Overcome.

“Overcome” in Little Rock, Arkansas

“Overcome” installed in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“We are not afraid, we are not afraid. We are not afraid today. Deep in my heart I do believe. We shall overcome someday.”

On September 25th, 1957, nine brave schoolchildren walked into Central High School and became symbols for a nation. They symbolized the righteous striving for equality and justice that continues to this day. I have chosen to refer symbolically to this event in my sculpture “Overcome” to honor both these students and what they represent to us all as a society and a culture. Nine shapes begin, caged by a lattice of injustice and segregation. They rise up and come together, and, leaning upon their collective strength, break their bonds to soar free. Each form is an arrow pointing skyward in continued aspiration for the greater good and an indication that more is yet to be done. 

Here’s some shots of the installation:

Below are some more photos from the fabrication process.

Installation.

 

Loaded the Through the Looking Glass piece onto the trailer and hauled it to its home in Little Rock last weekend. The installation went flawlessly; good thing, as we had a surprise (to me anyway) dedication and press event 3 hours ofter we got the thing in place. Impromptu speechifying is not my strong suit, but damn them torpedoes, dog.
Below are some images of the whole shebang.

Through the Looking Glass – DONE!

 

Finito.

After a long week of cutting, grinding, welding, and bolting – the convex hexes are all attached to Through the Looking Glass. That means that I’m finally finished – the only parts still without a home are those for the base, and they need to stay off until the piece is installed. Heavy sigh of satisfaction; I really like this thing.

Below are some more action shots, showing the process for attaching the convex hexes. Those in the “field” and along the inner edge are a piece of cake; the ones that follow along the elliptical edge each have to be cut to shape and a custom rig for bolting them on has to be fabricated. I was able to get about 8 on per 8 hour day. Very labor-intensive and a bit hard on my hairline.

Now I just need to get the thing to Little Rock. Are you guys ready yet?

Out of the distant past: Through the Looking Glass.

I participated in a public art competition last year for the City of Little Rock, Arkansas. My proposal, “Through the Looking Glass,” was not chosen by the popular vote. Ted Schaal‘s cool piece “Open Window” was the winner. After all was said and done (and much celebratory libations consumed), the powers that be decided they liked “Through the Looking Glass” so much, they were going to raise the funds to buy it, too. So, in Little Rock, even losers can be winners. Here’s my description of the piece from the proposal:

“The predominant visual theme of the sculpture has to do with perception and the play of light on polished surfaces. The main body of the piece is an elliptical shape, the interior of which is broken out, revealing that the whole is made up of individual hexagons. The hexagons are further defined by another layer of metal hexes attached to the faces of the main body. On one side these hexes are flat, in essence creating a mirror. The opposite side has hexagons which are rolled to make each one slightly convex – also creating a mirror, but one where the reflected subject is broken up into multiple images. I hope to orient the piece such that the viewer sees themselves and the City of Little Rock reflected as a single, unified whole from one side, and as multiple individual images with the greater world as backdrop from the opposite side. The unified image of viewer and City reinforces the concept of the collective and our roles as members of the community, while the unique, disjoint reflections speak to individuality and the need for each citizen to be a sound and fully realized individual to both be fulfilled and a functioning, useful member of society.”

Render of “Through the Looking Glass” The boards for the competition.

The fundraising took a bit longer than they anticipated, but I was able to get underway building this thing just a few weeks ago. FormZ, Rhino, Draftsight, and Solidworks all came into play while designing and detailing the sculpture – which actually was a source of several problems for me. Juggling data between different programs is a fact of life in a digital 3d modeling pipeline, and the intellectual overhead of keeping track of just what geometry came from where can get overwhelming pretty quickly. Add in the passage of time, and confusion is the inevitable result. I took quite a few extra hours to check and double-check my work, so was able to get at least a minimal sense of confidence that the design would actually be possible. There’s nearly $10K just in stainless steel in this thing, so screw-ups can get costly fast.

Parts, parts, parts.

Said parts, realworldified.  Shiny.

Here’s part one of the progress so far:

Once I had the thing upright and all the welds cleaned up, it was time to begin adding he hexes.

So that’s where I’m at currently. Stay tuned.