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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

the process of creating public art

When you stroll past a sculpture in the park, and you wonder how it came to be, you might look at it for a second and then shrug your shoulders. Because no matter what you think of it, it is there. And it is there for a long time... maybe forever. The following pictures illustrate one such project, that will probably not reside forever in its present home, but was certainly designed so it could be.

A major airport retailing company contacted me several years ago, looking for someone to paint a mural around a stuffed longhorn head, which would be mounted in front of a Stelzigs store at the Terminal D in Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport. After some discussion, and vainly shopping around for a champion longhorn head, they agreed to let me just sculpt a semi-dimensional longhorn that would be attached to the wall.

First I sent them several drawings, proposing different poses. The one above was their choice.

Then they asked for a sketch of an overhead elevation, that would show just how much the head would stick out from the wall. There were concerns about its accessibilty to passers-by.

After the design was approved, I welded up a steel armature. Every time I get a commission like this, I head out to my favorite place, Torres Wrecking Yard. I find and recycle steel elements that will work to make a super strong substructure.

Then epoxy putty is mixed and applied to the wire mesh on the armature. A thickness of about a half to three-quarters of an inch is plenty to establish a near indestructible sculpture, safe and durable for ages.

On this project, I made the final details on my front porch.

On delivery day, "Bevo" was loaded up on a lowboy trailer and towed to the Airport, where he was rolled in on a custom welded dolly.

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