Friday, January 28, 2011

lasting art sculptures in the modern era, art that lasts

The web as you know has a wealth if information on virtually any topic. While researching out a new technique that I wish I new more about, I read an article on the topic of "what is considered the longevity needs of modern art/art produced today", well not exactly but .....

   So here I am looking for a medium to cast my sculptures in that will last at least my lifetime and hopefully longer and I come across this thread in an unmentioned forum regarding casting in hydro- cal and how to make it last longer than just a few years. One of the respondents referred a study or a product that said in its description that society generally looses interest in something within 5yrs and that auto manufacturers produce vehicles that are only designed to last 3yrs. By at which point most things will have been broken and thrown away or the owner will have tyred of what ever it was and just pitched it out.

   Now I don't know about you, but when I buy something, it better last and I expect to have to pay for it. It just stumps me though that when I want to create a new work of art. I want to use the best quality materials to produce my finished piece. In this case its sculpture cast in,.... cast in,....... well I don't know yet. That's the problem. I cast in allot of different mediums hot and cold! But due to the wants of me needing a new material that can be finished anyway I like and can be indoor outdoor safe per say. Cement is to heavy and hydro cal is lighter but not strong enough to handle the weather. Now I could cast in metal but most people can't afford that sort of thing. So back to the cold cast materials.

   I have had some pretty good luck casting cement and hydro-cal materials alone and with additives (my own mixes, he he he) that include but are not limited to Carpenters glue, weld-bond, pearlite, vermiculite, fiberglass, latex, acrylic, enamel, as well as others. with varying degrees of success.

   As this seems to be a toss away part of our history I'm taking a stand. I want quality in what I buy and I'm going to create art of the highest quality. My advice to you is to do the same. So with that in mind I can tell you for sure, if your casting with hydro cal throw at least 1/2cup of carpenters glue into every 1/2 bag. Don't use pear lite or vermiculite they both float to much. I have yet to find a suitable sealer or clear to make it weather proof. So if its meant for out doors, cast with cement same mix as for hydro-cal. Don't use pre- mixed cement. Its usually too course for my liking. I like a 50/50 cement sand ratio. Be sure to seal it. but not before it has cured for at last 48hrs after demolding (including next day sealant). The mediums need time to De-gas/dry before you add the new material (clear or sealant) as the cast needs to be able to readily absorb it.

 Remember if you spend the time to make it, take the time reproduce a quality piece. Not everything has to have a "Bic lighter" life span  

Thursday, January 27, 2011


So a few weeks back a buddy drops by and just happens to mention that he needs to go down to the coast to pick up his 5yr old daughter. There had been allot of snow in the preceding week so I asked which of his 2 vehicles he planned on taking to which he responded " Oh the 4runner" and I was forced to ask him about the safety aspect of said trip.He has new winter tires but the frame on this 4x4 of his is almost none existent not to mention more hole in than wheel wells. He says ya I know but what choice do I have. I have to go and get my daughter from my ex. "Ah the frame will be fine" he further states. But what really worries me is that the rusted out wheel wells  are going to attract attention and that will get me pulled over for a spot safety check and then I'll get a bunch of tickets that I can't pay, and the list just goes on. Not to mention what my daughters mother will say! So I have a half can of bondo so I'm gonna just fill the holes and I thought I'd drop in and see if you wouldn't tell me how to go about doing it. I said "your really going to do this and he says "Ya!" and I said where ? He says "Oh at my place outside" To which (being his friend and just having cleared the shop up) I said "No we'll do it here!"

So the next day he turns up about noon and we spend the next 36 hrs (none stop, no sleep) and use a whole bunch of my fiber glass and other art stuff to fix (actually recreate) his wheel wells. I won't bore you with all of that fun but I will pass this along. The work we did would have fooled the most diligent of random glances.

We remove all the masking and tape, open the door and roll the gleaming beast into the mountain crisp, winter air. My buddy smiles and says "I think we're done here and I need sleep! He heads for home to catch a nap before he has to leave.

Now the reason he has this 4x4 is that he lives up a mountain at the top of,  (being gracious) a goat trail type driveway. In which in the winter, there is no snow at the bottom. But at the house there could easily be 3ft. On this day luck was not on his side. He gets the bottom of his driveway rolls about a 100 yards up and suddenly there is this horrific sound of grinding and bending metal and his truck comes to a halt and then starts to roll backwards. He jambs his foot on the brake and jumps out to see what he has run over in the snow. He bends down on one knee and looking under the 4runner see's the drive shaft all bent up and the rear wheels out of whack. And on top of all that he now has to climb his 1/2 mile driveway. Fun times eh!

The moral to this story is don't waste time on junk, substrate, materials ect... Because no matter how much time or how good a job you do.....Lipstick on a pig does not make it "less a pig"