1989-1990 and I had just finished a HUGE Advertising Campaign for Bausch & Lomb and DEP Corporation for Topal Toothpaste and Lavoris Mouthwash. It was so successful and 400% higher than our highest expectations. With this success, I felt a change was coming.
I felt that God was opening a door that I had always wanted to walk through, Fine Art. Trails West & Wells Fargo Bank gave me the boost.
It is hard to believe it has been 30 years since I began to engrave in granite. It started with engraving my pen and inks in black granite. Laguna Niguel and San Juan Capistrano were my hometown(s) in Southern California. I had a 30 day "One Woman Art Show" in Laguna Beach at the Famed, TRAILS WEST GALLERY sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank. Along with my oil paintings, I had engraved my pen and inks in high detail in black granite.
The Mayor in San Juan Capistrano, Tony Forster, and Historical Depiction (HDP) Historian, Don Tryon, opened the granite doors for me. I was the go-to person when new businesses opened. It was required because the city's goals were to not only remain historical, but grow historically. Each new business had to find a significant historical happening and display it. The City officials saw the vision and still today maintain the vision.
The beauty and history of this city was to be depicted, but HOW? Tony and Don found the venue in my granite concept and so it began. The new businesses had to go before the "Historical Depiction Committee." The HDP committee suggested the HDP in granite. The HDP committee knew if I was the go-to venue, it was a done deal without confusion, lack of quality, and the city HDP would be significantly and beautifully displayed. I was a Team Player, Creative, Affordable and most important... "ALWAYS ON TIME!"
The granite was so popular and for almost every new business. Granite Historical Depictions, were timeless, weather worthy and classically historical... "Engraving On The Rock!"
Monuments & Landmarks;
LandMarks in America...
Please Take A Look.
I got a call from Steve Sandland of Centra Realty.
Steve and I had done many HDP's previously, one you will see above is "Motorcycle Hill." It was a fun project and I riding motorcycles since I was 18 years old, it was just up my alley! Loved doing the research for the old Harley's and Indians.
Steve sounded a little anxious and it was not his normal kind and quiet way.
"Katie can you make 7, 200 year, old San Juan Capistrano Mission Benches?" Without any hesitation I said, "YES."
His voice was more relaxed. Steve said, " I had hired a man to do the benches and it has taken him 11 months to deliver one. I even graded his yard. " Meaning Steve had gone the extra mile to help this fellow.
Steve said, "He delivered and I don't like it. Can you make 7 benches, 200 years old in concrete?" "YES Steve."
I had never made concrete benches but, I had enough experience in knowing how to start. I contacted my concrete people. We worked on a design and we were in business. I knew what Steve wanted. The process was in play. I followed through the process and when the benches were finished they were the most beautiful benches. They looked brand new. I took a hammer and started to beat them up. I broke off edges on the arms, bench seat, the top.
I had put old stones inside the concrete forms, on the bottom.
One day Steve had met me to look over the benches. Steve got quite concerned about me breaking up his benches with a hammer., hammering the edges away. I was like a woman on a mission!
Finally they were ready to deliver. I had the benches delivered to all seven chosen sites at the "HUGE" Centra Realty Industrial Complex that covered acres.
The next process was for me to paint each and every bench, with what looked like, "Bird poop." Long white colored streaks, stains to make it look like the pigeons of San Juan were well fed and happy to perch on our benches.
It was a GREAT experience. My motto has always been:
"THE IMPOSSIBLE IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE, IT JUST TAKES LITTLE LONGER!"
417-683-9378 • KatieWest@KatieWestArt.com
Thank You for visiting. There are so much more and the button below will take you to Commissions, which are more "Land Marks."
My father was LAPD, Class of '49 Charles B. Cutts
I was raised with respect. I was raised to know, these men and women were there to help & defend and at any time I could trust them to help me.
Now, I want to help them. I wasn't however, raised to have my heart broken
when they pass away. Seeing this child, tracing her father's name makes me cry. I hope in some way, this will help her, but... how can it when her life is forever altered and her father is suddenly taken away?
I love the Police, Sheriff's, Firefighters, First Responders and the Military. What makes a person want to go and protect others leaving the people they love?
Norco, California, I was asked to engrave in granite James Evans. He was shot and killed while the worst Bank Robbery was being committed in Norco.
I have an audio of this bank robbery I hope you can listen to. That morning Jim was killed, he was bouncing his 7 month old son on his knee and said,...
"Some men never get to see their SON grow up.
He was killed that day.
Jim Cunningham of RSA, called me and wanted to do a monument for Riverside Sheriff's Association, to remember all the sheriff's who died during their service. As we sat and talked over the details, I remember him asking me, "How do we show who died while on duty? I said, "Let's Pray."
At the time every sheriff had their badge engraved next to their name. The RSA monument is full of "Badge History." Within seconds Jim Cunningham says, "I've got it! We will put a black band over their badge, showing 'End of Watch.' "
Each meeting was like this. Our brains and the desire to DO THE BEST, were in tune. The RSA development was miraculous from start to finish. There couldn't have been a better man for the job than, Jim Cunningham. Every detail was perfected, even the delivery. The RSA monument had to be EXACTLY centered on the concrete platform.
My Job was to make it all happen. The granite is 5 sides with a sloping top, lower in the front, taller in the back. Each badge, each name, each salute, each dove, each detail exact. The RSA monument weighs 3000 pounds in solid black granite and came from thousands of miles away by ship, beating a killer tsunami.
There was no room for error, no second chances, no erasers, "Just Diligence!"
MY heart, like Jim's was in every name, every man, every "sheriff soldier!" And, I must add, every tear, every touch, every tracing on the "unveiling day."
Lord, I am hoping you see my heart, because it is IN THIS WORK YOU HAVE GIVEN TO ME TO DO.
Katie "Heart" West
James Evans was caught in gun fire as he followed the Bank Robbers into the San Bernadino mountains. He was bushwhacked by the robbers knowing he was coming. The helicopter above could see that Evans was going into a trap, but, at that time there was no communication between Evans patrol car and the the helicopter. Evans was shot and killed that day, May 9th, 1980. It was 20 years later this monument was engraved for James B. Evans.
Kuredjian was shot and killed August 31, 2001, while serving and protecting the residents of the Santa Clarita Valley. He was 40 years old.
He had been assigned to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station since 1995, and was appointed as a motor officer for six months prior to his untimely death.
Today, deputies gathered at the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station in memory of Kuredjian, as they have remembered him for years.
“In my dealings with him he was super friendly and well-liked by everybody,” said Shirley Miller, PIO for the station who also worked briefly with Kuredjian before his death. “He was a friend to all. When you would come in from the field he always had a smile on his face.”
His partner noted how Kuredjian was always one to put the well being of others before his own.
“You never know when something is going to happen — this is a dangerous job when you sign on for it,” said Deputy Gregory Hutt of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. “He was going to help, he got the call and rushed to it. He wanted to help, he wasn’t one to stand back.”
An engraved monument by Katie West, dedicated to Kuredjian in Stevenson Ranch was unveiled on November 1, 2001, at the corner of Stevenson Ranch Parkway and Poe Parkway as a reminder to the community to keep Kuredjian’s memory alive.
In addition to this, Jake Kuredjian Park was dedicated to the late deputy on October 6, 2004 and can be found at 26265 Pico Canyon Road, Stevenson Ranch.
Although he is no longer serving the Santa Clarita Community, it is no doubt he will always be remembered.
“He was a really great guy. Always happy, smiling, fun, loving, pranks. Just a great guy,” says Hutt.
Jake was killed, August 31, 2001, 11 days before 911, September 11, 2001