This summer (2014) I was given the opportunity by the City of Seattle Department of Arts and Culture to work on a temporary installation in Occidental Park in downtown Seattle. The department enjoyed the installation I did last summer, “Welcome…Bon Jour” and asked me to participate in their ArtSparks program in Occidental Park. At first I was going to do another tape installation. I spent a few days coming up with various designs to put around the lamp posts in the park and even went down to the park and started taping off the poles so I would know which colors went on each pole. The very next day someone had randomly come by and taken down all the work that I had started. With the ease that it could be taken down I decided it was time to switch gears, do something bigger, more challenging and out of reach. I wanted to create sculptures. Something I had never done before.
My girlfriend Gina Coffman and I had been eying some large Styrofoam blocks that were left over from the highway 99 project and it was time to figure out how to acquire and use them. A few people down at the construction site let us know they were there for the taking. After finding a space to work I got started hacking away at these giant blocks. Handsaws, serrated knives, an electric Sawzall, files and an electric sander were all the tools I needed to sculpt. At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like this process. It was hard on my body and seemed to be very slow. I also tried out a resin coating that I had never tried before which sometimes took days to dry and sometimes only took a few hours. I couldn’t seem to get the mixture right and it was wasting my time and materials. So I decided to go with a simple solution and treat them like three dimensional canvas pieces. I coated them with Gesso, painted them and then coated them with a high-gloss wood acrylic to protect them from the weather. Once I had gotten the process down I was able to make the pieces much faster and things began to move smoothly.
Quite often in my work I start with a vague idea and flesh it out as I discover where the piece takes me and listen to where I am in life. I knew that I wanted to make pieces that looked like organic shapes growing on the lampposts. I had also been thinking a lot about relationships with people and what it takes for each of us to grow and have a positive relationship. I focused on the themes of Balance, Love, Integrity, Communication, Attachment, Relationship and Compromise. I also created two more pieces that may appear in another version of this installation that focus on patience and independence within relationship.
These pieces were on view from August 7, – September 30, 2014.
Special thanks to:
the City of Seattle Department of Arts and Culture,
Gina Coffman, Chris Rugh, Elijah Farrell and James