Upper left photo: Sculptor Michael Jernigan, who spent weeks with the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, shared his experiences with the Santa Paula Kiwanis Club last week. Above photo: This is what the display looks like of US Army Staff Sergeant Theresa Skene of Tallahassee, Florida. The photos were taken April 7, 2010 in Iraq. She is with the 779th Engineer Battalion. Below: Chief Bill Carl, USCG, Naples, Florida stands next to bust of himself by Michael Jernigan.
Sculptor shares his experiences with troops in Middle East
January 17, 2014
Santa Paula News
By Brian D. Wilson
Santa Paula Times
Accomplished sculptor Michael Jernigan, who spent weeks with the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, shared his experiences with the Santa Paula Kiwanis Club last week.
He was embedded as a freelance artist through the sponsorship of the TallahasseeFlorida Democrat newspaper. While in each country he took 100 photos and 27 facial measurements of 19 military personnel. He is currently touring the country to finish and display 21 bronze portrait busts of military heroes. Jernigan said his first sculpting experience was with his late father when he was 13. “I received the Boy Scout merit badge for sculpting with his help,” Jernigan said. “In 1989, 28 years after my first and only sculpting session with my father, I decided to try the impossible and surprise him with a bronze bust for his 69th birthday. His doctors had said he had less than a year to live. After his death 10 months later I understood that his parting gift to me was the realization that I could sculpt. Realistic, figurative and portrait sculptures would give me the greatest pleasure in expressing my creativity and remembering my father. The inspiration for completing my father’s bust came from a father and son team of sculptors from Virginia, Bill and David Turner.”
Jernigan has several degrees and has studied under a number of artists. His first public commission was a bust of a doctor who had a library named in his honor at a Florida hospital. From there he has a very long list of works.
He has received several awards for his work and is an associate member of the National Sculpture Society, as well as a number of professional organizations.