Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Beast Within

There's a reason I have been remiss in posting a recent blog. A very good one. Sometime around mid-may, when I first began this blog, I got a message from fellow artist Michael Christopher who was asked by gallerist Kirk Hopper of Kirk Hopper Fine Art to make a "light" sculpture for his sculpture courtyard.  Michael needed a hand and needed space with which begin construction. He had a vision!

I share an 8,000 sq ft warehouse studio in West Dallas with 4 other artists and we have at our disposal, a 3,600 sq ft of indoor/outdoor common space where we store steel, reclaimed tree wood, billboard vinyl, hydraulic lifts, reclaimed metal and various other future objet d'art.

With roughly a 3-week turnaround, we began welding the first steel rods to reflect the footprint, which at this time was roughly 13' by 3' in a somewhat paramecium-like shape (thank you high school biology class). The silhouette of the piece we knew was going to be similar to Michael's past pieces, inspired by Mesmamerican steles.

As the rods were bent, cut and welded, the shape took form and the "fin" silhouette became apparent and we playfully assigned the notion that this began to look like the Egyptian pyramid on the back of the US dollar bill with the Latin inscription "Novus ordo seclorum" - or "New World Order" - on the verso. Though we didn't want to be too literal in its narrative, it was a precursor to its title as well as helped us to filter through a lens with which to accept happy accidents.

If you know Texas weather, you're aware that our summers are brutal. Add a long-sleeved shirt, leather gloves, jeans, steel-toed boots, a welding helmet and a white hot welding arc, and you have perfect impetus to buy stock in Gatorade. But we persevered and built what became the skeletal structure of "The American Beast".

The next blog will be my reflections on the process, followed by mid-construction photos. Stay tuned.

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