In this issue, you'll read about installing a public art commission, Kevin in the news, what's going on in the studio, and how Kevin has things covered. Read on!
|'Hands On' aloft on the crane|
Public Art Commission Gets Planted
After more than three months of work creating the piece, Kevin installed Hands On, a public commission for the city of Avondale, Arizona, on Thursday, May 14.
The 14-foot-tall steel tree, with its 207 golden hands created from outlines of real Avondale citizens, also has hands reaching toward the sky and down into the earth, forming its roots. The hands celebrate the many people who worked to shape Avondale past, present and future.
With the help of his stalwart crew - Michael DiGiacomo, Judge Bellamak and Mary Westheimer - Kevin was able to raise the branches he'd lowered to get the tree trunk across town (and under underpasses), have it lifted onto the concrete pad poured by Avondale's wonderful Parks & Rec staff, and hang all the leaves. "We left the studio at 6:30 a.m. and Hands On was completely installed by noon," Kevin says. "What a team!"
You can see it all for yourself - there are still photos of the project in the Hands On Photo Gallery, and videos of loading the trunk onto Kevin's trailer, then installing the sculpture at Sernas Plaza. "Any time there's a crane involved, you know it'll be fun," says Kevin.
Perhaps one of the best endorsements for the steel tree, however, came from visitors spotted on a quiet afternoon a couple of days after the installation: two doves, sitting in Hands On's branches.
In the Press: Many Angles
|azcentral.com article about the|
Hands On installation
Hands On's planting attracted lots of press attention, too. It garnered front page coverage at azcentral.com, the Web site of Arizona's largest daily, on May 15, followed by coverage in the print edition the next day on page B1. You can read the article here. The newspaper West Valley View also covered the sculpture's arrival at Sernas Plaza.
Additionally, a photo of Kevin's piece Floating Undulations appeared in the June issue of Phoenix Home & Garden, and a profile of Kevin by Jessica Lutjemeyer appeared in Arizona State University's State Press and its online equivalent, the ASU Web Devil. You can read it here.
A photo of one of Kevin's ocotillos was also featured in the EZPixel Photo of the Day on April 21, thanks to the owner of the ocotillo Desert Dervish, Marianne Skov Jensen. She took these beautiful photos as well as those that appear in her fantastic and useful McDowell Sonoran Preserve Flora Photo ID Guide, the sales of which support the preserve.
Nationally, Kevin was quoted in a syndicated column about understanding your constituencies that appeared in the Fresno Bee and the Hartford Courant in late March and early April, respectively.
At the Studio: From Practical to Playful
|After rust, before patina|
As summer asserts itself, Kevin's been having fun at the studio. He created an architectural detail for a remodeling project designed by architect Kristine Woolsey of Woolsey Studio.
Nearly 5 feet wide and 8 feet tall, this front door has a window and handle that are the second and third in a set of four "portholes" (or "donuts," as Kevin likes to call them) in the design. You can see videos of Kevin creating the donuts and applying the door's finish in the Videos section. "My goal was to bring Kristine's design to life," says Kevin.
Kevin's work on the "ball and stick" sculpture - which finally has been christened the Genome Project - continues slowly, which is just the nature of this piece. "There's lots of welding to be done, with welds where every ball meets every tube," Kevin explains. "To keep the sculpture light, the metal is relatively thin, so it heats up really quickly." Despite its size, Kevin hopes the Genome Project will be light enough to spin in the wind.
"It's shaping up beautifully," he reports. Kevin takes frequent breaks to let the metal cool down. Kevin explains what he's doing with this sculpture and why in his latest video. See the latest photos - and keep an eye on its development - on the Genome Project page.
|Mustang Sally tips her hat to you|
And then there's Mz. Mustang Sally. Kevin says he had a ball bringing her to life.
She grew out of the Landfill Art Project, an international effort in which 1,041 artists are creating art from metal garbage. "Project founder Ken Marquis sent me some hubcaps, but I had no idea what I'd do with them," Kevin admits.
Soon Mz. Sally began shaping up. "Mustang Sally is fantastic," says Marquis. "Kevin is something else! What a creative guy." Be sure to check out both of Sally's photos online to, uh, enjoy all of her considerable attributes (it's worth the click).
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A Fine Finish
Many of Kevin's pieces end up - intentionally - with a beautiful covering of rust or even a slick and shiny coat of paint. Still, he's always experimenting with new looks and new finishes.
|An air paint spray gun|
For the front door of the Scottsdale, Arizona, home mentioned earlier, Kevin presented six different possible finishes. One was a durable powder coating, which wasn't quite as exciting as some of the other choices, which were various materials over rust. Architect Kristine Woolsey and her client picked a linseed oil-mineral spirits finish, so Kevin began by giving the door a good layer of rust.
Next he poured the mixture into his handy air paint spray gun. It's pneumatically powered, so Kevin just attached the gun to his air hose and started coating the huge door. "These guns are often used for professional painting," Kevin says. "Still, the one I got from Harbor Freight for twenty bucks does an amazing job."
Of course, Kevin can make anything sound easy. He knew when to use the gun's horizontal, vertical and diagonal spray patterns to get into tight corners and under and around each of the door's "donuts."
He also was aware of the importance of spraying parallel to the door with the nozzle equidistant from the surface, rather than sweeping it across at an angle. "That way, you get the most even coverage," he says.
When the coverage got a little heavy, he squeezed the gun's trigger halfway, which sprayed pure air across the targeted area. The result was an even coat over the face of the entire door. A week or so of curing let the oil and spirits soak in and set to a final finish.
You can see Kevin in action, finishing the door, in his latest YouTube video.
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