If you walk or drive through the Old North End of Colorado Springs, there's a good chance you've seen my sculpture titled, "Friendship." The seven foot tall window frame encompassing brightly colored nine foot tall flowers is hard to miss. The metal section of "window" is a steel frame reclaimed from a restaurant demolition. It used to hold the heavy kitchen grill.
This is one of my all time favorite pieces, at least in the top four. I love how it came together (conceptually) and how it turned out. Installed in the Spring of 2022, I still get compliments from my clients and their neighbors who enjoy it on their daily walks or looking at it out their windows. The piece anchors the clients' recently landscaped side yard, so as the years pass, the beautiful flowers and shrubs will fill in and accentuate it even more.
Here are 17 photos of the piece's sculpting and assembly progression:
In 2022 I was commissioned to build a large outdoor sculpture. For the initial proposal I came up with three designs from which the client would choose. My only constraint, besides budget, was that I wanted to use a large steel frame made of 3-inch angle iron from my supply that I would wrap with redwood 4x4, like an enormous picture frame. I presented three designs: a giant bucket of flowers set behind a farmhouse window; a game box/magic door exploding outward with all of its parts swirling out and dice strewn around the ground; and an abstract geometric series of rings and spheres.
Being avid gamers, I anticipated my clients would choose the game box/magic door design, but they surprised me and chose the flower bucket instead. It made perfect sense though, since the sculpture was going in their yard, amongst their flowers and bucolic landscaping. And it turned out beautiful.
The rough design sketches:
A few months later, they came back and said they wanted me to do the game box design as well. But this one they wanted indoors as a wall hanging, about the size of your typical board game box. This sounded like a fun challenge, being that I would be working with much more delicate metal and more intricate -- i.e. easier to screw up -- design elements.
I got to work on the new piece. I built a mock-up out of cardboard and foam board, giving the design depth like a shadow box and adding shelves for them to display their favorite dice and RPG figures. For me to get the dimensions right and for them to develop a sense of acceptance with my design before we dove into the hard, expensive stuff, I had them hang the mock-up where they wanted it in their house.
After a week or so, they suggested some minor changes to design and gave me the green light to build the final piece. Since the shelves were going to hold RPG figures, I decided to hand paint the back wall so it looked like the interior of a dungeon. Also, the meeples and resource cubes on the rings are magnetic, so they can be moved and interchanged.