Fish & Thom art 2013
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The task was to take this ibeam that had special meaning for the client & do something creative. They painted the ibeam and buried it in the ground in a vertical position. It looked as though they had experimented with various colors. I liked the black and white motif and thought the separation between the interior and exterior space was a nice accent to the ibeam.

The ibeam is surprisingly heavy. The first challenge was an appropriate base that elevated the piece and complemented the lines. I wanted something simple and a presentation that did not detract from the space and lines of the ibeam.

I measured to have the piece stand straight, (perpendicular to the ground) yet a lean occurred. This happened primarily because of the weight as the ibeam strains against the metal bar supporting the art. I was pleased with the tension created from the slight angle. I knew this would be sensitive and contrary to the client's eye for perfection. In this case, a subtle angle would add a depth to the minimal aspects of the art which affects the viewer's perspective.

There are multiple angles to view the art. This is always the case for sculpture, but less obvious for the ibeam as it appears to have a front and back. The first choice was to decide which was the front, side & back. The piece was designed to slightly turn towards the windows of the house. This allowed viewers to see the interior space from the house and added an interesting angle from the yard. The base of the art sits off, untrue to the lines of the concrete base. This was not by design, but I LIKE the discomfort it causes. In regards to the client's perspective, this can be covered by ground cover or exposed depending on their preference.

The lines of the ibeam and space the interior creates were the focus for my work. The client initially painted the entire interior white. An architect friend described the difference as the interior space or a fascade. I reduce the white space to the "fascade" within the interior. This emphasized the lines: Interior and exterior. In essence the interior becomes the art and exterior lines of the ibeam a frame. This is when the need for an accent became apparent. In this image, an industrial, large bolt is inserted, off balance in the lower space of the interior space.

When I became focused on the interior of the ibeam, I knew the vertical space needed something bold that would pull the art together. It was obvious when considering the horizontal lines. The entire work of art is vertical. It was a natural complement to the vertical lines to add an appendage which extended from the piece. I couldn't get away from the phallic aspect of the addition, but following the lines and space created by the ibeam, it was an interesting and unavoidable addition to the art.

Now I imagine the interchangeable pieces of the art to reflect the mood or atmosphere of the environment. One accent is bold, industrial, conservative; while the other extravagant, expressive, sexual.
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The aspect of metal sculpting that I most enjoy is creating tools and supports that enable me to work on the piece. This support was designed to hold the art addition in a horizontal position. I had to move the art into my house as I painted because my shop was too cold to paint.

I permanently attached the wooden cone to a metal connector designed to be inserted in a hole on the ibeam. The wooden cone was given a heavy coat of primer since the art is installed outdoors. A bolt is screwed into the center of the wooden piece.

Considering the lines of the art, the base is painted white to blend with the fascade of the ibeam, and the cone a bright color that pops off the white background, framed by the black lines of the ibeam.

I chose to leave the back bolt unpainted. This is visible from the back of the piece, but still an important aspect when I consider the entire work of art. I would have preferred this to be colored, but knew while attaching the piece there was a high probability the paint would be marred. So, I chose to utilize this natural color. The base which supports the wooden cone is white which blends into the fascade and allows the lines of the wooden cone to begin at the edge of the ibeam where the black lines are apparent.

There is a constant struggle between creating an industrial, clean work, while negotiating a handmade work of art. There are aspects I embrace and not think of imperfections as mistakes, but when the lines of the work are important, then imperfections are less acceptable. In this case it would have been ideal to paint the wooden cone before attaching to the support. Unfortunately, securing the wooden piece to the metal support required an extreme force and the paint would have been damaged.

I imagine the client opening the wooden box in anticipation of a new addition to their art. I like the idea that art is the accumulation of many pieces of art. The wooden box expresses this idea and provides an opportunity to give the gift of art. The fact that this is a piece that adds to an already existing work of art, presented as a gift expands the art experience and gives me great pleasure being able to add a surprise element.
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Over the years I've crated a couple works of art and found I enjoyed the process of creating the ideal box to support and ship the art. This process is as enjoyable as creating the art. It is a presentation of the art; as a pedestal, and a fabricated cloak that expands the magic of the art, like a gift.

The additional piece for the art was delivered after the art was installed. I created this page to inform the client about the details AND provide directions how to remove the art from the crate. Hopefully installation will be apparent.

When creating the ideal crate for art, I must consider how the art will sit in the box, supports needed and the strength of the box to safely hold the art. The hole in the end was a nice solution that added an artistic element to the box.

Similar to the ibeam, understated elements make the art piece unique. I love the red dot in the box that is the tip of a larger work of art. The perfect container for a work of art.

The aspect of my crates which contain the art is they are never perfect. They are rough with untrue lines, that are strong, solid and about the space that contains the art and less about the superficial, artificial elements. The ideal scenario is to mail the crate so it will gain dents, scratches and scars that represent a distance traveled, as the art beauty is concealed and protected inside. In this case the crate is placed in the client's backyard as a surprise. An email with this link is the way the additional piece to the art is delivered.

To open the crate, a drill with the appropriate bit is ideal, but a phillips screw driver will work as well. The top is removed first and then the end with screws must be removed.

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