23" wide x 35" tall x 48" deep
Last year in 2022 I was honored to be accepted into artfields an incredible art competition held in Lake City SC, and after experiencing it I knew I wanted to apply again but wanted to create something specifically for the event. I wanted to challenge myself and try something that I didn't know if I could pull off. And as I thought about it I thought maybe it was time to try to create a mammal with fur.
Mammals are something I have really wanted to make for a while but there are many things that make them incredibly challenging from complex compound curves in their faces and musculature and of course dreaded fur. Stainless steel is not an easy metal to work with and shape. I often describe working with it as imagine you need to make an oval shape out of a piece of paper, if you bend it into a soft curve one way and then bend that same paper the other way it will buckle at the corners making it very hard to bend it into a domed oval shape. Stainless is very similar. And since I color all of my sculptures using only heat I often need to cold shape things after I have colored them making it nearly impossible to create the complex shapes of say a mammals face.
But I decided the only way to figure it out is to decide to make one and have a timeline with an end date set so after much thinking I decided on a male lion installation.
Creating the face was by far the most challenging part. I first mocked it up with 1/8" rod and then heat shaped each piece to fit perfectly in between each rod piece (photos above). Once all the spaces were filled I welded the seems thoroughly and ground them back to smooth which took a few days. Then came the challenge of coloring them. Since I color using only heat the seems between the panels were thicker because of the 1/8" rod meaning that in order to get them to be the golden color I wanted the panels on either side got far hotter and ended up blue. So I had to go back and forth between coloring and then grind off all the other color and feather it back in and repeat this process until everything was a uniform golden color. Then came eyes, gums, teeth whiskers, tongue, the roof of the mouth etc. Once the face was complete I then created an extensive internal weight bearing structure. Then it was on to the paws and arms. These were also incredibly challenging and if I'm being honest I am not super happy with how they turned out but I had to make a decision due to timeframe and I do think they worked well enough. though if I had more time or a budget for this piece I would have created the separate muscle groups for the arms to give it a lot more life! Maybe next time haha.
Then it was on to cutting thousands of pieces of mane hair. This was incredibly tedious but once I got them all welded on I shaped each one by hand to help them feel a bit more natural and then created the "broken" wall background to create the illusion that the lion was bursting through the wall.
All things considered I am very proud of this piece and I am excited to install it in Artflieds 2023 from April 19th - 29th. I can't wait to see what folks think of it!
This beast ended up weighing in at 93 pounds!
This lion sculpture is wall hanging and is safe to be kept outdoors.