Riot Fest's Butter John Stamos Sculpture Made by 'Jay Z of Food Art'
HUMBOLDT PARK — If you're going to make a life-size butter sculpture of a celebrity, why not make it 90s TV icon John Stamos?
Riot Fest patrons voted to memorialize Stamos in the festival's "Riot Fest Butter Sculpture of Awesomeness," in which Stamos garnered 960 votes — almost twice the number of votes as the runner up, Oderus Urungus of the band Gwar, followed by the number three contender, Andrew W.K.
The sculpture is now on display at Riot Fest, where fans too young to have watched Stamos play Uncle Jesse on original runs of "Full House" gathered.
"How these things come about, I don't know," said Jim Victor, the Stamos butter sculptor. "I thought I was gonna do it on one of the headlining acts."
Instead, Victor, an accomplished artist who got his degree in sculpture in the 60s and began food sculpting in 1982, was asked by Riot Fest organizers to sculpt Stamos, per the actor's winning nomination.
Victor, 68, said he doesn't have an emotional connection to Stamos, unlike some, but he was up for the challenge of sculpting Stamos' famous head of hair. Some of his other food work — chocolate, cheese, butter, etc. — include busts of Mario Lopez, Mickey Rooney, Milton Hershey, Barack Obama and a chocolate stegosaurus, among many others.
"I've done a lot of butter sculptures," he said. "My wife and I do about 10 to 15 food sculptures a year."
Marie Pelton, Victor's wife, is a food artist in her own right, according to Victor. He didn't object to a comparison as the "the Jay Z of pop icon food sculptors" or the two being called a "power couple in the butter world."
"Yeah, I guess we are," he said. "But I don't think there are very many."
Friday's sculpture - which came to be known as Butter Stamos - is a crowd-pleaser, especially to those hoping for an appearance of Stamos' band, Jesse and the Rippers, a semi-fictional rock group that reunited in July for a set on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."
"I'm just excited to see Butter Stamos, because it's Uncle Jesse — that was my childhood," said Mia Marino, 16, who traveled with her four friends from west suburban Lombard for Riot Fest. "I would love to see his band, The Rippers ... I would cry, not emotionally, just out of laughter and pure joy."
Excitement grew outside the mini-trailer that doubles as Victor's mobile art studio.
"He hasn't aged a day," said Andrew Brown a festival-goer who traveled from Indianapolis. "My friends and I literally watched 'Full House' before we came."
Brown then recapped the episode re-run, "The Wedding: Part 2", in which Stamos' Uncle Jesse falls into a truck full of tomatoes after skydiving and is subsequently late to his own wedding.
"He forgot his mousse," Brown, 22, added.
Butter Stamos will be on display throughout Riot Fest as Victor continues work on the sculpture.