“Soul Connection” Installed at SF Zoo

A couple weeks ago, FASCU MFA Van Nguyen unveiled her monument sculpture, “Soul Connection”, within the entry plaza at San Francisco Zoo. Check out the video above to see the piece come together along with comments from the artist, Maquette to Monument class instructor Peter Schifrin, and SF Zoo representative Joe Fitting.

UPDATE! Here’s a short video of the dedication for “Soul Connection” at the SF Zoo, which is now on extended display for a few more months!

Spring Show 2013 Interviews: Gwen Pier and Robin Salmon

We’re a little late getting to these interviews as Spring Show 2013 is now a couple months behind us, but these are definitely worth a watch. National Sculpture Society Executive Director Gwen Pier (above) and Brookgreen Gardens‘ Curator Robin Salmon (below) evaluate the latest offerings from FASCU and suggest potential opportunities for sculptors of all stripes.

Sculpting Surf Gods to Save Beaches

EgyptianRelief-FinishClay-1

Outside Lands, the annual music, arts and food festival that overtakes San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for a weekend every August, hosted one attraction this year that gave Academy of Art University Sculpture Chair Lawrence Noble an opportunity to combine the reckless twenty-something surfer of his youth with the deliberate and delicate sculptor of maturity. The result? A sculpted Egyptian relief with surfing gods, of course!

For two days at the event and for several days after, Noble crafted a striking glyph-laiden tablet depicting an Egyptian goddess with surfboard for Surfrider Foundation, an organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches. The sculpture also served to raise awareness for the upcoming Carve San Francisco sand sculpting event, where Noble will be acting as judge.

“Lawrence Noble is not only one of the most versatile artists of our time, but he is also a surfer and someone who celebrates the beauty and majesty of the ocean,” said Kathryn Keown, Founder and Executive Director of Carve. “We are privileged to have Lawrence offer his artistry and guidance at the Carve events.”

Lawrence Noble sculpts the Egyptian surf gods piece at Outside Lands

Lawrence Noble sculpts the Egyptian surf gods piece at Outside Lands

The sculpture, which gives a nod to both surfing and sand, will be showcased at the Carve San Francisco event at Crissy Field on October 16-20, where it’s likely to be sold to benefit Surfrider Foundation.

While Noble’s surfing days are far behind him, he found the experience of sculpting the Surfrider piece highly rewarding.

“The joy of sculpting can always be tempered by the joy of discovery, even if it is a rediscovery of a past experience,” says Noble. “The iconic nature of the ancients has appealed to me for a long time, and this event afforded the opportunity to combine passions in some new visual territory.”

While the relief image of surf goddesses is clearly a vision of fantasy, the hieroglyphics, when translated, are not.

“Carve Your Destiny!” it reads, according to Noble. “And I mean it!”

Learn more about Surfrider Foundation at surfrider.org and Carve San Francisco – in which FASCU students Jihoon Choi and Seok don Choi are participants – at facebook.com/CarveSanFrancisco.

FASCU Student Sculpts Wicked Witch of Oz for Museum

Witch hands and head sculpted by TonyaMarie with Michael Poland assisting in mold making and hair punching

Wicked Witch of Oz wax sculpture by FASCU student TonyaMarie

Don’t click your heels and wish yourself home just yet.

The Wicked Witch of the West, sculpted by FASCU’s own TonyaMarie and currently on display at the Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf, will only be appearing through this Thursday – after that, she’ll become the stuff of dreams.

“It’s bittersweet,” says TonyaMarie, who has been working for the museum on an internship and just completed the sculpture of the iconic character last week. “The museum has been sold and closes on the 15th, so (the witch) will only be up a few short days.” While nearly the entire assortment of wax sculptures from the 50-year-old venue is being sold to a Los Angeles-based museum, TonyaMarie’s Wicked Witch – as well as the other characters of Oz – will remain in current owner Rodney Fong’s personal collection.

L to R: Costume maker Vincent of Dreamhouse, the Wicked Witch of the West, sculptor TonyaMarie, and Gallery Curator/Director Curtis Huber

L to R: Costume maker Vincent of Dreamhouse, the Wicked Witch of the West, sculptor TonyaMarie, and Gallery Curator/Director Curtis Huber (not pictured: Michael Poland assisted in mold-making and hair-punching)

Finishing a direct study internship to complete her Sculpture MFA at Academy of Art University, TonyaMarie was thrilled at the opportunity to sculpt one of her all-time favorite movie villains. “I had assumed that I would be doing repairs and refurbishing throughout the museum for my internship,” says Marie, who welcomed the opportunity to take on the specialized set of skills required of a wax museum. “When curator Curtis Huber told me he was going to have me sculpt, paint and create the Wicked Witch of the West, I was so excited! I’d not only get to learn the whole process, but also add an important piece to my own portfolio.”

TonyaMarie currently runs Gypsy Cat Studios, which she says has been heavily supported by costume work – from mascot characters to children’s theater companies throughout the Bay Area. It only seems fitting that she would be tasked with creating the head and hands for a character complemented by an equally iconic costume (created for the museum by Vincent of Dreamhouse). Marie also takes pride in her ability to design and create odd and unusual pieces for clients who are having difficulty finding someone to make them. “That is a niche I am known for and I love that type of work,” she says.

While the Wicked Witch may be hidden from view after Thursday, TonyaMarie’s stroll into the Land of Oz looks likely to continue into next year. “I have been contacted by someone for a very large Wizard of Oz event who wants me to design and make the props and costumes for the film’s 75th Anniversary in 2014. Also, Madame Tussauds is moving into the Wax Museum [at Fisherman’s Wharf] next summer, so you never know!”

TonyaMarie’s Wicked Witch sculpture can be viewed through this Thursday at the Wax Museum on 145 Jefferson Street at Fisherman’s Wharf. For any students willing to pull together a few friends, the museum has offered three FREE group passes (six students each) for anyone who wants to stop by the FASCU administration office at the Cannery (just a couple blocks from the museum). First come first served!

The Wizard of Oz wax troupe will only be on display through this Thursday!

The Wizard of Oz wax troupe will only be on display through this Thursday!

FASCU Students To Take Part In Sand Sculpting Event

FASCU students Jihoon Choi and Seok don Choi

FASCU students Jihoon Choi and Seok don Choi

FASCU students Jihoon Choi and Seok don Choi will be showing off their sculpting skills at San Francisco’s first ever international sand sculpture competition — Carve San Francisco – running October 16-20 near the Sports Basement at Crissy Field!

The event, which is hosted by Hub Strategy and follows their successful Carve Tahoe snow sculpting event last February, will also feature the return of AAU Sculpture Chair Lawrence Noble as one of the judges of the sand sculpting event.

“The Academy of Art University School of Sculpture is proud to provide two of our best students to Carve San Francisco,” says Noble. “It affords a great opportunity for both students to not only represent our home state of California but also their home country of South Korea. We are confident their talents will shine.”

Carve showcases the extreme art of sand sculpting, inviting teams from around the world to sculpt 400 tons of sand into astounding and intricate works of art over five days. It features sculpting, surf artistry and board shaping, music and gourmet food trucks provided by Off The Grid.

The event brings awareness to and raises funds for two non-profits, the San Francisco Chapter of Surfrider Foundation and Sustainable Surf. Funds are raised by encouraging visitors to vote with $1 for their favorite sculptures.

Carve will be held from October 16th-20th near the Sports Basement in the Presidio (Crissy Field) and will include daily activities including “Sandcastles & Schools” in which Bay Area students K-12 are invited to meet the artists, learn about ocean preservation and restoration, and play in 25 tons of sand.

Check out Carve San Francisco’s Facebook page for more info and updates!

Lucas Unveils Noble’s Yoda and Indy Bronzes for New Park

The small North Bay city of San Anselmo recently welcomed two new members to its community thanks to the generosity of resident George Lucas and artistry of Academy of Art University Sculpture Chair Lawrence Noble. Coordinated by Connie Rodgers of the San Anselmo Park Fund (see our previous story here), life-size bronze statues of Yoda and Indiana Jones –characters from Lucas’ Star Wars and Indiana Jones film series – were officially unveiled in a dedication ceremony for a new park in the city’s picturesque downtown district. Imagination Park, which occupies land donated by Lucas, is the new jewel of San Anselmo Avenue, thanks to a tranquil green space and centerpiece fountain topped with Noble’s stunning bronze figures.

George Lucas and FASCU Chair Lawrence Noble at Imagination Park dedication

George Lucas and FASCU Chair Lawrence Noble at Imagination Park dedication (Photo by Pete Vilmur)

“I am pleased as well as honored to have had the opportunity to have sculpted these two American icons and to witness their investment as bronze sculptures into our culture,” says Noble. “As the entire Star Wars Saga was created by George Lucas in San Anselmo, it is both fitting and proper as well as the perfect place for a park in their honor.”

While the park represents the third public installation for the Yoda bronze – the other two occupy Lucasfilm’s Presidio campus and Lucas’ Big Rock Ranch – this is the first and only public display of Noble’s Indiana Jones life-size bronze, which was delivered to Lucas back in 2009. Like the Lost Ark of the Covenant, the bronze was stored in Lucas’ vast archives building until the fateful day when it would be revealed and displayed for all to enjoy.

The bronze pair was unveiled under a bright summer sky by George Lucas himself amid throngs of community members and fans eager to take part in the historical dedication of a place sure to flow strong in the Force for generations to come.

You can visit Imagination Park in San Anselmo at 535 San Anselmo Avenue at Magnolia. To learn more about the park or to donate and have your name immortalized at the park, go to http://sananselmopark.org. Related: Lucasfilm’s Yoda Fountain: A Discussion with the Artist

George Lucas admires the new Indiana Jones bronze by AAU Sculpture Chair Lawrence Noble

George Lucas admires the new Indiana Jones bronze by AAU Sculpture Chair Lawrence Noble (Photo by Pete Vilmur)

Noble's Yoda sits behind Indy atop the park's large centerpiece fountain

Noble’s Yoda sits behind Indy atop the park’s large centerpiece fountain (Photo by Pete Vilmur)

Alameda Police Memorial Bronzes by FASCU Chair Lawrence Noble

"The Grieving Angels" monument

“The Grieving Angels” monument

Yesterday, three bronze sculptures by FASCU Chair Lawrence Noble were unveiled in front of Alameda Police Department memorializing two fallen officers from the department, Robert J. Davey and Deward B. Gresham. The event, which drew a large crowd of Alameda officers, press, and friends and family of the honored officers, included an introduction by Alameda Mayer Marie Gilmore and the ceremonial unveiling of the of three bronzes. In addition to two life-sizes busts, a “Grieving Angels” monument was also installed at the site, memorializing all who have served in the Alameda Police Department.

Check out some photos captured at the event below, and also head over to MercuryNews.com for several more.

Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, and Lawrence Noble at the Alameda Police Memorial

AAU Vice President Melissa Marshall, Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, and FASCU Chair Lawrence Noble at the Alameda Police Memorial

A friend of fallen Officer Deward Gresham admires the bronze cast in his image

A friend of fallen Officer Deward Gresham admires the bronze cast in his image

Lawrence Noble talks with Sue Davey, the wife of fallen Officer Robert Davey, Jr.

Lawrence Noble talks with Sue Davey, the wife of fallen Officer Robert Davey, Jr.

The memorial attracted a lot of press coverage

The memorial attracted a lot of press coverage

Lisa Reinertson’s “Neptune’s Daughter”

"Neptune's Daughter"

“Neptune’s Daughter”

“Edge of Extinction”, an exhibit nearing its final week (June 14) at the Pence Gallery in Davis, California, features the sculpture of Lisa Reinertson, who recently visited AAU’s School of Fine Art Sculpture as a guest speaker last November. The centerpiece of “Edge” – an exquisite life-size sculpture of a young girl holding an oil-soaked pelican – made a profound impression on those entering the exhibit, and inspired us to ask the artist some questions about the piece:

Of all the pieces in your exhibit, the girl with pelican seems to embody the title – “Edge of Extinction” – most effectively. How do you feel she relates to your previous work, and how is she different?

LR: I have worked with imagery in my sculptures addressing the relationship of humans and animals over many years, but have not often referenced a specific event. In creating the sculpture “Neptune’s Daughter”, it felt necessary to me to address the specific events of oil spills and the impact on wildlife. Although, in giving the artwork the title “Neptune’s Daughter” I was opening up the concept to the timeless issues of our relationship with Nature and responsibility for stewardship.

Bronze "Neptune's Daughter"

“Neptune’s Daughter” in bronze

“Neptune’s Daughter” elegantly illustrates the plight of sea birds in a world of ever-increasing human activity. Can you elaborate on why you chose the specific model and pose you did for this piece?

LR: I wanted a young/adult/woman — a “Daughter” — who holds the mess our generation has created in her hands. She looks back over her shoulder confronting those responsible… asking what have we done — what do we plan to do? She embodies “one who is young and closer to nature; the daughter of the sea… whose world we are despoiling.

The glazing takes on special meaning here – was that part of your original inspiration for this piece?

LR: Yes. A photo of an oil drenched pelican with this brown dripping surface inspired the piece and the glaze.

Reinertson also sculpted this image in bas relief on sewer pipe

Reinertson also sculpted this image in bas relief on sewer pipe

Were there any specific challenges to sculpting or firing this sculpture?

LR: The sculpture is separated in three sections that will fit in my gas kiln. I needed to engineer the artwork in a way that it can be stabilized. The legs have threaded rods glued into the interior that extend up through the base of the skirt which it is then bolted onto. The top of the figure fits on the top of the skirt with an internal flange, similar to how a teapot lid fits onto the pot (but this is a usual process for me to use when building my standing ceramic figures.)

What part of the process in creating the girl with pelican do you want to revisit in a forthcoming piece?

LR: I actually used this imagery of “girl with oil spill drenched pelican” on two other artworks. One is a wall piece that has only the top of the figure with bird in arms. The other use of this imagery is on a large (7ft. tall) sewer pipe that I sculpted in bas relief. This was created at Mission Clay Pipes. Oh — AND I have cast the original in bronze and have given the bronze an overall blue patina with the brown on the pelican…

"Neptune's Daughter" at the Pence Gallery

“Neptune’s Daughter” at the Pence Gallery

Be sure to check out “Edge of Extinction” at the Pence Gallery in Davis before it ends on June 14, and also visit the artist’s official site!

Ramping Up for Spring Show 2013

As FASCU gets its student work ready for Spring Show next week, a handful of pieces were photographed last week in advance of the show for reference and publicity by AAU photographer Bob Toy. Here’s a handful of the photos taken, which were chosen to represent some of the many disciplines offered by AAU’s Fine Art — Sculpture program. As more finished pieces come in, we’ll be sure to showcase many of them in the days ahead…

By Richard Thoms, Life-Size Figure Modeling

By Richard Thoms, Life-Size Figure Modeling

By Emily Allen, Sculpture 1

By Emily Allen, Sculpture 1

By Josef Peters, Clay -- Advanced Techniques

By Josef Peters, Clay — Advanced Techniques

By Krittachai Srijugawan, MS Ecorche

By Krittachai Srijugawan, MS Ecorche

By Shadoe Delgado, Portrait Sculpture

By Shadoe Delgado, Portrait Sculpture

By Spencer Roland, Welded/Fabricated Sculpture

By Spencer Roland, Welded/Fabricated Sculpture

By Welat Binavi, Relief: Expression and Interpretation

By Welat Binavi, Relief: Expression and Interpretation