Wednesday, August 18, 2010

12x12 Artist: David Phelps

David Phelps, Warren Watch, Bronze, Steel & Stone

Q: Tell us how you created this piece.

Phelps: Warren Watch was created specifically for OVAC's 12x12 show and combines cast bronze, steel, and stone. The process began with consideration of the size criteria. I conceived of the best sculpture I could create utilizing the resources available in my studio. My desire was that the sculpture be as close to 12"x12"x12" as possible.

I sandblasted and chemically cleaned a group of heavily rusted steel tapers to prepare them for welding and final finish. After welding them to a steel hemisphere the assembly was cleaned and sandblasted again, then blackened with gun bluing, and finally sealed with a clear lacquer.

The stone component was carefully carved by hand to fit the steel hemisphere. The heat generated by the welding process slightly distorted the steel shape thus necessitating hand fitting the stone.

The bronze rabbit was drilled and tapped from the bottom to facilitate blind mounting to the stone with stainless steel screws. Three holes were drilled in the stone to allow the bronze rabbit to be mounted and to allow the stone to be secured to the steel sphere.

Warren Watch is an archival piece constructed in a manner that will allow for full disassembly in the event any patina or sealant repair would be necessary in the next few hundred years or so.

The title came from Patty's [Phelp’s wife] reaction when she first saw the piece. She loved it and said "It looks like he's guarding something." As soon as she said that I envisioned him guarding his warren, and thus the title. (Patty also wanted to know why we don't get to keep the best pieces for ourselves.)

Q: How is this work similar to or different from your other artwork?

Phelps: It is similar to recent work in that I'm combining bronze figurative elements with fabricated steel elements. It's different than most of my work in that the concept for the imagery begins with the size constraint of being approximately 12"x12"x12". It's also different than most of my recent work in that I'm combining stone as an integral part of the piece.

Q:  In what upcoming venues might audiences be able to see your work?

Phelps: I will have work at the 30th anniversary "Hands-on Art Show" Friday Nov. 19, 5-9pm & Sat. Nov. 20, 10am to 5pm, 915 NW 17th Street, OKC, OK 73106

I will have work in an animal themed show at Hahn Ross Gallery in Santa Fe which opens Friday, November 26, 2010.  I also have artwork at the gallery on an ongoing basis. The Gallery website is:

My work can also be seen at:

I have work on an ongoing basis at: 
Vail Village Arts, Vail, CO
The Vickers Collection, Aspen, CO
The Vickers Collection, Beaver Creek, CO; &
Gallery of Fine Art, Sedona, AZ

View and purchase artwork by 150 Oklahoma artists September 25, 2010 at the 12x12 Art Sale and Event.  Buy tickets, read more and see pictures at

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