Sun Sculpture Series for Ocean Avenue in San Francisco Underway!

Sun Sculpture Series Underway!

To be sited on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco.

Wow has this been a long time coming. A little walk down memory lane below as we actually were selected for this project in 2004
and contracted with the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2005. I am not kidding. This is officially the longest running single (commissioned) project I have ever worked on.

This is/ was a percent for art project using Muni (public transportation system) funds in conjunction with an upgrade to the system along Ocean Ave. in the southern part of San Francisco. I was asked to propose a project and a location along Ocean Avenue. I had originally proposed two 10 ft tall sort of obelisk shaped sculptures with spheres on top, covered in mosaic. Something about the location was not going to work and after I was awarded the project I was asked to redesign and propose a different location for the artwork.

This morphed into a completely different proposal on my part and changed into three spherical shapes to symbolize suns. Ocean Avenue is really NOT sunny and very windy and pretty gray all around so I thought it would be good to get some sun down there in the form of art. So I designed three spherical sculptural forms to be covered in swirling warm colors.

One of the suns is 5' diameter, one is 4' diameter and one 3' diameter and they will sit on the crossroads of Ocean and Grenada (Grenada cuts in at an angle, making kind of a triangle). One Sun on each corner.

My final designs for the mosaic patterning on the surface of the sculptures were in an Italianate style, but funked up. I am now (lovingly) calling this style Nouveau Roman. Or maybe I should call it Roman Super Funk. That sounds a lot better- more professional.
Just kidding.

My designs were approved in early 2005. I am not kidding. And we are just doing these now. Talk about red tape - Jesus. You name it and it has happened.. permitting issues, insurance, the footings weren't right, engineering stuff, staff changes at the commissioning agency.. on and on.

But the good news is that we are on schedule to finish by the end of March (I hope) and have them installed. Exciting. These spheres have been sitting in our studio for literally years and thank God we have a big studio. They almost became invisible (if you can imagine) or like some giant gray furniture or a giant pile of laundry until the green light went back on and we were able to jump back onto this project.

Left: Naked spheres waiting in line

As with most of our projects, these designs are being built up in layers. First went on the mirrored swirls (essential) and then the cool color accent lines and then the "pods" of "flying saucers" as I like to call them. Now were onto the backgrounds. I am way into setting these squares. I am cutting them down using hand tools and a wet saw and they are not perfect squares. I an not really into working with prefabricated square tessserae. I like irregularity in my squares.

Below: Original design drawings and Right: Large Sun in progress

The forms were fabricated in a top secret location and are made of foam with steel and concrete and fiberglass. No I didn't make them myself - I hired this part out. Almost all of the tile being used is McIntyre (see next post for McIntyre commercial).

Below left: Concrete sphere with mirror swirls only
Below right: Here comes the sun

Below left: Detail of flying saucer pod shape
Below right: Medium sun ready for background.