World's Largest Ball Of Paint

Rick Barker, left, an arborist, uses an incremental borer to retrieve a core sample from Michael Carmichael's giant ball of paint Saturday, March 13, 2004, in Alexandria, Ind. Carmichael, right, is having the core sample sent to the Guiness Book of World Records in London, UK to have his creation officially recognized as the largest ball of paint in the world. AP/THE STAR PRESS

Like Michelangelo and his Sistine chapel ceiling in Rome, fellow artist Michael Carmichael has been working on his masterpiece in Alexandria, Ind., for years.

The house painter returns from work each day to his studio to paint a puzzling spheroid -- over and over.

It started out with Carmichael's baseball. Then, 27 years later, it is covered with thousands of coats of paint.

It's a lot of dedication, as Bill Geist of CBS News Sunday Morning first reported on April 25, 2004. And it's paid off in the world's largest ball of paint. It's probably hitting close to 1,300 pounds.

"Some that know a little bit about art, they do call it an art piece," says Carmichael.

Local critics are impressed. And, unlike Michelangelo's frescoes, Carmichael's work is interactive. It seems like everybody in town has put on a coat or two, from the mayor on down. A couple commemorated their wedding anniversary by painting the ball.

Laura said her son has painted it several times.

"He was three the first time he painted it," says Laura. "My second son has painted it. And my daughter will paint it this year. She turns 3 this year. You have to be 3 to paint the ball."

Painting the ball and getting your name on Carmichael's wall is almost a rite of passage.

"My name is on there," says Laura. "And my maiden name and my married name. My husband's painted it also. My parents have painted it. My sisters have painted it. My brother …"

Ollie's painted the ball, and in return, Carmichael paints her stump.
  • Rome Neal

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