The Andamooka Tiger

Cal the Stoner intricarved stone art

The Andamooka Tiger, is Cal the Stoner’s 15th intricarved Grampians sandstone artwork and the most intricate in his body of work to date.

Cal the Stoner and The AOFTA present The Andamooka Tiger grand unveiling at the Andamooka sculpture studio on Saturday 16th April. 2pm to midnight.

Entry tickets $15 include; all day and night snacks in the marquee. A complimentary drink. Photo at Cal’s iconic bar. An entry into the draw to win The Andamooka Tiger’s Andamooka rainbow matrix opal spare claw. Live music by stoner rock band Death by Carrot. Licensed bar and merchandise counter open from 2 pm till

Kinetic will be running a shuttle bus service between Andamooka and Roxby Downs. We’ll post the timetable here closer to the event.

This project was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, which supports the arts in regional and remote Australia and sponsors from the Andamooka community.

sponsors of The Andamooka Tiger unveiling Australian government regional arts and Country arts SA
sponsor of The Andamooka Tiger unveiling Regional arts Australia
sponsor of The Andamooka Tiger unveiling The Andamooka Observatory

The Andamooka opal showroom and underground museum

sponsor of The Andamooka Tiger unveiling Kinetic bus company

Andamooka opal fields tourism association

Brisbane stoner rock band Death by Carrot performing live at The Andamooka Tiger grand unveiling event
Stoner rock band Death by Carrot performing live for The Andamooka Tiger grand unveiling event.

poster for The Andamooka Tiger grand unveiling event 2pm Saturday 16 April 22 at Cal's studio

Cal the Stoner intricarved stone art artist portrait
Cal and The Andamooka Tiger, perfecting the gaze.

Cal started sculpting The Andamooka Tiger in the lively town of St Kilda in August 2018. It soon became apparent that the complexity and concentration required to finish needed a total relocation.

CaltheStoners 15th intricarved stone artwork The Andamooka Tiger
The Andamooka Tiger is tiger life-sized. As magnificent in stone as in the wild.

A move was made in March 2019 to the outback opal mining town of Andamooka. Here the sculpture began it’s metamorphasis into an Andamooka opal clawed, toothed, eyed and tail tipped intricarved stone artwork.

Though some of the individual stone faces are the size of a small coin they have a depth of 25mm (1 inch) to 100mm (4 inches).
Afternoon sun setting off the colour of the sandstone on a rearview of the now almost complete Andamooka Tiger.
The Andamooka Tiger’s colours glow in the afternoon desert sun.

No stones are a thin facade like a tile. Every stone has depth and strength.

Close up of the elaborate detail and intense colours in The Andamooka Tiger. Cal the Stoner. Artisan stonemason and creator of the intricarved sculpture style.

Andamooka rainbow matrix opals

The Andamooka Tiger claws and tail tip flash the dazzling colour spectrum of the Andamooka rainbow matrix opal

The tiger features; rainbow matrix claws and tail tip, matrix opal teeth and pupils, honey matrix opal eyes and a black matrix opal nose.

Observing the aptly named rainbow matrix opal. Movement of your gaze or changes in light can ignite a display of vivid flashing colour. The rainbow seemingly plays across the stone. A spectrum of light energy.

“The Andamooka Tiger update January 2022…Stonework finished. Testing first set of pupils”…

The Andamooka Tiger features honey potch opal eyes and matrix opal pupils.

Matrix opals supplied, shaped and polished by Griff Smoker.

The Andamooka opal field is one of the oldest opals fields in Australia. Discovered in the 1930’s.
Read more about Andamooka rainbow matrix opals
Visitors and locals in Andamooka drop by Cal the Stoners open-air Sculpture studio between 2-3pm each day with a cold beer. Observing the sculptures progress, catching up and providing the sculptor with some well earned time out from the intense concentration of the sculpting hours.

and it began…

Over three and a half years ago the structural metal base and rough skeleton were welded together. Sculpting could commence. Acknowledgements

Friend and collaborator Duncan Felton welding the base and frame for The Andamooka Tiger at The Theatre Research Institute warehouse in Williamstown, Victoria.
The Andamooka Tiger is sculpted around a custom built metal frame. Here you can see the sculpted stones rising over the frame.

A visitor was standing, looking over the tiger, “Ahh, so it’s got a tiger shaped mould and you just stick rocks to it.” He said. No, not quite. I corrected him, with surprising calmness. It’s like this…“I needed a stone piece that would change a stripe in a certain direction. After a hunt, I found a stone which held just the right lines of red and cream-gold. I then needed the stone’s colour lines to do what I wanted them to do and for it to fit tight with the surrounding stones. So I studied the stone. Hand shaped it. Purposely carving shave by shave until the piece contained the correct linear detail to continue the image pattern. In the right size and shape to lock into place.”

What’s seen of a stone might be small, but it goes in the depth of 80mm or 3 inches. 

Drawing on the artisan trade of dry stone. Cal is able to deliberately create stone artworks that tell their own story.

Stonemasonry is one of the most ancient artforms in our history and to this day the skill relies almost solely on the stonemason wielding a hammer and chisel. Even if modern day building codes and power tools come in handy from time to time. It’s very much a labour of love. However we’re not too sure if those ancient dry stone wallers ever daydreamed about sculpting a life-size tiger as they fought off wild animals, farmed ‘not mashed grain for dinner again’ and built lovely walls.
8,000 hours of intense concentration later and…

Cal sculpted relentlessly for over three years. In February 2022 he completed The Andamooka Tiger.

There is nothing coincidental nor accidental about this sculpture!

Each blow of the hammer on the chisel. The form and feature of every stone is intently studied and hand crafted by the sculptor to serve it’s piece within the puzzle.

Cal the Stoner artist at work on The Andamooka Tiger
“A tender moment, something very rare with Andamooka tigers, but we’re pals and he had something in one of his eyes. Eyes that have a way of commanding your attention when they’re looking at you.”

Andamooka rainbow matrix opals

Friend and collaborator Mary Ames is creating a painted scenery for The Andamooka Tiger base. To be ready in time for the unveiling.
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Follow as Cal posts live from the Andamooka open-air sculpture studio