Artist Daniel Edwards has created a nude sculpture of actor Tom Cruise to commemorate his 25-year involvement with the Church of Scientology, which is complete with rather impressive genitalia that has people talking.
The 14-foot-by-3-foot statue depicts a naked Cruise, holding commemorative medals across his bare chest, and Scientology claims it had nothing to do with it.
A spokesperson for the church says the controversial religion took no part in the spectacle, telling Page Six the project is nothing more than a “publicity stunt and any claim to the contrary is false.”
The American artist behind the bizarre project, Daniels, responded to the church’s statement, saying the organization are “masters at publicity.”
“It’s an acknowledgment to [Cruise’s] 25-year commitment to Scientology. He hasn’t been able to stay committed to three different marriages, so for him to be committed to something so deeply, it must be pretty important,” he continued.
Edwards denied having any ties to the Church of Scientology, per the site, and is known for his past controversial works, which include a nude statue of Britney Spears giving birth and a topless shroud of Hillary Clinton.
The artist said he was not the brains behind the operation concerning the Cruise piece, but is staying quiet on who hired him to commission it.
“I’m just a hired hand,” he said. “I was requested to make this piece, but I’m kind of waiting for the other parties to come forward, although I’m not sure that’s ever really going to happen. I always assumed there was a connection [ between the church and those who commissioned the piece].”
Daniels also described warnings he says he received from those concerned about getting mixed up with the church.
“I never felt like I got any closer to the religion or any understanding of it through the whole process. I’m still very much an outsider. People are always saying I’d better watch out, but people are afraid of them, I guess,” he explained.
While the focus of the new piece centers around Cruise’s genitalia, generating quite a reaction online, Daniels said he had hopes that other details of the statue would have been more of interest.
“I felt that he’s being depicted proportionately and I’m not sure what to make of it,” Edwards said.
The statue will be displayed next month at a “pop-up Church of Scientology” near the group’s headquarters in Clearwater, Florida, but where it will ultimately end up remains a mystery.