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Public Art

Just after dark on Wed the 27th an email came in from a fellow SLC artist, informing me that his neighbor had just recovered a pair of my trout that were lying in the street/median after an apparent hit and run by a car. This is the same group that was hit by a car previously, and I headed up to see how the triple group faired. The triple group was hit as well, but the ground was soft from our recent weeks of rain and they were just pushed to a 35 degree tilt- all the welds held and they weren’t dented this time. There was still a stream hoop from the missing pair topping one of two shoved-over poles, the hoop was in good shape save for the missing everything else. There was a lot of car debris: headlight, grill bits, trim, etc. It must have been a newer car with the updated pedestrian safety standards, saving the sculptures from the beating they had taken a few years ago. I headed over to the rescuer’s house, she met me at the door telling me a pair of young fellows had helped her lift the sculpture into her SUV. Her husband helped me move the pair of trout and their remaining hoop into the truck- and easy shift across.

While still up in MT Jann had thought maybe I could create a big version of my rough tri-color Collie, Nora. When I returned to SLC Jann told me she had put Nora on the mural list, so to really make her. I liked the collage process, so after I finished Beckanne I drew up Nora to scale and banged out the collage. At this point I thought I was done. I had been working flat and this was the first time I’d hung it on the wall. I reworked her eyes, delineating the orbits which helped clarify her personality- not pictured.

I left the little clock face in her black saddle as a fun little detail.
Her nose is a dog head. One eye is a man’s head, as she is always keeping her alpha in sight. the other is a vase and fruit. Her mask is made of tophats.
The white tip of her tail is Cezanne, her legs are Degas.
Her ruff is a fluffy zoo of artists.

Both Nora and Beckanne will be digitally photographed and the entire mural of more than 200 people. They will be oddballs, as most are done in a “street art” method of 2-toning a photograph and making stencils to spray paint. All figures and portraits are then arranged as digital tiles, then it will all be printed out as an enormous banner and affixed to a building exterior here in SLC. The theme is a celebration of SLC women through history.

My friend Jann Haworth is leading a group-made mural (over 200 people involved). Years ago I helped get another group mural of hers in SLC started (when I was director of SLC’s youth arts programming), and did 5 figures on it: SLC Pepper. It was a re-imagination/update of her grammy award winning album cover for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Jann asked me to make one of the large figures for the front row of the new mural. I drew it out while in Montana at 2/3 life size, then had Kinko’s enlarge it to the mural jumbo scale.

A studio view of all the drawings leading up to and including the collage form. This view of the collage is the only shot that the camera didn’t distort the legs into tree trunks. When I dropped her off to Jann she confirmed that the photo had added at least 20 lbs.
Nearly 9 foot tall enlargement of the drawing on the R.
Beckanne Sisk of Ballet West, May 2013 She is now a (the) Principal dancer in the company.
I hung the image at the wrong angle, and tilted this image to about the correct gesture.
She is made from an Impressionism coffee-table book, and her hair is of Remington bronze figures.
E stands in for scale.
detail low. Cezanne, Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Gauguin, Renoir
middle; same artists as above plus Cassat, Seurat, Remington,
The extended arm is all Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte.

I just realized I did more work on her after this shoot, but anyway…Jann tells me it is “pure witchcraft”.

Sunday morning re-installation of Bonneville Upstream.

My friend Jed arrives with his handy trailer. This will make 21 fish he has helped me install.
Jed backed his twisty little trailer all the way inside the shop, all in one smooth line from the street. Impressive! The upright 2×4 is his steering guide.
I levitate the triple group of trout while Jed backs the trailer underneath.
Trout settle down, making ready for the next group.
Safety Comes When Man says, “Attach the hoist before freeing the sculpture.”
My neighbor, Chris, drops in to lend a hand. The three of us removed the trout months ago after their auto/ichthyes incident, and we will also put them back in.
Lashing down frisky fish for a ride through Sugarhouse.
We’ll be moving upstream about a mile, and trout need to move upstream to breath. This should wake them up from their long dormancy in the studio.
The Bean Whole fish transport; fueled by Jed’s craft-roasted coffee.

The rest of the morning was up at the intersection of 2100 S 1300 E, with the long turn lane still closed for street construction. This gave us a nice safe space to park and work from. The City’s public art coordinator, Kat Nix, brought hardhats and safety jackets for the guys, and pitched in with the work. The director of Salt Lake City’s Arts Council, Felicia Baca, also stopped in, joking around at how I used to be her boss back when I ran Global Artways for the City. After Jed and I had dug out the holes and installed the paired group into concrete footings, Chris made a quick trip up to help us lift the triple group into position and slurry in the concrete. Everything went swimmingly, and the trout are happily in the current again.

On-site at the intersection in the closed left turn lane. The spot just in front of the oncoming car is where they will go.
We have loosed the fish from their tie-downs, and they are ready to leap into place.
Kat keeps on eye on them while I get the fish food.
Professional fish wranglers, like Lion Tamers of yesteryear, know the essential function of a bristling manly mustache when confronting The Wild.
The pair-group jumps right into place and gets their treats.
The triple group jumps next, sassing for treats.
Jed and I stand about while the concrete cures.
They are excited to be back out in public again, among the rushing cars.
Once the concrete sets, we spread the soil and ground cover so everything looks tidy.
Another good day of fishing.

Yesterday the pair received stainless poles, today the triple got theirs.

Today I levitated the pole into position with my mind. Why didn’t I think of that sooner?
Triple with double poles. Welding took a bit more knowhow today; filling gaps between the sculpture and the pole by building up wide platforms with fat bead on the sculpture, then switching style for a strong connection to the stainless- all with the same too skinny rod, and always in an awkward crouch that makes running the foot pedal tricky.

This morning’s email had a message from the City; the shattered poles have been removed from the sculpture site and re-installation is game-on. Time to get the Trout on their new poles!

The shop becomes a fishbowl again. Time for the fish to sprout legs- stainless steel poles.
The clamps and rulers and sticks are how I establish Level & Vertical when the trout are suspended upright. Here they are suspended on their sides, with the stainless steel pipe aligned to the base of the stream hoops. I thread the pipe through ladders to establish Horizontal & Parallel from the upright measure of Level & Vertical.
Then the poles are welded in place. A bit more than half way around.
I welded the new pole to the original pole, after getting them to seat together. The force of the accident is apparent here, as the the old pipe is crushed up into the steambed form.
Almost flipped over enough to weld the underside of the pipe. The hoist was blocking the rotation, so down it came and the webbing was refit, then it lifted clear.
The pair is finished up and tied off to the float beam and its support leg, making space for the bigger group.
This rowdy bunch.
Rolled onto the side after establishing Vertical & Horizontal.
The force of the accident really pushed the bronze around. This is as close as it could come back, as the positioning of the trout are what hold the group together. The portion of pipe to the left will be cut at an angle to butt up the adjoining pipe in alignment with Horizontal & Parallel. Tomorrow.
The pair is cleaned and waxed.

All welds, road rash & dings, car paint & rubber bumper transfer have been turned back to fish skin and stream stones with grasses.

After adding in new patina at welds and dings, the sculpture is left to warm in the sun. Once toasty, I paint on a layer of clear wax, let it cool, and buff it off. Then warm it in the sun again. This view shows the rear fin’s weld to the hoop, and the front fin’s weld to a stream stone.
Another view of the front fin connected to a stream stone. A tan stone behind the fin is making it a bit visually confusing.
The rear fin from the opposite side. This weld is the only connection to this stream hoop, so it is hefty all the way around.
This fin had been ripped nearly off, and was clapped against the fin on the other side.
The third main anchor weld is the fin connection to the front hoop. A section of the stainless pipe is visible under the rear hoop, it’s weird angle shows the force of the impact. It will be cut away and replaced.
Happy to be clean and waxed, the pair will return to the studio to wait next to their stainless steel poles.
The knocked apart pair finally were released for me to reassemble.
They had some boo-boos.
And they had some ouchies.
Magical salmon glow underlays all fish welds.
There were three broken welds that joined the two fish. One.
Two.
Three.
The fish are tied down to my new hand truck, awaiting patination fix.
Swimmingly is how they are doing.
This is a recurring nightmare for a dented bumper somewhere out there.