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Process of Sculpture

With art, in my opinion, the process and progression of a piece is almost as important as the finished piece itself. I became fascinated with this idea about a year and a half ago with my paintings because I noticed that there were elements of my arrow paintings that I loved and would ultimately be covered up and no one else would know it existed. Which could be a good thing for the artist to retain as a personal connection to the piece, but I love to give a more in-depth look at my work or at the very least keep a record of what I did. I can be very forgetful.

            Of all my sculptural work “The Key to My Heart” is still my favorite piece. I have a strong connection with it not only because it is a self-portrait and has a back-story that is very personal, but because of the physical work that I put into the piece.  I am very interested in the hand worked elements and old school methods of building.

           This piece came to me through finding a metaphor that I could sculpt. I thought that “The Key to My Heart” was so beautiful and I really wanted to make that a tangible item.  I wanted to show how easy it is to find your way into my heart. I though having it suspended at eye level in light restraints and a lock with the key in it would convey the message I was trying to send. I drew out a rough sketch of what I wanted the piece to look like. I envisioned a copper heart strung up in chains and held together with a big vintage lock with a skeleton key in it. When it came time to buy materials I hunted around in bay view for copper and other materials I would use. I found the right gauge metal and some light black chains to hold the heart. I also thought twine would be a good thing to have around it as well, maybe tied in a bow. Now it was time to begin.

            The first thing to do was to make the heart itself, which took two and a half weeks. My original idea was to have it completely 3D and have the seams where the two halves met held together by rivets. I cut out a heart shape in cardboard to have two identical halves to work with; although I did not realize at the time that that shape would change drastically through the hammering process that I was about to put it through. I used a ball-peen hammer and a wooden block with an egg shaped grove gouged into it to shape the copper heart. This was coupled with using the English wheel to smooth out the hammer hits further shaped the metal. I finished one half to a point that I was satisfied with it and began working on the second half and this was where I ran into trouble.

 I found that I could not do what I had originally planned. The seam would not match up and it would be to difficult to try to rivet so I modified my plan to cut the seams off and connect the two halves at three points using bolts. In the end I like the way this looked more so than what I have envisioned. What came next was suspended the heart and building the support. I bought a large u-bolt that looked to me like something you might find in a shipping yard to hold up the heart. So from there I wanted to build something that might resemble an old shipyard rigging made of wood.

What came out of that was this gallows style wooden structure with a large metal u-bolt on top. The u-bolt was brand new and so I did some work on it. I took it to the anvil and hit it with the same hammer I used on the heart. Then I did a light mist of black spray paint that I worked into the groves, made by the hammer hits, with my fingers. When the bolt was mounted I stressed the wood by rocking it back and forth to give the illusion that it had had years of use.

            The final step was to bind the heart. I realized the chain I bought would look too bulky and I didn’t want the piece to look so heavy. I opted to just use the twine and that gave a much more powerful interpretation of my idea. I can look back to the pictures I took and vividly remember the process and each step that went into the piece and the passage of time and the pitfalls that I had to overcome to make the piece better.


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DJ NAMP Logo

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Layne Staley - Pulpo

Layne Staley - Pulpo

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thenightshifter asked: Hi! thank you for the follow. Your art and photography are great!

Thanks so much!


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rbyncthbrtsn asked: hello, thanks for following! :D

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hi, thanks for reblogging my octoAbe! You have a great blog!


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