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Sunday, April 14, 2013

1001, 1002, 1003...

My latest sculpture project turned out to be small in scale in comparison to the others I've constructed over this semester. (Just scroll back over the last few posts) This time we were asked to make anything we wanted, with a 1000 pieces of something. I chose to work with "BBs" which are the tiny round metal balls that are used as ammunition for air guns. In my youth I spent many, happy days with an air gun in my hand. All of my previous sculptures have been given a title, but not this time. This piece is pretty abstract. I was inspired by the imagery of two things: Crop Circles and the giant termite mounds of Africa. I wanted to combine the two in a way that the side view would look like an abstract skyline, or city scape. While the bird's eye view would have it look roughly like a typical Crop Circle formation.

I purchased a plastic bottle filled with 6,000 copper coated BBs. The oval wooden base was painted, and then seven big bottles of Super Glue (the gel type), were used to join all the little BBs together. Laying the foundation went quickly as I could put down glue in a large area and then spread the BBs around. But after that it became a matter of putting one or two BBs on at a time. This was done by dunking them in a little glue-filled tin foil trough that I made, and then using tweezers to put them into place. It was not as tedious as one might think. It became rather like meditation after awhile. It also helped to have some music playing. There were portions of the sculpture where the dried Super Glue caused some dulling and hazing of the BBs. I wanted them to retain their original shiny metallic look, so the final step was to coat the entire piece, including the base, with clear nail polish. That part actually went surprisingly fast.

This piece is supposed to look unfinished. It is supposed to be a work in progress with implied movement. I asked my class if they thought the structure was being built up? Or was it disintegrating and falling apart? My classmates were split in their answers but there was agreement on the appearance of "activity". Look closely and you'll see where I was able to build a few "bridges" and stacks that appear to almost defy gravity. That was fun!

This thing is rock solid and can be turned completely upside down, and shaken, without anything falling off. It may not look like it, but my little structure contains at least 4,500 BBs!

I went on a rant once about the use of the word "untitled" in the fine art world. See that post here. I have since come to a better understanding of that particular practice. I see the point and the value of it now--however, I still feel it is something that should not be overused.

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