Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lots Going On!

9/01/08 Monday
Granite base stones for both my Bronze and Stainless piece have arrived, so I measure and mark where the holes need to be drilled. (see photos) With a bit of hassling the head man, I establish that the holes need to be over sized to fit the pins, I think he was on the same page but stuff gets “lost in translation”, Great movie by the way, with Bill Murry.
I set to work creating another maquette that would act as an example for a “how to” install the two sculptures at the final park site. (see photos).

8/31/08 Sunday
Work at a stand still for me, the joints need to be re textured and it is proving to be too much for the over worked fiber glassing crews. I can do some …if I can get some tools, which is proving difficult, they are no where to be found and or are in use by someone, this can be frustrating. The crew will come by and work for a half an hour and then disappear, working then on another artists piece, this goes on and on through out the day.
Sooo close and yet so far way.

I needed to have a stainless steel signature plate engraved which required a trip way up town, our drive for this mission was a nice guy, Jiang wae, and we had interesting conversation along the way. Movie of Marko carving granite with a torch.

8/30/08 Saturday
WE had a morning trip to the “car park” site for the new sculpture project…cool opportunity. We were given the afternoon off to rest before a dinner at a wonderful Chinese restaurant that specializes in dumplings. All I can think about is, I need to come up with some ideas for the proposal for Thursday’s meeting at 3:00 in the hotel lobby.

T- Minus 8 Days and Counting.

8/29/08 Friday
Walk in the Park in the morning after I messed around with the texture again and got no where. Some where along the way during the discussions about matching the texture, I was told “no problem, we do all the time” my experience is when somebody says “no problem” you got a problem, and this time was no different. Match is important in the seams and section joints, it must flow and it was not to my liking and if done wrong would look worse. So time was needed to grapple with this problem…off to the park for some think time. (with Chun Hua) Great conversation, and some beautiful art and a sunny warmish day…can’t get better than that. (see pics, found a sculpture from Palau.) Went back to the studio and the dust in the main studio was too much, I left early and caught the light rail back home (hotel) Movie at bottom.

8/28/08 Thursday
Work at a stand still. I worked on the texture matching and was not happy with the way it was going…trying to find different tools that might work was difficult because they had all vanished, to where I don’t know but it was like starting over again. After lunch I left to shop, had to get out.

8/27/08 Wednesday
Fiberglass Totem gets assembled no longer in sections…cool!! Basically they used body putty very liquid and poured it on top of one section and set the next section on top (lined up of course) and the same until all completed, then it was a matter of filling the joints. The workers sort of dropped the ball on the texture match (it happened when I was at lunch) and it’s a bitch to carve body putty…frustration time… again!!! You must remember it’s the first time any one has seen the sections on the bronze piece together, up to this point most folks were not to impressed by four blocks of clay and had trouble visualizing the whole thing, and it has a bit of a different look to it from the stainless piece.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Visit to VW Car Factory (And a Job Offer)

8/26/08 Tuesday

We found out that the group would visit a car factory in the afternoon today, what the heck we all thought, we have sculptures to finish and we are running out of time. Some squawked more than others, trying to stay at the studio, but that would not be an option as the studio gate would be locked. This is not the way to the hearts of hard working artists with work to do…we were on the bus after lunch and on our way. People here in Changchun are very proud of the fact that they had the first car factory in China, and the company is known as FAW (first auto works). It was my first time to visit a car factory and it was very interesting, very clean and well organized (German know how and Chinese labor). There are no pictures allowed so I can’t show you any company secrets. Then we went for a photo op in front of the first actual factory and the head quarters of FAW (that’s the cool looking building) looks like a wing on top. There are not a lot of old buildings in Changchun, it’s a very new city and the buildings reflect this, at times its as if a group of architects have gone wild here…and there is no shortage of empty structures as well.
We pile back into the bus and are whisked off to an other site were a large board room had been prepared for a presentation…surprise another job offer to the whole group of artists. Another large park to be filled with sculptures and we are invited to submit designs…too cool!!!!
The group as a whole was very excited as you can imagine, and the dinner following the presentation was full of toasts and great food (naturally) and a buzz of anticipation. This is truly a fantastic trip full of opportunities.
The video below is "Dinner in French", I took this at the party/dinner.

"Dinner in French"

Featured Artists (They finished first)

8/25/08 Monday
There are some things that are more fun than others, and sanding fiberglass is not one of them. At times I ask myself why did I choose smooth surfaces for this piece? The mold makers did a pretty good job, but put some of the seams for the mold in some bad spots that mess up some of the key surfaces so it’s a lot of work to fix.
Some artists have finished with their fiberglass…painted and every thing. Pictured above is Yubi Kirindongo from the island Curacao (Netherlands Antilles), he is one of the coolest artists here at the symposium, I like his outlook on life and his playful approach to this work of art. The other artist who finished is David Evans from Norfolk Island, a giant shell form. He changed its scale to draw interest and attention to a normally small form by over sizing it. He told me that he hopes children who visit the sculpture park will climb on it.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Paparazzi, They're Everywhere!!

8/24/08 Sunday

First thing in the morning I’m asked to do an interview with the local newspaper, (bottom photo) this is a pretty common occurrence throughout the symposium. Not only are the staff photographers and videographers always on duty, but also TV stations with officials are always sweeping through the studio and interviewing artists with the help of their interpreters. The questions always include “What is the inner most meaning of your sculpture” and (during the Olympics) “Who is your favorite athletes and teams and sports events”. Some times things might not be going so well with my project and the news team might be asking “How has your experience been working with the assistance and helpers during this years symposium”? Well sometimes it’s hard to put on the game face and take your mind off the problem, diverting your focus. Chun Hua is very perceptive in “interpreting” my mood and tuned in to the working environment around the studio, she helps me calm down and says “can you smile, I want to see your very nice smile…Please” she’s so funny, and my mood changes. It can’t help but be that way, she is always there, almost a part of me, she takes her job very seriously and stays close by at all times, not easy to do when I‘m jumping from one sculpture to the next. With the interview over, I go back into the studio and check the molds and see that the fiberglass sections are out and stacked (see photo), the molds are waste molds, in other words, not saved, something I would not do, the mold is the only representation of our clay work and if the fiberglass has a flaw …you will have second chance to make another one from a saved mold. Not the case here, it’s all or none…anyway it worked thanks to the skill of the crew and now they need sanding and to then be stacked and glued together.
Sanding the fiberglass Totem section was started after lunch, by just me, the crew is in great demand to mold other works by other artists who are waiting in line. You need to remember the fiberglass sculpture is just temporary, used during the symposium as display, then another mold is taken off of it and used in the final substitution phase of the bronze casting. Back to sanding…I know, what your thinking, he should be wearing a mask, but in my defense, the air was moist and the dust fell to the floor, ok how about this, I gave my mask to “Carven Marvin” Chapman (top photo), one of the stone carvers from St. Kitts & Nevis (he needed it more) he stands in a cloud of dust all day long.

Walk in the Park

The buzz of the studio is a bit much some days and especially day after day...and a guy just has to get out of it. Much to my relief there is a comfort zone not far away, where the buzz disappears, and I can turn my thoughts inward. Today is such a day, I needed to reflect and focus some thoughts and good energy to someone very oldest child, Coral, she is twenty years old and so very far away from her main family. It's good and important to stop and think in a special way of those who are special to you. That's what I did today on my walk in the park. I saw the top most sculpture and said to myself "that's the one she would like" you see, she is smart as a whip and one of the most thoughtful people I know, a real contemplative person. That's her at the top, my beautiful and totally modern (but still little girl).!!!!!