In late October Dave and I set off in a 22-ft Penske truck for southern California to install our latest two sculptures in two different juried exhibitions. First stop San Diego where we installed our piece Sprouted Bumbershoot in the Urban Trees 7 exhibition. This annual public art venue showcases 30 tree-like works within a half-mile stroll along the city’s busy waterfront. Each year the good folks at the Port of San Diego’s Public Art Department jury from a pool of artist submitted models. Each selected artist is given a 12 or 15 ft long pole, 6” in diameter, which can be cut and bent to your liking. From there imagination rules.
When I saw the call I immediately had a vision of an umbrella tree and did a rough sketch on the spot. I guess you could say I’m on an umbrella kick because at that time we were working on a sculpture of a woman carrying an umbrella (now on display in Bremerton, WA). It’s such a playful form and quite relevant to the northwest. But sunny San Diego? I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in a place where it hardly ever rains. It sounds alluring, but admittedly I know I’d miss the rain. If this tree existed in nature it would definitely be native to our area. When in San Diego, though, it would be an exotic species, and I hope San Diegan’s can appreciate its whimsy.
By far our largest work to date at 18 feet, we hired out the bending of the 6” pole and had it galvanized for rust prevention. One of the most fun parts was playing with color; combining tinted clear powder coat hues to achieve eye-catching transparency and a delicious lollypop look. We chose aluminum for the umbrellas to keep the weight down and to accentuate the color transparency.
A week later we found our way to Palm Desert to install our sculpture Shapely Two in the city’s biennial El Paseo Sculpture Invitational.
Every two years the Arts Commission selects 18 works of art to display along El Paseo Drive in the city’s prestigious shopping & gallery district. Our Shapely series is an exploration of color and form, and our first foray into pure abstraction. At 9 feet tall Shapely Two has a space-age attitude and stands ready to take off. I chose a juxtaposition of warm and cool powder coat colors — copper reflects the desert light while the sculpture’s metallic middle provides a cool respite as it changes from blue to silver depending on the cloud cover and time of day.
All and all a successful and fun trip! We are honored to be a part of these reputable exhibitions.
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