Monday, March 31, 2014

Sculpture and Productivity

The hardest part of carving is showing up and working until it starts to actually look like art.
That can take a very long time.

Music helps sustain my focus. I've been listening to Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances and his Trittico Botticelliano. It's joyous, which helps when I'm discouraged by how slow this process is.

Also read Helene Wecker's The Golem and the Jinni,  a fantastic novel set in New York in 1899.
It's a wonderful tale.
The story was meaningful to me because it reminded me of the universality of a creation myth. 
Working day after day on a log, carving it into looking like a woman I met forty years ago,
 feels like summoning not just her but my younger self as well.
  Sculpture is not a golem, but creating either requires tremendous will, skill, and faith.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sculpture and Michelangelo's David

So much contemporary art is appropriation, i.e. theft.
Is nothing sacred? Or original?

At least these versions of Michelangelo's David makes you see the original art in a new light.

Does the concept, altering one of the world's most famous sculptures to reflect increasing obesity, count as art? Or it simply clever advertising for Deutscher Olympische, McDonalds, etc?

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sculpture and Barbie

Having grow up in Southern California, I know the cultural power of blonds at the beach.
That makes artist Annette Thas's giant wave of over 3,000 blond Barbie dolls all the more engaging, funny, creepy. It's sculpture that has many interpretations as viewers.

Created for Sculpture by the Sea in Perth, Australia.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sculpture and the TriMet Carving

It's time to carve her features!
Carving is an odd balance of BOLD, .....cautious, BOLD, ......cautious, BOLD, cautious...........

Some days you Boldly decide "It will be so!" to move your project forward.
Next day, you cautiously evaluate the damage that egomaniac has created and see what can be saved...

After establishing the profile, it's time to determine where her ears will be.
That tells me where her jawline will be.
 Here she is standing! 
 My assistant and I stood her up so I can study the carving from a distance while doing other chores,
I'm also redesigning the studio landscaping 

More work has been done on the left side of her face. 
It looks like she's winking at me.
I need all the encouragement I can get!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sculpture and Drawing

I also visited Luise and her daughter Robin.
Luise's mother was the model for carving I'm making for TriMet.
After years of owning pugs, there's a happy mutt in their home,
a terror of a tiny terrier named Madeline.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sculpture and Drawing

When I was young, I drew as an escape, to avoid the real world.
These days, I use my art to stay present and see the world as it is.
There's a lot to see.

Here's some drawings made on a recent trip to So. California.
Visited my sister in law and nephew. 
Robby is 6 feet 5 inches, though I've never seen him stand.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sculpture and Aganetha Dyck

Humans are not the only species to make sculpture.
What about an art collaboration with another species?

Aganetha Dyck has been working with bees to combine the sculptural talents of bees and humans.

Aganetha Dyck: Guest Workers from Confederation Centre of the Arts on Vimeo.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sculpture and Motivation

So true. Ira Glass on creativity:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sculpture and Norway's New Memorial

 " after Auschwitz is barbaric." 

It is the lack of critical thinking behind most memorials that turns good intentions into banal, sentimental kitsch. Bombastic sculpture trivializes and adds insult to injury.

Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg was selected as the artist to create a memorial to the 87 people murdered by a right wing extremist in 2011. His proposal makes the loss of so many young lives hauntingly visible.

Photos © Jonas Dahlberg Studio
The names of those who died are cut into the opposite wall. Untouchable. The void is not a great distance but still a chasm between the living and the dead. The water is both itself and a powerful metaphor of the River Styx and the passing of time.

I think it would be just as powerful using concrete, without the fancy granite. The high polish and variations of color in the stone make reading any inscription more difficult.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sculpture and the little tree

Good ideas are a dime a dozen.
Making one idea into reality can take years.

Here's my first iteration of the little tree. 1980? The idea is clear but it was put aside......

30+ years later, here is the revised little tree, below.
The idea has grown, circles within circles, day and night transitioning.
  Is it possible to cut in paper a gestalt of a humble landscape that feels transcendent?

There's aesthetic learning and there is the technical learning curve. 
The ability to cut complex designs into metal means the design needs to be modified 
for mechanical laser cutting. Those sharp acute angle cuts are expensive 
because the laser has to back out of each cut instead of curving around and continuing.
Also pointy paper can't hurt you, but sharp metal projections can.....

That crisp look that comes naturally to a hand with a razor blade needs a softer radii
 for production. The question: does that happen when I make the next papercut - 
cutting softer corners or does it happen digitally, in the vector drawing stage?
And how much will that change the look of the image?
All to be discovered with the next iteration.

Below is a cardboard model for a gate with a fabulous faux iron patina.
It fooled my metal fabricator!

Here's how the metal panel looks in good light.
The art is an object, with sun light it becomes an environment.

And below what they looked like in the finished Yard Garden and Patio garden.
The no-contrast black on black was a big disappointment. That lasted the 3 days of the show. 
The show over, I realized that YGP was the incentive to make them, 
now to search for their ideal setting.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sculpture and the last of the garden shows this year.

Another Garden Show?
You've got to be kidding.

After all the careful planning and hard work getting ready for a big show, and the show itself,
there is the work of take down.
It's a bit like to sack of Rome.
 Everyone hurries to break down their display booths as fast as possible, load up, and go home to dinner and a hot bath! Forklifts, hand carts, people carrying stacks of boxes all going towards the same exit. Only good humor keeps it from turning into a riot.

After two weeks of back to back garden shows, I'm going to take this next week slowly.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sculpture and 2014 Yard Garden and Patio Show

I spoke with garden designer Linda Meyer months ago about new art for her Yard Garden and Patio  garden. How would my paper cut, the little tree, look as a 40 inch square steel panel?

It's been a an expensive learning curve.

The sunflower panel was pretty straight forward. But on this project, because of the scale and the detail involved the laser factory used nitrogen instead of oxygen. That doubled the price. An oxygen cut would have melted the metal. And instead of a shiny surface, there is this dull nickle coloring that has no contrast. No time for powder coating. Get the spray paint......
 Once there is a decent contrast, I'm pleased with how it looks.
 In fact, I love it. It's like an illustration for a dream or fairy tale.

With many different people working on a big display garden, there are things you can't predict.
The circle on the left is centered on the entrance to the women's bathroom. Not an ideal focal point. But it has better contrast of light with the dark panel than the panel on the right that looks into the neighboring garden.

A three day garden show takes months of work!