Artist Puts Finishing Touches On First Night Ice Sculptures

By Jonathan Elias, WBZ-TV
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Ice sculptor Eric Fontecchio works in his Brookline studio.

Ice sculptor Eric Fontecchio works in his Brookline studio.

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BROOKLINE (CBS) – Ice sculptor Eric Fontecchio is working quickly in his ice cold studio.

“A chain saw to an ice sculptor is a scalpel to a surgeon,” he says.

Fontecchio is transforming blocks of ice into sculpture on a huge scale, something he’s been doing for Boston’s First Night celebration every year since 1983.

“Boston was the first in the nation to celebrate First Night, so that’s significant, and I’m a part of it,” he says.

WBZ-TV’s Jonathan Elias reports

The 48-year-old artist worked summers at the Brookline Ice Company when he was a sculpture major at Mass. College of Art, and he’s been working there full-time ever since.

“I’m happy to be doing what I love,” he says. “It is what I was born to do, I suppose.”

Fontecchio has created upwards of 100,000 ice sculptures over the years, but he’s especially proud of the more than 20 large scale projects he’s done for First Night.

“The minute you put a light on it, it brings the sculpture to life,” he says.

For the upcoming 2012 First Night, he is putting the finishing touches on a tribute to the end of the ancient Mayan calendar.

“What I wanted to focus in on was the artistic aspect of the Mayan culture, the beautiful sculpture and artwork that they left behind,” he says.

And who better than Fontecchio to bring that kind of sparkling grandeur to the thousands of people who flock to First Night.

“That’s the idea, to have people want to come down to see something grand, something inspiring,” he says. “Something happy and peaceful and joyous.”

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