I employ both traditional and new methods of production. The approach is to tailor the work flow, chosen materials, and designs to suit the notion that originally inspired the project in the first place.
I use about a dozen plastic materials in the studio. Various wax mixtures, plasticines, epoxies; It's all 'clay' to me. I model with actual, out of the earth, water based, clay as well on occasion.
Sam Livingston was a plasticine sculpt built up on a welded metal base. Spray foam bulked out this underlying armature. There was a small model for reference, but the head you see was created in the final scale by hand.
Modern methods include modelling a sculpture in the virtual world of the computer. From computer sculpts files are created which can then be given to machines for fabrication. Most of the time this still leaves work to be done by hand.
Reference to the computer sculpt can be very useful where complicated parts are involved. Here I am looking at the subject in a video, and referring to the computer model while adding finishing touches.
Here 'Kyra', one of the '9 Figures in Motion with a Puck', is approaching completion. At this point it is difficult to tell what was created on the computer, cut on a mill or sculpted by hand.
Machines can use an additive or subtractive method. 3D printers add material while mills and lathes remove it to create the desired form. Kyra's parts were, mostly, milled from a dense styrofoam.
Projects are unique. Some subjects require different materials, and different approaches.
To create an icon of the Canadian experience in Afghanistan I had to make a tank turret and a person. They had to be created as one unified work of art in a particular manner. So I had to model the mechanical portion of the work by hand. Drywall mud fit the bill along with various bits of metal, plastic and other scraps.
Each method requires a certain amount of money, and time. There are pluses and minuses with each choice to be considered in the design.
Bronze is one of my favourite materials. It offers many advantages beyond its obvious beauty. The durability of Bronze and the assumption of tribute that it brings to a work of art are two qualities I have come to rely on.
To make a bronze sculpture a rubber mold is made from the clay model. From this mold a wax copy is produced. The wax copy can be further refined before a waste mold is made by covering the wax in a ceramic shell. That shell is heated until the wax melts away. Into the cavity created molten bronze is poured. When cooled the bronze is harder than the shell, which can now be smashed away from the metal.
This leaves a great deal of work to be done fabricating the final sculpture out of various cast parts, which are then welded together.
Subtracting material from a rough block can also be done. Here a block of granite is carved using the artists scale models as reference.
Public art is usually large and difficult to move. Careful planning is required to ensure everything goes well.
I work with a number of highly skilled firms to create a large work, from foundries to stone carvers, lift specialists, and general contractors; they all work hard to make me look good.