Monday, January 17, 2011

Working with a team of artists...

On Saturday, I had the awesome opportunity to collaborate on a really cool project. Every year, a thousand area 3rd graders visit a local art center. The students get a chance to see the show, make some art to take home and also help create some sort of large-scale project. Last year, students painted a patch of some huge murals, this year, they will be helping create an outer shell for a large-sculpture.

The education committee at the art center, (me included) came up with the idea last fall and recruited a local artist to help build the armatures for the sculptures. It was decided that we would construct 3 armatures of welded metal covered in poultry wire and then the students, over the course of 3 weeks, a thousand kids would help cover the surface of the wire by tying, wrapping and weaving bits of paper, fabric, cardboard and other materials to the surface. At the end, we hope to gesso or modge podge a final layer so the sculptures can stand outside.

The sculptures are designed to resemble artwork from the current show that is in the gallery. Linda Mitchell is a truly inspiring artist. I love animal paintings and her website does not do her work justice, her work is seriously so beautiful. If you are in need of some new inspiration, definitely check her out.

Saturday, under the smell of the melting welded metal, and the sound of the an iPod set to shuffle, we worked at the amazing studio of another artist, Jorge Leyva. Just to give you an idea of how cool this studio is....here is his painting studio....
Here is the breezeway connecting his painting facility to the sculpture garage:


And here is the place where all the magic happens:


And by magic...I mean this:

 Taking a painting, making a sketch.....forming the metal and connecting the pieces....
 To make something great.

I am in awe of artists who can take an idea and make it totally 3-D.

Jorge constructed the metal skeleton of the form by welding together rebar, while the rest of wrapped the chicken mesh around the form to give it some bulk. We zip-tied the wire to the metal form, and after many scraped fingers, ripped thumbnails and some blood, we had finished the elephant on the box....and the body for the rhino. Jorge is still working on the head. He is also going to create a large dog so that we will have 3 sculptures for the 3rd graders to cover.
Here is phase 1 of the sculpture project. It was so much fun getting dirty and working in a real artists' studio. I almost don't want to waste these sculptures on little kids...I want to help finish them myself!


 The elephant-in-a-box in all its glory.
 Josie Mai and me. Saying 'I helped wrap the head' is a little like saying 'I carried a watermelon'....yeah, I helped, but she totally made this thing happen, I was a little more like the errand boy/assistant to the regional manager.
 The 3-D chest of the Rhino.
 The hot boots.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of this project. The kids will be visiting the art center starting next week. I can't wait to see these finished.

Find new inspiration from these artists: 

Linda Mitchell
Josie Mai
Jorge Leyva

Please leave a comment with feedback if you check out any of the artists linked above ;-)

1 comment:

Art Project Girl said...

Can't wait to see it finished! I love the watermelon reference:)