Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mustang Project. How do you go about sculpting a monumental Mustang? Part V: Installation and unveiling

Rubber Mold removal.

Once I finished sculpting the Mustang in clay, it was time for the foundry to make a rubber mold and begin the lost-wax process. Casting any sculpture in bronze is a monumental undertaking and I will not try to explain it here. Suffice it to say: the Mustang's tail and mane presented many difficulties above and beyond the norm, but New Arts Foundry rose to the challenge and did a wonderful job.

 On installation day the monumental bronze Mustang arrived onsite atop a flatbed tractor trailer; everyone present was thrilled at the first glimpse of the finished sculpture!  However, shrouded in blankets as the crane lifted the sculpture high into the air, we never had a clear, unobstructed view of the finished work.   I would love to tell you that the holes were pre-drilled, we placed epoxy inside, and then simply lowered the sculpture into place. 

Bart checks the tail fit.

However, this was not the case. I arrived on site at 7:30 a.m. and was not able to leave until 11:00 p.m. It was a very, very long day, but at the end, the Mustang was secured atop his pedestal, and a giant wooden crate was lowered into place to hide him from prying eyes...

Dedication day! It began with a drum line and cheerleaders. The massive wooden crate was long gone and in its place was rainbow colored fabric whipping violently  in thirty mile per hour winds. Dignitaries from state and local governments were present alongside Stevenson University's top brass and other VIPs. Thank you's were given all around, a few short speeches were made, and then it was time to see if the wind would allow us to unveil the Mustang. None of us had yet seen it in the light of day.

 Even after all these years, I am still nervous when introducing a new sculpture. Will people like what I have done?  Will the wonderment and admiration I felt in the company of wild Mustangs be communicated in the finished sculpture? Have I done even a small measure of justice to these magnificent creatures? All these questions and many others floated through my mind as I grasped the multi-hued fabric and pulled. 

         With the help of students and VIPs, the fabric came away easily and billowed downward in the wind to reveal the sculpture.

There was a collective intake of breath, then oohs and aaas before enthusiastic applause spread throughout the crowd. The rest is all a blur. Photos and conversations followed one after another in rapid succession for the next three hours. I emerged dazed but happy. 

The dedication event was a wonderful gala introducing the bronze Mustang "Victory" to the students, faculty and staff of Stevenson University. 

Stevenson President Kevin Manning is interviewed

Bart, President Manning and the Girls Field Hockey Team


 May they and their descendants enjoy the sculpture for many generations to come.

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