful hub about a beautiful mastery of art.

    On another note, I haven't been to libraries so long, they charge now for library cards/membership?

    And is this one of your hubs for the challenge? Or did I somehow miss this sometime?


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