Day 24 (8/14/12)
The other night a friend dropped by for a bonfire and conversation soon turned to the sculptures on the bike trail. Although he loved the sculptures, he couldn’t understand how somebody could see a pile of junk and visualize a sculpture from it. I assured him that it was more about letting go and just building and that having a preconceived idea would only lead to frustration. I thought I would spend a little time today trying to analyze the development of a bike trail build. I always tell my students that creating abstract designs whether 2D or 3D is both the easiest and the hardest thing they will ever do. Although freed of the confines of representation, design now becomes all important, so while you are resting your sight you are depending more on your brain. That being said the first rule on the bike trail is “putting creation back in recreation” so basically it is all about having fun. Opportunity is perhaps a good place to start. Without some assessable junk and a place to build, you would have zilch. The better the materials you have the easier it is to develop an interesting sculpture. It is no accident that I continue to build in the same areas. That is where the materials are. The problem is that when continually working with the same materials it becomes hard to get out of a rut and build something new. Structure is the next thing I have to deal with. If you can’t get it to stand at least long enough to get a picture of it and have some people enjoy it you lose the motivation to continue building. Back when I used to put them up one day and they would all be knocked down the next I got a good idea of what that was about. At least it gave me a lot of practice. In the early years I worked a lot with tripods. They were very structural and offered a lot of different possibilities for design. This last year I have been trying to work more vertically since I no longer have the abundance of materials that I had before they redid the tracks and grabbed all the ties form along the route. Design is my next consideration. Since most of the designs are not held together in any way, balance both physical and visual becomes a huge concern. Within the confines of the material I try to develop a sense of space by cantilevering objects out from the center to add to visual significance. The element of surprise or the unexpected is also a concern. I go to great lengths to make things seem almost physically impossible, like the two huge rocks balanced on the top of the female figure in “American Gothic” or huge railroad ties balanced together in the now defunct “Down by the Corner”. Rarely do I actually set out to achieve any type of representation but occasionally I will start to notice something that directs me in a particular direction like the prow of a ship in the long gone “Boat Works” or the figures in “Giacometti” or “American Gothic”. That is why I still like to use stealth when building the sculptures. I like the idea that someone just happens upon something that wasn’t there the last time they went through. Evolution also plays an important role in the sculptures development. Often I will get chased away from a piece when I am halfway done with it and on the way home I will think of something I will want to do the next time I get back to it. Then there are the few mainstays that have remained essentially the same for years but have had a tweaking here or there to make them what they are today. Ultimately, there is no magic to it just a lot of hard work and fun.
|American Gothic Cat|
|What is left of "Down by the Corner"|
|New "Question of Balance"|