Volume 15, Issue 22  | March 17, 2023Subscribe

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“Art in Public Places” – Interlude by Peter Busby


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Some of the art you see around Laguna Beach is the result of two city programs: “Public Art and Murals” and “Art in Public Places.” The goals of the Public Art and Murals and Art in Public Places (adopted in 1986) initiatives are to create diverse art installations of the highest quality that will, over decades, reflect the city itself and its citizens, and improve the quality of life; and to be a source of pride to all Laguna Beach residents. 

Created by artist Peter Busby, Interlude was installed at Alta Laguna Park in 1993. It is part of the Art in Public Places collection and was funded by the City of Laguna Beach. 

art in midrange tails

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“Interlude” was installed in 1993 

Born the youngest of six brothers in Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island, N.Y., Busby has lived in and traveled to places such as Indonesia, China, Thailand, Israel, Crete, Denmark and the Caribbean.

Busby attended Det Fynske Kunst Akademi, (Art Academy) in Odense, Denmark, from 1982-86. He has multiple public art sculptures installed all over the U.S., dating back to 1978, and has participated in many group and solo exhibitions.

art in closeup grass

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The sculptures must be seen in person to be fully appreciated   

According to a 2019 Connecticut Magazine article, in 1984, while living in an old farmhouse outside of Odense, Denmark, where Busby’s wife is from, he dragged some tree limbs over from the farmer next door who had just trimmed them. It took numerous rounds on the back of his bicycle, but he amassed enough to construct a life-size elephant. The elephant was displayed at the Odense Zoo, then later the City of Odense bought it, awarding it to an elementary school as part of an environmental awareness program. 

Busby now creates larger-than-life structures in his home studio in Cornwall Bridge, Conn., before they are unleashed into private collections and public spaces around the country. Using mostly simple hand tools as well as some welding equipment, Busby molds steel rods into impossibly large animals, giving viewers an opportunity to appreciate them from every angle. He has a months-long process he stands by, from pencil-tracing the formations on drywall to manipulating materials to represent a specific shift of an animal’s head or body. 

art in two tail midrange

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Easier to sense the scale of the sculptures with a boy in the scene 

“I approach art from the perspective of inclusion,” Busby states on his website. “Through sculpture, I hope to inspire and foster a connection between the environment, my work and a broad spectrum of viewers. My aim is to create works of art that are elegant, yet simple, create a sense of place, leave a lasting impression upon viewers, and achieve a sense of timelessness and beauty.” 

This focus is reflected in Interlude.  According to Busby, “Such was my intent while creating the whale tails that are seen diving into a sea of grass at Alta Laguna Park. This sculpture is representational of and inspirational to the environment and cultural spirit of the community of Laguna Beach.”

Busby explained his process: “My artwork has evolved from the concept of space being defined by a single line, to structures defined by woven surfaces. I work with steel rods in a way that echoes lines drawn by pencil, only my metal markings are free of paper and, thus, create three-dimensional drawings.”

art in midrange tails

Click on photo for a larger image

Busby invites viewers to complete the volume the framework suggests 

“My particular attention to line results in sculptures comprised of both positive and negative space. This spatial interplay causes the sculptures to feel both empty and full, and invites viewers to complete the volume that the framework suggests. The negative space, which has become a fundamental aspect of my work, also allows viewers to pass through the work, thereby incorporating the surrounding environment. This interaction and interplay between the artwork, the viewer and the environment is what I continually strive to achieve with my work.”

Alta Laguna Park is located at 3299 Alta Laguna Blvd., Laguna Beach.

This is the 90th article in our weekly series featuring Art in Public Places. Since there are more than 100 pieces of public art scattered throughout Laguna, it will take a while to cover them all.

For more information on Peter Busby, go to

For a map of Art in Public Places (not every piece is listed), click here.

To apply for the Arts in Public Places program, click here.


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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