D. Brian Ward and Shana Keith-Ward
  American Fidelity Assurance Company

Artist's Description

Clarence was actually originally designed by Gabi Martin with American Fidelity, the sponsors of Clarence. They had a contest in their creative services department to design a buffalo that will represent their company. Her design was chosen and since none of the staff had any experience with this kind of project they asked for one of the artists, involved with the Spirit of the Buffalo, to "bring Clarence to life" for them. I got the call, and met with Gabi and a few of her co-workers as well as her boss to talk about the design, so they could express to me what they wanted to convey with the design.

Clarence is named after one or more of the founders of American Fidelity. He is supposed to look like what a banker or insurance agent from the 20's (with his hat and tie) would look like, and in his mouth he holds a policy. He was painted gold to represent wealth or financial security as well as strength, as an actual golden buffalo would likely be a very strong structure. He has a variety of signs or advertisements on his back that all describe the
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American Fidelity company and their policies, all using the "A" and "F" of their name (i.e. Always Financially secure, Always Flexible, etc.). On one of his hips, he has the American Fidelity logo appearing to be "branded" there. He has American colors in his tie and hat band to represent the name as well, and with the use of the colors and the style of the signage on his back, he is supposed to look nostalgic or "Americana" style (an antique look to represent the time period of which the founding fathers of the company lived).

Because of vandals or accidents the policy has had to be remounted several times and has gone through a series of touch-ups, so the viewers have not gotten to see him as he is supposed to be presented, but he will get a once over before he goes to his home on the grounds at American Fidelity to make sure he is completely presentable.

Spirit of the Buffalo originated as a public art project combining art, commerce and civic pride in Oklahoma featuring Oklahoma artists. Initial proceeds benefited the Nature Conservancy's work in Oklahoma. The website project continues through private funds.