Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Public Art in Process: Eric Wright (2 of 3)

From concept to completion, artist Eric Wright will overview preparing his recent public art commission for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority in three blog posts. See the first post here
Concrete contractor slices Jersey Barrier for Eric Wright's sculpture
Guest author: Eric Wright

The “Barrier Relic” is constructed from two – very heavy and very strong - Jersey barriers and over two thousand pounds of concrete (it’s not going anywhere!). The skills required for its construction were beyond my use of concrete in my studio work, so contractors were necessary to bring it to life.
Concrete contractors pour the base for Eric Wright's sculpture
Concrete contractor grinding the base for Eric Wright's sculpture
It took two fellows, with a truck full of tools, two days to slice one of the barriers into twelve pieces.  It then took another crew two weeks to create the nine foot circular base. Concrete is a physically demanding medium, and it was a great experience to watch professionals turn it into a piece of art.
Fabricator building base for Eric Wright's "relic" 
When the onsite base was complete, the relic became the focus at the fabricator’s shop.  A three week steady pace came to an abrupt slow down as the fabricator is a full time oilfield welder who does other jobs after his regular seventy to ninety hours a week.  Still, talented professionals who know what they’re doing can get things done!
Eric Wright's relic with patina
Once the relic had its patina and was delivered, a less than enthusiastic response from site personnel revealed the dull, rusty relic did not match the smooth, shiny base.  Yikes!!  Thankfully, this project is a mentorship, so Lynn Basa did a great job guiding me toward a solution of making the relic’s surface match that of the base.  Getting that done was really a couple hours’ work, yet it took about a month and a half to fit into the busy contractor’s schedule.
Medallions ready for placement at Eric Wright's sculpture
After the artwork was complete, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority personnel and the concrete contractor created the short approach with granite medallions for Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the State of Oklahoma.

Throughout the project, I was thankful for a prior career in commercial art, since the artwork is really for someone else besides myself.

See a full slideshow of images from his process here

Learn more about the Oklahoma Public Art Mentorship, other artists' projects and Wright through this Art Focus Oklahoma article or on this page

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