Improba Putti, Burning Man Sculpture

Last year, Vulfie, among numerous other artists were given a proposal to create a sculpture to fit the Burning Man theme for this year which was Di Vinci’s workshop, in addition to creating four bas-relief sculptures to be placed on each side of the plinth box. With a little nudging from me, Paloma, he decided to give it a shot, with me telling him this was right up his alley and that he would be a shoe in.The sculptures were to be placed on top of a 4′ x 8′ plinth block and could be made out of whatever material the artist deemed appropriate. The selected artists would be given a partial grant to help offset the costs involved. In January of this year, Vulfie received notification that he had been selected as one of the artists, which meant he had approximately eight months to complete his projects, which also meant that my workload would become heavier, no I really didn’t think it through when I was doing the nudging:(
Side View of Plinth Block

Side View of Plinth Block

Improba Putti with Bas-reliefs

Improba Putti with Bas-reliefs

So Vulfie turned his back yard into his workshop because there was no way we were going to fit such a large piece into our studio. He decided it would be best to build the sculpture out of paper mâché using a metal framework as the main reinforcement and then paint it to look like a bronze patina sculpture. We happened to know someone who could do faux finishes for that part:)
He started on the bas-relief sculptures first to get a feel for how the paper mâché was going to work in addition to painting them and then he moved onto the big one. One of the biggest problems he encountered was the fact that the paper mâché was just not drying very well, most likely because the application of the areas were quite thick. He had built a plastic structure around the sculpture so that he could work on it and be protected from the sun and rain but it sort of turned into a greenhouse and kept the moisture in.
He was able to work on it some everyday which enabled him to meet his deadline. Transporting such a large piece also became an issue but it ended up working out. Upon delivering the sculpture it was quite emotional to see as the forklift operator lifting her onto the plinth box. I must admit I was very proud of what he had accomplished.
Improba Putti with "the Man" in the background

Improba Putti with “the Man” in the background

What turned out to be rather comical in retrospect was the fact that his sculpture was placed in an area in close proximity to “the Man” and just as his sculpture was being put into position they were testing the contraption that they had made to have “the Man” spin, as in the Vitruvian man of Di Vinci. We heard a large pop and we saw a lot of dust come off of him just as the head job supervisor was yelling “evacuate”.  We all took off running thinking that the whole think might come crashing down and in the distance you could hear a loud horn blowing that at the time I had no idea what it was. We were just being told that we needed to move the truck, quickly, that the sculpture had been transported in. I looked off in the distance and saw what was causing the loud horn blowing. A huge semi was headed in our direction at full speed and was throwing up a huge dust storm and you’re only allowed to drive five miles an hour, but I guess this was an emergency. Well the whole thing turned out fine in the end and “the Man” was saved. I guess the moral of the story is that even in some peoples fantasy world not everything goes according to plan:)
Close-up of Burning Man sculpture

Close-up of Burning Man sculpture

Vulfie and Paloma sitting on the Plinth Block at Burning Man

Vulfie and Paloma sitting on the Plinth Block at Burning Man

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