Category Archives: Art

Stone Sculpture Legacy Program

A couple months ago I submitted a proposal for the Stone Sculpture Legacy Program in Barre City​, made possible by the Semprebon Fund and Studio Place Arts​. My proposal was accepted based on concept, and the scale model shown here. The final piece will be carved in Barre grey granite, out of an 8 x 3 x 4ft block, and in more detail than the model. Below is the concept proposal, which asked for, “the creation of a granite sculpture that helps to tell the rich, multi-cultural story of the people who settled in Barre to work the quarries, to start small businesses, and to create their ideal new home”.

For the Stone Sculpture Legacy Program, I propose a sculpture titled “Culmination” which will consist of a cluster of geometric forms that will suggest the silhouette of a small city emerging from a mountainous base. Negative spaces around and below the cluster will refer to the “quarries” from which these forms were built. The sculpture will be slightly larger than average human height and there will be “windows” in the forms around eye-level.
The concept for “Culmination” is an abstract representation of a small developing city. The buildings will all have different shapes that recall different architectural styles from around the world to allude to the cultural diversity of Barre. The way in which those forms emerge from the boulder but remain connected to it will evoke the idea of a town which consists of many different parts but remains unified. In this way, “Culmination” will reflect the spirit of the quote by Aristotle that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” “Culmination” will be both an abstract sculpture with rough natural forms and refined geometric shapes as well as an architectural model that combines highly detailed sections which depict the facades of buildings and draw the viewer in.

1 3 scale1

The Bear

For the better part of 2014, I was working on a larger than life sized grizzly bear head, mounted on an architectural keystone. The keystone had scroll elements, known as a corbell, and acanthus leaves on the sides and under the bear’s jaw. Above the bear head is a rosette, with some basic wreath work that blends into the hair, and ogee moulding overhanging the front of the face and going back into the wall. I’ve included some progress photos showing the carving in its unfinished form, and the preliminary model in clay. Done for Barre Sculpture Studios as one of three keystones. The measurements are approximately 4 x 4 x 3ft.


IMG_2153Bear_stonefacebear shadowIMG_2385fronttop3-4side

Princess Zahara

Here are some working photos of a 1ft miniature of Princess Zahara, a character out of the Spider Stories comic book series created by John and Charles Agbaje. Their recent kickstarter campaign to create a 11 minute pilot animation of the comic was a complete success! Great job guys! More progress photos to come.



Carving the Boar

Over the last 4 months, I have been used the boar head model I sculpted in Berlin to carve the final version in stone. Here are the pictures from that process. Since the early stages aren’t really that interesting to look at, I will start with what the carving looked like about 6 weeks into the carving. Bear in mind I started from a solid block.







The last photos are after around 3 months of work. We are still waiting on a final template for the background and in the end the background will be pitched stone and in some kind of an oval shape.

Mold Making

photo by Katherin York

photo by Katherine York

photo by Katherine York

photo by Katherine York

photo by Katherine York

Thanks so much to Katherine York for helping out with the process and documentation! Check out her beautiful photos linked above.


Something Wild


Hey Ya’ll,

been a while since I posted anything. So here goes!

In addition to all the comedy I’ve been doing at night, I have have also been working on a commission for Barre Sculpture Studios back in Vermont. The project is a wild boar, to be carved in granite this winter. Here are some progress shots so you can see the evolution of the piece.

(C) Barre Sculpture Studio

(C) Barre Sculpture Studios

(C) Barre Sculpture Studios

(C) Barre Sculpture Studios

(C) Barre Sculpture Studios

To get a better idea of hair direction, here is a drawing that was done over the photo for some final editing before the sculpture is cast.

(C) Barre Sculpture Studios


(c) Barre Sculpture Studios


ComedySportz videos: First of Many

Check us out with our new internet web presence! I’m so psyched to be back in Berlin with so many funny, talented people around me! Enjoy!

Elephant Clay Model: Finshed



The smoke in the photos is not for effect, it is for keeping mosquitos away. So far, no malaria!



Elephant Sculpture on Koh Chang: updates

More updates!




Artificial Reefs and Underwater Sculpture

For the past 2 months I have been living on Koh Chang, one of Thailand’s largest islands. Near Koh Chang there are many coral reefs, and there are local initiatives to tackle the issue of dying coral reefs. Not only on Koh Chang, but all over the world people are responding to this same problem by creating new artificial reefs for coral to colonize, using different approaches. The idea of creating an artificial reef has been gaining momentum for the last 15 years.

An artist, Jason Decaires Taylor’s under water sculptures in Cancun, Mexico combine sculpture and reef restoration. Hist work resembles reminds me of the process Antony Gormley used while making Domain Field, a project he did in 2003 at the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, England. During the creation of Domain Field, Gormley made plaster life casts of 250 people from the town of Gateshead and Newcastle, and used those plaster molds as templates for constructing steel sculptures that loosely delineate the shape of each person. Gormley has also had molds of himself made to make iron casts that are installed facing the sea in Another Place, in Wattenmeer Cuxhaven, Germany. Where Gormley creates softly formed iron casts of his own body, and abstracted forms of the community members of Gateshead, Taylor creates detailed cement casts of people from the communities close to where his sculptures are installed that are softened by the coral over time. What is so interesting to me, is that Taylor has had remarkable success with growing coral, the true aim of his sculpture.

Reef Balls, the name of an NGO that could only be American, also creates underwater structures using pH neutral cement, which is what Taylor uses in creating his cement life casts. PH neutral cement being the key phrase, here. According to Reef Ball research, normal cement has a pH of 13, and alkaline levels are too high for coral to colonize when the structures are initially installed, therefore more aggressive life forms, such as barnacles and algae get there first and inhibit coral growth. The pH in the cement is neutralized through mixing additives, such as micro silica, and curing of the cement for at least 30 days. Here is a photo some finished Reef Balls before and after installation:


Ideally, aided by transplanting coral from existing reefs, it takes only a couple of years for coral to grow over the entire structure.

Though the above photo is the ideal result, I have seen many photos of Reef Balls that look unsuccessful as well. Reef Balls are installed all over the world, and I’m sure it must be hard to guarantee success for every installation. They mention on the website that they have a patent to ensure quality, but I would guess they play a role in project management as well. Site location is the most important factor when trying to create a new reef, where currents and temperature are most suitable for coral to grow.

All in all, Reef Balls are an impressive organization who have found diverse applications for their design. There are also a few related companies, one of which is called Eternal Reefs, who specialize in creating artificial reefs, or ‘memorial reefs’, which are mixed with the ashes of loved ones, complete with an engraved memorial plaque on the side. Fun!

More practical applications of the Reef Ball design are taken on by another offshoot of Reef Balls called Reef Beach, where Reef Balls are used to prevent beach erosion and act as a ‘submerged breakwaters’, surrounding long stretches of shoreline. In some cases, the Reef Balls are simultaneously used to grow oysters. Reef Beach is also undertaking Mangrove restoration using the Reef Balls.


The Reef Ball Foundation is not alone in their quest for reef restoration and coral cultivation. I came across another, more science fiction approach called Biorock, which makes similar claims to successful coral growth. Biorock has an interesting history. Originally thought of to be used in conjunction with ocean thermal energy conservation, Biorock uses the process of electrolysis to create calcium carbonate, the same substance that coral produces naturally. A steel frame is constructed and hooked up to an electric current, and over time the steel is encased in calcium carbonate produced by electrolysis. The calcium carbonate coating will then naturally attract coral, and provide an appropriate substrate where coral can be transplanted. Biorock claims to provide a substrate that makes the coral more hardy, and able to survive coral bleaching where natural coral cannot, so they claim.

Here is a great informative/promotional video from one of the founders of Biorock, Thomas Goreau Ph.D:

The founders of Biorock are a well decorated team in terms of education and work experience and the videos out there for Biorock are pretty convincing. Here is a video of a Biorock reef filmed after 2 years of growth in North Sulawesi, Indonesia:

Each method boasts positive results, but as it is noted on the Reef Ball website, no project can be successful without sufficient scientific data to back it up. The water must first be tested, and the site must be thoroughly analyzed to assess whether or not it will be a good location for coral. I doubt that building a Biorock structure in already polluted water will have good results.

That being said, both approaches leave something to be desired aesthetically. There must be a good team of biologists behind Jason Decaires Taylor work.

In addition to intentionally created artificial reefs, I also came across an unexpected and unintentional source of artificial coral reefs — the offshore oil industry. I had never thought of it before, but oil rigs also act as artificial reefs. Though I’m sure the health of marine life around active rigs is up to debate, this video shows oil rigs teeming with life:

The unintentional results of an ultimately environmentally damaging industry, are amazing. Yet decommissioned oil reefs are taken apart or even blown up, destroying the newly created reefs along with them, adding insult to injury, but there is hope. Here is a link to the Rigs-to-reefs program taken on by the U.S. Department of Interior in Texas.

My favorite method that I have found was good ol’ fashioned gardening. There is no electricity, sparing use of concrete, and a wonderful educational element behind what biologists in Fiji and the Florida keys are doing. Here are two videos about coral proliferation, or ‘coral gardening’.

To create new coral reefs, there must be a combination of good science, simple gardening (coral proliferation), and good site location with a suitable substrate. That is a lot to ask, but it is frustrating to see other examples of projects that are driven by people with no patience or true appreciation for science. Like these concrete cube frames thrown into the ocean by the Thai government, or Osbourne reef attempt off the coast of Florida.

Elephant Sculpture on Koh Chang: progress photos

Here’s an update on the elephant sculpture. Not finished yet, but getting there!
























Magic! These are just progress photos, the model should really start shaping up when I go back and visit the real thing! Her name is Churi.


Elephant Sculpture on Koh Chang

After looking around Wat Salak Phet I started asking the people still working there painting the sculptures, when the sculptor was coming back, and if I could help when he does. Everyone said he left in a hurry for another job, and no one really knows when/if he is coming back. Too bad, I really wanted to know more about the process. Although I can deduce a little bit about how the sculpture is made, that still tells me nothing about what kind of cement mixture he is using, or about any kind of prep work you need to do to the surface before applying the ornaments. I don’t even know how long you leave the cement in the plaster mold before the cement completely adheres to it! I’m sure there is plenty of steps I am missing, and the only way to know is to see it done.

When I was asking around about the sculptor I had photos of my work with me, and the head monk of the temple came over to take a look. He was impressed and said I could make a sculpture for the temple if I wanted to, and they would provide the supplies! Since Koh Chang means ‘elephant island’ I suggested making an elephant. The monk showed me a patch of grass where I could make a large sculpture, which was nice, but I didn’t want to get in over my head.

First I needed some clay so I could make a few quick studies, or maquettes. I asked one of the painters, Phoom, who spoke english, if he knew where I could get clay. He said yes, and that I could come back the next day to go with him to pick up some clay. The next day, he took me to a ditch further down the road and sure enough, there was clay there with rocks and roots and all! I could tell it was nice white clay, and it was going to take some work, but it was free–and I can go back for more any time I like.

So it took a full week just to dry out the clay, crush it up, take out the big rocks and roots, and let it sit in water for a night. There were still too many little rocks in the clay, so I had to filter it a second time with a finer screen. Now I have a pretty good amount of clay, but it is still slip (clay in liquid form).



I managed to dry enough in the sun to make a maquette. Here it is:


Here I am working on the maquette, with the head monk, Pa Ahjahn.

and it took another two weeks before I could get a ride to the mainland to buy some plaster for a plaster table for drying out wet clay. Now I have the plaster table, and some old plaster molds I found in the inner temple courtyard but they still need to dry out before proper use.

      The lack of readily usable clay doesn’t prevent me from getting started on the larger elephant model. The temple has plenty of extra steel rod lying around, and there is a workshop down the road with a welding machine. The workshop I went to is used mainly for boat repair.

Plenty of space to weld an elephant armature! First time I’ve welded without gloves, and in flip flops!

Next, I applied drywall plaster to the armature. Now all I have to do is wedge out a lot of clay…

Sculpture at Wat Salakphet

‘Wat’ is Thai for temple, and Salak Phet is the fishing village down the road from Salak Kok, where I am staying on Koh Chang.

  After my first week on Koh Chang I went down to Salak Phet to see the temple that was built over the last couple of years. I was very impressed with how elaborate the temple was for such a small town. The temple is surrounded by a giant snake, and each corner has a god representing north, south, east, and west.   Here is the impressive entrance.

After walking once around the temple I noticed that some parts were still unfinished.

As a sculptor, this is actually a great opportunity to learn more about how the Thai sculptors work. It is a combination of modeling and sculpting cement, and mold making. Everything is added directly to a steel armature and built out. In the photo above, you can see the armature of the elephant still exposed, as well as the partially finished underlying form. When I walked into the inner courtyard I found more clues on how the sculptures are made.

It looks like for ornaments/elements of finer detail, small molds are made for fast application. For example, above you can see leftovers from the scales on the snake. I imagine it’s the same process for all of the little ornaments. They are applied to a built out form.

So I imagine that for the snake, first they made a long, rolling tube-cage out of steel rod, and then wrapped that in chicken wire, then applied the first coat of cement. After achieving a uniform shape, they then started adding the scales with little plaster molds for days and days… a little silly, but more direct, and probably faster for unique sculptures like these. There is also a second kind of white cement, which is kind of a mix between plaster and cement, which is used for the detailed top layer in places where the molds don’t fit, like when the snake bends around a corner. It’s very interesting to see, and I hope the sculptor comes back soon, although it looks like he left in a hurry…