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Saturday, April 9, 2016

"Nut Job"

Since the early days of the the University of Houston some eighty plus years ago, there has been a very large and well established squirrel population. Generation upon generation of squirrels living in very close proximity to the humans on campus has made the squirrels quite tame. Students are not supposed to be feeding the squirrels but people find it hard not to interact with them.They are very cute and entertaining after all. Unfortunately most people hand-feed the squirrels junk food. This has made the squirrels into fat little beggars. In some cases the squirrels feel a sense of entitlement and become rather daring and aggressive to the point of stealing food off the plates of students as they eat outdoors.

I made this piece to honor the relationship we have with these creatures and to encourage the students to feed the squirrels healthier stuff.  Nut Job is carved Styrofoam covered with sunflower seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts, and corn.

I obtained permission to place Nut Job in the courtyard of the Fine Arts building. Lots of people and squirrels cross paths there. My hope was to document the squirrels consuming the sculpture's surface  and create a time-based piece in the process. No luck. Too many people and not enough squirrels. After graduation I might put Nut Job out in a park somewhere and finally be able to witness it's slow demise.

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