Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sun Sculpture Series for Ocean Avenue in San Francisco Underway!

Sun Sculpture Series Underway!

To be sited on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco.

Wow has this been a long time coming. A little walk down memory lane below as we actually were selected for this project in 2004
and contracted with the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2005. I am not kidding. This is officially the longest running single (commissioned) project I have ever worked on.

This is/ was a percent for art project using Muni (public transportation system) funds in conjunction with an upgrade to the system along Ocean Ave. in the southern part of San Francisco. I was asked to propose a project and a location along Ocean Avenue. I had originally proposed two 10 ft tall sort of obelisk shaped sculptures with spheres on top, covered in mosaic. Something about the location was not going to work and after I was awarded the project I was asked to redesign and propose a different location for the artwork.

This morphed into a completely different proposal on my part and changed into three spherical shapes to symbolize suns. Ocean Avenue is really NOT sunny and very windy and pretty gray all around so I thought it would be good to get some sun down there in the form of art. So I designed three spherical sculptural forms to be covered in swirling warm colors.

One of the suns is 5' diameter, one is 4' diameter and one 3' diameter and they will sit on the crossroads of Ocean and Grenada (Grenada cuts in at an angle, making kind of a triangle). One Sun on each corner.

My final designs for the mosaic patterning on the surface of the sculptures were in an Italianate style, but funked up. I am now (lovingly) calling this style Nouveau Roman. Or maybe I should call it Roman Super Funk. That sounds a lot better- more professional.
Just kidding.

My designs were approved in early 2005. I am not kidding. And we are just doing these now. Talk about red tape - Jesus. You name it and it has happened.. permitting issues, insurance, the footings weren't right, engineering stuff, staff changes at the commissioning agency.. on and on.

But the good news is that we are on schedule to finish by the end of March (I hope) and have them installed. Exciting. These spheres have been sitting in our studio for literally years and thank God we have a big studio. They almost became invisible (if you can imagine) or like some giant gray furniture or a giant pile of laundry until the green light went back on and we were able to jump back onto this project.

Left: Naked spheres waiting in line

As with most of our projects, these designs are being built up in layers. First went on the mirrored swirls (essential) and then the cool color accent lines and then the "pods" of "flying saucers" as I like to call them. Now were onto the backgrounds. I am way into setting these squares. I am cutting them down using hand tools and a wet saw and they are not perfect squares. I an not really into working with prefabricated square tessserae. I like irregularity in my squares.

Below: Original design drawings and Right: Large Sun in progress

The forms were fabricated in a top secret location and are made of foam with steel and concrete and fiberglass. No I didn't make them myself - I hired this part out. Almost all of the tile being used is McIntyre (see next post for McIntyre commercial).

Below left: Concrete sphere with mirror swirls only
Below right: Here comes the sun

Below left: Detail of flying saucer pod shape
Below right: Medium sun ready for background.

Lafayette Mercantile Fountain Installed!

The rains finally gave us a window of time to get our mosaic fountain project fully installed the week before last. The install went very smoothly with only two of us. Awesome teamwork and thanks to IMA instructor Tracy Broback for her help during install!

We installed the bottom part one day and the sides and trim the second day and grouted the third day.
The ball on top I had already completed before the holidays.

Grout color was midnight blue (Custom) and we used Kerabond/ Kerolastic (Mapei) thin-set. The inside of the fountain had already been waterproofed before our install. The fountain is situated in a walkway area in Lafayette Mercantile and next to a new restaurant called Yankee Pier. They will evidently eventually have outdoor seating there right next to the fountain. I hope they have mojitos. (Speaking of mojitos, I have a recommendation for a great Cuban restaurant- but that is on my other blog..)

Anyway, it was a good project. Very fishy. Boy do people love an underwater scene. That is probably the theme I have worked with the most (for commissions) over the years. Water. Well who doesn't like water? I might put together a little book of underwater mosaics.

Left: Detail of side fishies and copper lights. Looking forward to seeing it underwater and lit up.

Below: Starfish cutting up side. I decided not to continue the background lay patterning from bottom sections to side sections, but it kind of looks like I did. Neat trick.

I can't really figure out how to get these photos to line up like I want (blogging is boggeling) so the rest are:

Full view from walkway above and detail of green fishy with swirling colors - oops where did that go? Oh well. it takes a lot of time to blog and I need to move on to the Project du Jour- which are a set of color drawings for some murals we are going to do downtown Oakland.

Production or installation assistance for this project by Nicole Bertoline, Tracy Broback, Joe Decker and Kim Larson.

***Next time I'll post our Sun Series sculptures in progress in the studio.***

All tile (ok 95%) for above project was high- fire, exterior grade made by McIntyre Tile. Sorry for the commercial, but our retail store, Mosaic Studio Supply (.com) at the Institute of Mosaic Art (.com) reps this line of tile. It is by far my favorite to work with and it has an amazing color range. And they created a purple especially for me that is my favorite color tile. I am using it as a background for one of my next projects.

My dog is bugging me for a walk. Over and out.