Zenos Frudakis, known as the Monument Man, has dedicated himself to sculpting life in the bronze with the aim of capturing the likeness and, above all, the spirit of his subjects and paying tribute to those who have helped change the world.
Zenos is renowned for his public monuments. “Freedom,” his most famous work, besides becoming an icon on the Internet, has inspired many in their quest for emancipation.
Born on July 7, 1951, in San Francisco, Frudakis is the oldest of five children. He was born to Greek-American parents, and was raised primarily in Northwestern Indiana, with the exception of several years in Wheeling, West Virginia. As a child, Frudakis first began to sculpt under the family’s kitchen table with a piece of dough given to him by his mother as she was preparing to bake bread. Growing up in Greek family culture, Frudakis began drawing and reading at a young age, initiating a lifelong discipline of studying and creating art each day. Artistic inspirations come from ancient Greeks, and sculptors Michelangelo, Bernini, Carpeaux and Rodin. Throughout his life, Frudakis has been an avid reader with a wide range of interests that inform his work.
Frudakis’ initial years in college were close to home in the Gary, Indiana area due to illness of his father. During this time, he spent summers working in steel mills, and in 1970 to 1971, attended Indiana University Northwest Extension.
In 1972, Frudakis moved to Philadelphia to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Concurrently, he also studied sculpture privately with Prix de Rome winner Evangelos Frudakis, his elder brother. Frudakis studied painting privately with Prix de Rome winner James Hanes. From 1977 to 1983, he attended the University of Pennsylvania, where Frudakis earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Fine Arts.
The life-size Irish Wolfhound sculpture was awarded a silver medal at the National Sculpture Society exhibition in 1986. It has been installed in private collections and is currently located along with the Crouching Wolf sculpture in Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina. A National Historic Landmark, Brookgreen Gardens is America’s first public sculpture garden.