ON YOUR MARK
CONFIDENCE Transitions into ON YOUR MARK. The start of the race is beginning, ON YOUR MARK with his Red swim-cap, black goggles and full wetsuit, is coiled and positioned to begin the race with a mindset of readiness upon preparing the body to start the swim. Thoughts of ON YOUR MARK involve: “Swim-cap secured, Goggles secured, Swim line imagined, position into water imagined”
The Reality of the Race Journey has settled in. The Training is the past, the Race preparation anxiety is the present, as diving is only moments away!
ON YOUR MARK is part of an overall composition of figures called THE SWIMMERS. Totaling 5 in all, THE SWIMMERS reflect the first stage of competition within a Triathlon event. The swim stage is full of preparation, reflection and emotion.
I wanted each figure to express the various states of mind before entering the water. Each state transitions into the next in a successive fashion.
3 1/4 feet Height by 3 feet Width
Winterstone, Stainless Steel, Cement, Paint
Purchase ON YOUR MARK Poster
The Process is an extensive one. Involving Drawing, Sculpting and Painting. Consisting of trial and error when working out the full composition, sculpting of body posture, anatomy, correct symbolic clothing, material, production and installation. The first stage was moving the idea from concept to reality. This involves the process of Drawing.
In ON YOUR MARK the body is coiled, hunched down ready to spring into action. Breathing is heavy as the Triathletes line up for race start. The social behavior of swim start has faded away as the focus on mind and body ensues. Goggles are in place, swimcap is on tight, one checks our watch for time, clenches and unclenches one's fists as pre race jitters are pushed away. The line of the journey is imagined and is ready for pursuit.
ON YOUR MARK seeks space amongst the surround Triathletes as a path of entry into the water opens up. The fight for position is subconsicously communicated by a nudge or an exhale. Make room, ON YOUR MARK is coming through!
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Following a conceptual Drawing, the next step was developing a Maquette. This Maquette would be a fully materialized version of conceptual idea of ON YOUR MARK, sculpted to reflect the intended composition, arrangement and supporting elements. This sculpted Maquette becomes the dimentional representation of my concept, allowing me to understand what the projected cost and build time will be for the final monumental version.
ON YOUR MARK, started as a concept, evolving into a Drawing, is now materialized as a Maquette. Made of oven baked clay with an underwire frame, she is painted to reflect the intended look and feel of the Monument version. She has been designed, sculpted and built to include magnets within her base, which allows me to further tweek her position in the overall composition.
Following the Maquette, I am now comfortable with moving into the stage of the monument size scuptural process. Since the monumental size sculpture requires costly time, material and energy, knowing that I worked out all my concepts in the Maquette give me the freedom to make creative adjustments without sacrificing or second guessing the conceptual foundation.
I seek out a model to represent ON YOUR MARK. Within my circle of friends I chose a fellow Creative Persona, Photographer, Actor, Comedian. I posed him in various representations of ON YOUR MARK, settling on a version of the Maquette's pose, with more coiling motion and greater determination in the facial features.
I photographed him with my smartphone, making sure to gather enough photo reference for details of his face and body. These results allows me to combine my knowledge of figure sculpting, anatomy and the photo reference into the Monument of ON YOUR MARK I envision.
The following is the sculpting process of Monument ON YOUR MARK. Starting with the underline structure of a wire frame. This heavy wire allows me to first, create a anatomically correct supporting frame for the clay, second allows for further ajustment to the body composition by bending during any phase of the sculpting process.
Through various stages of the sculpting process I discover the true strength and balance of the pose, serving as a physicological foundation to the sculpture, this allows me to further refine the form and the details of the sculpture. Slowly building up the anatomical forms, I switch between my large sculpting tools to the smaller tools while working into the details. Working over a few days, and long hours, I execute the ON YOUR MARK Monument with confidence and determination. Also being very mindful of my schedule, as I have the other elements of Transitions thorugh Triathlon to produce.
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The Process of Casting is both extensive and laborous. It is technical process involving knowledge of material chemestry, temperature, timing and patience. At any moment, a wrong decision or neglect can result in extending the process or ruining your sculpture, so paying attention to the process is very important. I was assisted by casting technicians for my project. Parts of the process was done by the tech, others my myself and others together as a team.
The Process involves first making a mold. For this sculpture, I've decided to make a 'waste mold' due to time and cost effective materials. A 'Waste Mold' is a mold that is destroyed and discarded during the casting process allowing for one unique copy of the sculpture.
Plaster was mixed then applied to the sculpture, sectioned by thin sheet of metal called 'shims'. The Plaster will cover the entire sculpture with a measure of 2/3rds thickness. Bendable Metal bars are attached using Burlap dipped into the Plaster Mix. When both the Plaster, and burlapped bars are dried, this becomes the 'Waste Mold' of the sculpture. This mold is pulled apart in its shimmed sections then cleaned from the inside negative area, removing excess clay from the original sculpture.
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Once the entire inside negative of the 'Waste Mold' is cleaned, the process of filling the mold can begin. I will first allow the mold to fully air dry and I will take this opportunity to create the metal supporting frame for the Monument. This involves accurate measurements and welding of metal. I am assisted by a Welding Tech for the cutting, measuring, bending, welding and grinding of this process. The resulting form is a strong underlining Metal structure for my monumental ON YOUR MARK sculpture.
Now that the supporting frame and the 'Waste Mold' is fully dry, the process of filling the mold can begin. First the mold must be prepared for filling by applying Schelac and a separating agent to its negative layer. Wax Paste is used to cover the entire negative layer, head to toe. This separator will allow the Plaster mold to not adhere to the Winterstone material being used to fill the mold. Winterstone, a cousin of both Plaster and concrete, has the ability to achieve the sculptural detail of Plaster with the strength of Concrete.
Now that the schelac and wax paste is applied to all areas of the negative mold, the mixing of the waterbased Winterstone starts. The instructions calls for measurements of water to different measurements of winterstone in addition to fiberglass material. Gloves and Masks are worn for safety reasons.
Once the first and second layers of Winterstone are applied, the metal frame is inserted into the largest section of the 'Waste Mold' and adhered to it using Winterstone and fiberglass strands. Each section is fused piece by piece until the entire mold is fused together as one mold. The Mold is left to dry then the process of removing the 'Waste Mold' is performed.
Removing the 'Waste Mold' involves a hammer and chisle, chisling away the mold piece by piece in small, medium and large chunks until the underline copy is revealed. Extra care must go into the technique of how the mold is chisled away, making sure one does not chisel too far beyond the mold and hitting the winterstone material. Losing valuable detail such as ears, nose or fingers can result in the lost of valuable time being used for repairs.
The 'Waste Mold' is now removed and discarded, revealing the Winterstone copy/ version of ON YOUR MARK. The detailed areas will require extra care to remove smaller fragments of the 'Waste Mold' using picks and smaller chisles. After the figure is clean and prepared, it will move into the final Finishing stage.
Using my ON YOUR MARK Maquette as referrence, I know exactly what exterior finish I want to produce for the Monument ON YOUR MARK. A variety of outdoor paints and weatherproof sealant was choosen for the finish. First, a coat of black paint is used for the under-coat, so when I apply the bright swimcap colors they will pop during observation. After the under-coat of black paint is applied, the swimsuit black, skintone gold, and details of the timing chip, goggles and swimcap are painted. The final touches go to the watch and lines of detail within the swimsuit design.
Once the paint is dried, the figure is coated with weatherproof sealant. I perform three coats of the sealant as I reminder of what Hurricane Sandy did to our city.
Installing ON YOUR MARK and the other elements of Transitions through Triathlon at the Riverside Park South location was met with traffic and rain. Due to these challenges the installation was carried over into a second day. The Base Frame went into the ground first, firmly attached to the site with bolts and spot welds. Next the Arch was installed, using a hoist, rope, scafolding and spot welding.
Then the following day, ON YOUR MARK along with the other cast of SWIMMERS, CYCLISTS, RUNNER and VICTORY were spot welded to the Base Frame. Finally the day of completion has come. The last weld was met with a small applause by myself and the installation crew.