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

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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 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!

FASCU Chair Noble by Jihoon Choi

Student Jihoon Choi has been keeping the staff and faculty here at the Cannery gleefully entertained with his summer series of faculty portrait sculptures (previous entries included Associate Director Margaret Keelan and instructor DJ Burt). We snapped a couple dozen images of his latest portrait of FASCU Chair Lawrence Noble and plugged them into a gif for some added value. With several weeks left in the summer session, we’re sure to see more faculty members in clay emerge from the studio of Jihoon Choi…

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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

Get Immortalized With Yoda and Indy at New Park

Later this summer, San Anselmo residents and Star Wars/Indiana Jones fans alike will have a new place to soak in the Marin County sunshine and become one with the Force. The San Anselmo Park project, which is being built on land donated by San Anselmo resident George Lucas and will feature two life-size bronzes sculpted by Academy of Art University’s very own Sculpture Chair Lawrence Noble, will provide San Anselmo residents with a new city jewel and visitor destination.

(See also: Lucasfilm’s Yoda Fountain: A Discussion with the Artist)

Yoda and Indiana Jones bronzes by Lawrence Noble will be installed over a fountain at the new San Anselmo Park

Life-size Yoda and Indiana Jones bronzes by Lawrence Noble will be installed over a fountain at the new San Anselmo Park

The bronzes – a Yoda identical to the one installed at Lucasfilm’s Presidio and Big Rock Ranch campuses and an all-new life-size Indiana Jones – will tower over an artful stone fountain along the western edge of the park, which is located at the corner of San Anselmo Ave. and Magnolia Ave. While the land has been donated by Lucas, the fountain, benches, lampposts, drinking fountains, trees, landscaping and other features will be funded by donations collected by the San Anselmo Community Foundation – which is where fans and park enthusiasts come in!
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Lucasfilm’s Yoda Fountain: A Discussion with the Artist

Several weeks ago, Academy of Art University Director of Sculpture Lawrence Noble and Director of Online Graduate Studies Jason Shaeffer had the privilege of visiting Lucasfilm’s Presidio campus in San Francisco to discuss the many bronze statues that adorn the park-like campus. The bronzes, which were all sculpted by Director Noble in the years before his arrival at AAU, have become something of an attraction at Lucasfilm headquarters, none more so than the Yoda fountain that greets visitors at the complex’s main entrance near Letterman Drive.

As the video discussion reveals, each sculpture is the result of a journey from concept to realization as well as a meeting of the minds between artist and client. We at AAU are extremely thankful that Lucasfilm provided this rare opportunity to hear the stories of these bronzes from the artist who created them, and hope that they will inspire students of sculpture to suit up (Noble’s words) and do, or do not — there is no try (Yoda’s words).

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll share some of the other bronzes Director Noble has done for Lucasfilm at the Presidio, including those of Willis O’Brien, Eadweard Muybridge, Philo Farnsworth, and Darth Vader – stay tuned!

For those interested in the Yoda bronze, you’ll be happy to know that The New San Anselmo Downtown Park project will be installing a bronze Yoda — and life-size Indiana Jones — on land donated by George Lucas himself! For details about the park and how you can make a donation to get your name on a plaque installed at the park, visit the San Anselmo Downtown Park Fund site!