Each sculpture begins with a simple line drawing. This hand drawing is composed of smooth flowing shapes.
The drawing will eventually be transferred to a large piece of aluminum sheet metal. At my metal fabricators the designs are used to roughly cut the shapes from the metal.
After I pick up the metal from the shop the real work begins. Each element must now be shaped, beveled and sanded separately. This part of the process is incredibly physical and repetitive.Taking each element from the rough metal that comes from the shop to where it can begin the priming and painting process takes many hours and a lot of sweat.
It takes between 20-35 elements to compose one sculpture. Sometimes when I am creating several sculptures at once I am working on upwards of 70 separate elements at the same time.
Now each aluminum element must be primed on both sides several times before the final metal material can be applied. After the priming has been completed I can begin the application of the metal emulsion.
The iron or bronze material I use on the outsides of the sculptures are exactly that, a high concentration of the metal in an emulsion that adheres to the elements. It is necessary to protect the two metal elements from each other to avoid oxidation.
Curling each piece is a fun part of the process that requires a very large triple beam sheet metal press that forms the curves into each element using pressure.
I apply the catalyst to the final coat of metal emulsion while it is still wet and can modify each piece to pull out the different colors that occur naturally in the oxidation of the metals.
I can adjust the tightness or angle of curve or coil of each piece by hand as I work creating many different options to choose from. This part is pretty physical as well but its definitely fun.
The pieces are separated into the groups that will compose each sculpture. They are ready to be cleaned and painted.
Now each element gets its final coat of color. I like to use many materials on the inner surface such as gold leaf, crushed mica, raw pigment oil paint, ect....
Finally all of the elements are brought to location for installation. After installing the anchors and cables or chains I hang the elements piece by piece to create to the shape intended.