Local Sculptor “Odd” Rodney 

Odd Rodney sculpting the Deadhead Rum shrunken head bottle in a room with his various tiki sculptures.
Odd Rodney sculpting the Deadhead Rum bottle. (Image by Kamala Kingsley)

At Tempe Trophy, we love to work with local artists. We utilize their skills to help us with customer requests and they use our services on their art projects. Our various services come in handy. It’s all about using the right tool for the job. At the same time, we often reach out to talented artists like our friend, Odd Rodney, for help creating Custom Awards.

Odd Rodney is a talented sculptor who works with various materials, primarily clay and resin. He has created pieces for various companies and people, from children’s stores to alcohol brands. When we need a custom piece for a client, Rodney has the ability to sculpt in any style. One of the largest veterans groups in Arizona asked us to re-imagine their “Copper Sword” Award. Who better to collaborate with than Rodney?

Two Build-A-Bear Workshop models for the store.
Build-A-Bear Workshop models by Odd Rodney.

Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society Copper Swords

The Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society was conceived in 1976 by members of the Arizona Chapter of Disabled American Veterans (DAV). The society was a way to recognize not just Arizona veterans, but community members who have made a difference in veterans’ lives. By 1978, the idea of a “Hall of Fame” gained the support of not only the DAV, but Arizona legislators. As it grew, veterans organizations like the Unified Arizona Veterans began to throw support and resources into making the “Veterans Hall of Fame” one of the most prestigious and meaningful awards given in the veteran community. They award veterans and community members for their service at their annual induction ceremony and Patriotic Gala. 

The 2014 recipient of the Copper Sword Award at the Patriotic Gala of the Veterans Hall of Fame holding the frame of the award with the announcer.
The 2014 recipient of the Copper Sword Award. (Source: Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society)

One award that we make for this event is the Copper Sword. This award is given to an individual who hasn’t worn a uniform, but does amazing things for veterans or the community. It represents bravery, leadership, and a warrior who fights for things bigger than their own interests. In past years, Tempe Trophy had custom swords created out of copper, but after our source for custom copper swords no longer existed, we turned to sculptor Odd Rodney. 

To build the new swords, Rodney used a cold cast method where a mold of an existing sword was made and touched up.  It was shaped like a traditional Greek/Roman gladius, which has a lot of historical significance in its symbolism. Clear resin was used to fill the mold and adding copper powder created the authentic color. Connecting a customer’s request with a local artist and friend allowed us to get to the perfect version of the sword.

Sculpting Shrunken Heads

Rodney is known for having pieces that are detailed, original, and so strange that they’re captivating. The company Deadhead Rum asked him to redesign a shrunken head bottle. In an impromptu interview with Odd Rodney, he explained how he worked with Deadhead Rum to develop the bottle. The rum company had an existing bottle design but needed an update. Customers loved the old design. They often kept the bottle as a piece of art, painting it or turning it into the body of a lamp.

With the old design, the name of the rum company was covered when the bottle was painted. As a result, he decided to create a shrunken head where the name was raised. Tempe Trophy helped during this step of the process. We cut acrylic letters spelling “Deadhead” so that they could easily be placed on the shrunken head. This made it so that Odd Rodney didn’t have to tediously cut out clay letters.

Rodney sculpted clay versions of the new design and sent photographs back to Deadhead Rum for approval. Next, a solid version was created from the clay prototype of the bottle. Four copies were made as well as a master that was eventually sent out to a glass manufacturer. The sculpture was scaled to fit the different bottle volumes needed for alcohol. A production mold was made and these iconic bottles were put on shelves world-wide. 

AO Tequila and More from Odd Rodney

Deadhead Rum is one of several liquor brands under Iconic Brands, a company based in California. Their other brand, Apocalypto Tequila, has just as extraordinary bottles as Deadhead. Odd Rodney himself originally sculpted the iconic half-Mayan Man, half-Jaguar bottles. Along with the shrunken head, he previously sculpted a shrunken monkey head for a Dark Chocolate Rum soon to be released by Deadhead.

Odd Rodney sculpting the monkey head bottle.
Odd Rodney sculpting the monkey head bottle.

Tempe Trophy has helped Odd Rodney in other ways as well. We helped engrave the wood piece and plate on a trophy he designed for a LowView Magazine car show. Also, we helped him engrave his name on his original Flink Toe Keychains and an Exotic Elixir bottle for his home tiki bar.

In previous years, Odd Rodney has not only created these eccentric sculptures, but other creative displays as well. His work includes panels in the library, Muppet figurines for the F.A.O. Schwarz toy store in New York, and even Build-A-Bear Workshop displays. This just shows the variety in his work and why he is often able to help Tempe Trophy.

You can see a lot more of Odd Rodney’s work on his website and follow all of his fun projects on his Instagram and Facebook pages. Of course, if you would like to purchase some of the fun pieces that he makes, check out his Etsy store. We would also like to accredit Kamala Kinglsey for the photos she took of Odd Rodney and Deadhead Rum for details in this article. We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the fun and random projects we do at Tempe Trophy!


#Custom #LocalArtistSpotlight