Diedel Kloever - The man behind bolts of bolt
This belief system shared by the greatest of all time, Usain Bolt, resonates with Diedel Kloever, who was so moved by the sprinting mogul's world-record-breaking milestone, that he created a one-of-a-kind statue in his honour. The artwork now proudly stands at the entrance of Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records restaurant in Montego Bay. Outlook, had a one-on-one session recently with the man behind Bolts of Bolt.
Diedel Kloever, was born and raised in Germany. Rocking dreads and sporting a cool and easy demeanour, the artist was originally a musician, connecting deeply with our beloved reggae music at an early age.
"When I was young, I loved reggae music. 'When it hits, you feel no pain'," he told Outlook, with a smile.
The passion quickly grew into a profession when he began touring Germany. Pretty soon, he found himself at the roots of reggae music: Jamaica.
"In 1983, I visited Montego Bay for the first time. I took that adventure - and since then, I just cyaa let go," he expressed. After his first trip, he worked assiduously, making some money, just to return to our green shores. While here, he met and fell in love with his wife, Grace, known to many as Sister Gracy.
Gracy was all the melody this musician needed and the two started their quest of spreading the authentic joys of Jamrock to the German masses. They performed together at concerts and have already developed a dedicated fan base of 2,000 patrons with their reggae festival held annually at their sculpture garden, to celebrate Sister Gracy's birthday. Her daughters and his stepdaughters Latoya and Melesha, along with son-in-law, artiste Brain Damage, along with their children, have made the family a home in Germany.
So where did art come into play? In 2002, just 15 years ago, he was introduced to a welding machine. That was it. He was sold on making art through metal work. His creative journey encapsulated building sculptures and joining, (and soon after hosting) exhibitions. His main focus was that of animals and vibrant exotic creatures that looked life-like by his imaginative depiction.
"Our home is like a zoo," his wife Sister Gracy said. But after Usain Bolt made the new world record in Berlin back in 2009, he was inspired to construct a replica of his signature winning pose, and create a 'Bolts of Bolt' sculpture in 2012.
"I love to work with iron pieces, so since it was a statue of Usain Bolt, it was only fitting that I make it with bolts. I actually started with the toe and worked from the ground up, using a lot of pictures to assist me with the process," he said.
Although it took him a lot longer than he intended, four months to be exact, he confessed that he never once thought he would not have been able to complete it. In fact, he knew he would finish, noting it brought him great pleasure. He, however, indicated that along the way, creating the human face proved to be the most difficult task.
"The head and the face were the hardest parts to do. Initially, I wasn't too pleased, so I went back to the drawing board to reconfigure the face - I wanted to get the smile, feel the emotions. I was just happy to capture that."
He also came face to face with devastating news during the construction when he found out his mother had passed away. But he pushed through and was pleased with the results.
He put the finished product on display in his yard (sculpture garden) for all to see, and said that everyone loved it. Even though they liked seeing it on their visit to the Kloever's sculpture garden in Germany, many said a statue of that nature should be in Jamaica.
That had the artist thinking: why not get it to Jamaica? But he knew no one. The sculpture stayed put in the garden until January, when he got a contact from someone who got wind of the buzz circulating on the unique piece of work, asking if the statue was still there. The couple went to Jamaica to meet the person who was interested in his artwork. That person was Christopher Issa.
"We received a warm welcome and after we realised the plan for the statue, we were excited."
It took them all of a month to ship it down altogether in a container. Kloever, came to Jamaica to add the finishing touch and made the square podium for the statue, alongside local workers.
Once that was over, they went back to Germany and returned in time for the grand opening of UBTR Montego Bay last month.
"The opening was filled with excitement. Bolt liked it, and that made it even better. We had a nice and easy conversation with him. We even gave him a little present, a statue of a goat on a bolt. He said it was 'sick' and thanked me for it. We could feel the warmth and genuinity from Bolt. That made me feel proud to be a part of this project," Kloever asserted.
Kloever declared that while he is grateful for the opportunity, he isn't in art for the money.
"I don't make art to sell it. I make art to make art. When persons are interested in our pieces and we do sell them, we actually go and visit them."
On the matter of the 'Bolts of Bolt' statue, he revealed that he didn't build it with the intention of selling it.
"I built it for my home away from home, for my wife, and to honour Usain Bolt's legacy."
He asserted that he would love to work with local artists because the island has so much talent to offer to the world, but lacked the willingness to create the opportunity.
His advice to up-and-coming artists: "If you have the skill and the chance to do something, then do it. Do it from the heart. You have to go through. I've been lucky to have people love my work. Music was rough, but I'm blessed to do sculpture work full time and have people on top showcase this work. Don't give up."
For more information or if you're interested in Kloever's work, you can visit his website, www.yard-art.de or Facebook: yardartkloever02 or Instagram: @diedelkloever_yardart