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For the Aluminum Cast of VICTORY I decided on a Semi Gloss finish. Here, one of the welding technicians of The Modern Art Foundry is buffing VICTORY using a spray compound to achieve the semi gloss finish at my request. View this process in the short video below.
The following is the sculpting process of VICTORY. 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 and second, allows for further adjustment 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 foundation to the sculpture's promise, to project a feeling of accomplishment, surmising the commitment and conviction to the purpose of completion. Building from the anatomy inside out, I execute the VICTORY monument with determination. Using available picture reference from Magazines and my wife to depict the correct anatomical pose.
In this time-lapse video, VICTORY evolves from metal frame into a male physical form, and then transitions into a female form full of life. Click to play the short video below.
With VICTORY my goal was to create a symbolic figure that exemplifies the feeling of crossing the Finish line upon completing a Triathlon. This feeling is unique to each Triathlete as each competing athlete has a unique story that summarizes a personal journey. Stories of Inspiration that formulate the idea of training and competing in a Triathlon race.. The actions of Training that involves commitment and sacrifice for the purpose of completing the journey, crossing the finish line. VICTORY is designed to summarize these stories of purpose.
VICTORY's anatomical pose and expression illustrates the joy of completion. Her out stretched arms is a reflection of the winning moment of crossing the threshold of earning the title of Triathlete. Competing against one's personal faults, overcoming one's fears, fighting through the pain and overcoming all doubt. VICTORY's story is designed to inspire.
This design process is an extensive one. It involves Drawing, Sculpting and Painting. Consisting of trial and error while working out the full design, 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.
VICTORY is the only figure within the Transitions through Triathlon composition that will be casted using the lost wax process. This process is primarily used for casting sculpture into a Metal. The Metal I chose to cast VICTORY is Aluminum.
The Process of Casting is both extensive and laborious. It is technical process involving knowledge of material chemistry, 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 technical casting instructors for my project. Parts of the process was done by the tech, by myself and also together as a team.
The Process is first making a mold. For VICTORY, it starts with a Rubber Mold. This Rubber Mold allows me to make multiple copies of the VICTORY sculpture with minimal loss to sculptural detail.
It starts by mixing the Rubber compound then applying it to the sculpture in layers. The first layer is a urethane rubber compound, followed by a layer of pink rubber compound, then with another layer of urethane rubber compound.
Due to time and technical know how, I commissioned the best welding and fabrication tech I was able to find to cut, bend and fabricate the VICTORY Running Blades. We collaborated on a connection idea for the legs and Blades, I later created a drawing, provided the raw materials and a Polished VICTORY to the tech for fabrication. With deadlines looming and schedules short on time, we collaborated to fabricate the Blades within a time frame of one hour. It was amazing to witness as the legs were drilled, the steel cut, bent and welded into place. A Triangular base was welded on in the last minutes of our allotted time. I later buffed the Metal to achieve a desired shine. VICTORY is now ready for installation.
The Wax Cast is made upon completing the Plaster test cast. Final revisions or changes to the sculpture can be made to the Wax Cast based on discoveries made upon inspecting the Plaster cast. Wax is heated atop a hot plate until the viscosity is liquid form. One must pay careful attention to the drying time of the Wax as the process of hardening happens to the Wax once it's out of its heated pot. First a separating agent, Wax Paste or Vaseline, is applied to the rubber mold before the hot wax is poured then brushed into place until the entire mold is filled with a half inch layer of Wax. The Rubber Mold and protective Mother Mold outer shell is closed and secured. More wax is poured into the openings of the closed mold filling in the un-waxed connecting areas. The Mold is left to dry for the Wax to harden. Half an hour later the Mold is reopened and the Wax Cast is removed and inspected.
Further touchup is performed to make sure all aspects of the Wax Cast are as intended. This Wax Cast is a direct representation of what the Metal Cast will look like. The Arms was cut off to be casted separately for efficient Metal Casting. Final preparation for casting includes Wax gates being attached to the Wax Cast, then fully covering the Cast with a Ceramic heat resistant outer shell compound. Once prepared, the Wax Cast will melt away within this Ceramic Casing shell and replaced by heated liquid metal when poured into the Ceramic shell. Once allowed to dry and harden, the Metal will be revealed by chipping away the outer shell. The Metal Cast is then put through and inspection and finishing process.
Transitions through Triathlon
Purchase VICTORY Poster
The Inspiration for VICTORY was absorbed from multiple sources. First, my personal journey of becoming a Triathlete. When a close family member was diagnose with cancer I was shocked, followed by a feeling of helplessness which then ignited a feeling in me to make a difference in the lives of those battling cancer. I found a way to contribute through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I raced my first Triathlon in 2010 in honor of my love one all while raising funds and awareness to fight cancer. My finishing medal became part of VICTORY when I casted the medal into the sculpture during the molding process. This medal is a symbol of my VICTORY as a Triathlete and the story of contributing to the fight against cancer with my love one.
The Para-athlete symbol within VICTORY was inspired by the 2012 Olympic Games, where the 'blade runner' achieved notoriety while competing along side non Para-athletes. VICTORY was inspired by this awareness, being sculptured first as a male figure, but was transformed into a female figure after learning about Para Olympic athlete Aimee Mullins. Her story helped to further develop VICTORY into a symbol of aspiration.
The Olympic runner Sanya Richards Ross help to inspire the hairstyle of VICTORY, which poses as a design metaphor for the Greek Laurel Victory Wreath. Her smile resonates with the joy of my family member who successfully beat her cancer, our VICTORY!
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Designing Running Blades for VICTORY required some research on the current form, function and design of current Running Blades out in the current market. There are a few varieties that inspired my design. I ultimately decided on creating Blades that kept the recognizable S curve of current market Blades by designed them around the Plaster Cast of VICTORY with a visually aesthetic proportion.
Using cardboard and wire, I cut and shaped the design form around the circumference of VICTORY's Legs. By propping VICTORY upright I was able to create the S curve design and proportion relative to height and angle. I needed to have VICTORY leaning slightly back to depict a triumphant angle and the Blades needed to hold this position in place, yet illustrate VICTORY in motion. The placement of both Blades needed to have a convincing action of running past the finish line in the symbol of a glorious finish.
One the S curve of both blades were designed, I created a Template out of that design depicting the full length of each blade, the sections of requiring bending and the points of connection to VICTORY's legs. I will use this template to cut, bend and fabricate the Stainless Steel flat bar into the VICTORY Running Blades.
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VICTORY is the central figure of the Public Sculpture Project entitled 'Transitions through Triathlon'. She began as a concept symbolizing the greatest moment of a Triathlon race, crossing the finish line. She slowly evolved into a symbol of the acceptance and commitment of all Athletes within the world of Triathlon.
VICTORY crosses the finish line after a long race journey, reflecting on the months of training, the sacrifice of commitment, and the execution of completion. Recognizing your unique abilities within, allows you to respond to this race challenge. Overcoming these challenges becomes the greatest reward of this journey, the symbol of VICTORY.
VICTORY overcame all challenges, emotional, mental and physical on her way to becoming an iron man.
VICTORY is one of ten individual elements that summarize 'Transitions through Triathlon' currently on view in New York City's Riverside Park South near the 59th street entrance.
4 3/4 feet Height by 3 1/2 feet Width
Cast Aluminum, Stainless Steel
Following a conceptual Drawing, the next step was developing a Maquette. This Maquette would be a fully materialized version of conceptual idea of VICTORY, sculpted to reflect the intended composition, arrangement and supporting elements. This sculpted Maquette becomes the dimensional representation of my concept, allowing me to understand what the projected cost and build time will be for the final monumental version.
VICTORY, 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.
Installing VICTORY 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, scaffolding and spot welding.
Then the following day, VICTORY along with the cast of SWIMMERS, CYCLISTS and RUNNER 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.
Plaster Mix is then used to cover the sculpture, sectioned by thin sheet of metal called 'shims'. The Plaster is known as the Mother Mold and will cover the entire sculpture with a measure of 1 1/2 inch thickness. Bendable Metal bars are attached using Burlap dipped into the Plaster Mix for added strength. When both the Plaster, and burlapped bars are dried, the Mother Mold is separated and removed to reveal the Rubber Mold within.
This Rubber Mold is opened by carefully cutting along the shim line then pulled pulled apart to reveal the original VICTORY sculpture nestled inside. The sculpture is no longer needed for the process and is removed from the process.
The Rubber Mold is now an exact negative copy of the VICTORY sculpture. The next step is to create a Plaster copy of VICTORY. First a separating agent, wax paste or vasaline is applied to the rubber mold then it's filled with a Plaster Mix layer backed by burlap. A metal bar was used as the underlining structure for this Plaster copy. The Rubber Mold along with the Mother Mold is closed up then left to dry.
Two hours later the Mold reopened to reveal the casted Plaster copy of VICTORY. This Plaster copy is used to check in for errors and inaccuracies within the casting process. This copy will later be used to create a template for the Stainless Steel Running Blades to be fabricated for the Monumental Aluminum copy of VICTORY.