Dear Johnnie: Friday, I saw the photo of the bear Mr. Popoff has carved from a dead tree. I was wondering if you could give us a list of the locations of the other works he has created. — Vee
Dear Vee: May I go on a tangent? Thank you.
Most days, I drive by the house at the corner of Bross and Ninth. Over the past few months, I watched as the young man at the home dug up the yard, posted a “keep off the grass” sign, planted a garden, added landscaping elements and left a massive cottonwood stump right in the middle of it all. I kept watching to see what he would do next.
Then came the bears.
After receiving your letter, I decided this was a good time to
stop by and introduce myself. I did so Monday evening. His name is Justin, and as people who have ever posted “keep off the grass” signs go, he is the friendliest I’ve met, immediately offering his hand and a welcome to view the work — called “Friends” — that now adorns his front “lawn.”
Justin told me that since the photo of the bears appeared in the paper, about 100 people had stopped by to see them in person. Since Lueb Popoff completed the piece last week, Justin added lighting. Up close, the spotlights brought out the detail of the work. I was impressed.
Justin wasn’t sure where else in town one could find Popoff’s work, at least not where you can see it without hopping someone’s fence, so I gave Popoff a call.
The first thing I learned is that his name is pronounced Lube, and just as Justin gives sign-posters a good reputation, Popoff makes tree carvers sound like the friendliest folks around. Right away, he promised to send me a list of his works that can be viewed publicly, within a 15- to 20-mile radius of Longmont (without hopping someone’s fence).
Here it is.
Four Dogs — 1501 24th Ave (view from Francis Street), Longmont
Wolf/ Dog — 3413 Bluestem Ave., Longmont
Three Bears in the Hollow — 36 University Drive, Longmont
Garden Party (Giant tiger salamander, frog, lady bug and snail) — 556 Grant Ave., Louisville
Two Squirrels — 6982 Greenwillow Court, Boulder (Gunbarrel)
Sitting Fox — 4871 IdylWild Trail, Boulder (Gunbarrel)
Great Horned Owl in Flight — 7421 Mount Sherman Road, Boulder (Gunbarrel)
Gnome and Animals — 2027 Pine St., Boulder
Mama Bear, Cub, Raccoon and Squirrel — 2401 Walnut St., Boulder
Buffalo — 1310 Folsom St., Boulder
Two Climbing Bear Cubs — 890 Iris Ave., Boulder
Tree Frogs — 720 Iris Ave., Boulder
Check these out (politely, please) or go to hollowlogonline.com. Popoff told me that his next onsite work will be at the Indian Tree Golf Course in Arvada.
I discovered in the Times-Call archives that Popoff earned a degree in molecular biology and worked as a sous chef in the Boulder area before turning to wood carving. While the “Friends” carving was made from a large cottonwood stump, “any tree has possibilities,” he said. “No matter how small it is. No matter the species.”
Vee, thanks for asking your question. Without your curiosity, I would not have had reason to make the acquaintance of these two fine gentlemen.