The Shape of Things

Donald Lipski’s creative practice is deeply rooted in a lifetime fascination with everyday objects, often discarded by others and discovered and re-contextualized by the artist. These objects begin to work together and find their potential when paired and grouped together into assemblages. Most notably his installation entitled Gathering Dust, comprised of thousands of tiny sculptures pinned to the wall, was first exhibited at New York's Artists Space in 1978, and months later at The Museum of Modern Art as part of their Project series. Since 1993 Lipski has been increasing the scale of these assemblages in the context of public art, furthering an artistic practice developed through the exploration and experimentation with items typically viewed as utilitarian. We’ve been fortunate to work with Lipski on numerous projects over the years and it’s always inspiring to see his creative process unfold.

In a recent article for Glass Quarterly Magazine Eve Aaron perfectly captures Lipski’s excitement when discussing his artistic practice and how it relates to the viewer.

Meet "The Mischief Makers"

Thanks to Denver Life Magazine for their recent feature on Denver based artist Kevin Sloan’s first work of public art entitled, The Mischief Makers. We had the pleasure of overseeing this project on behalf our clients over at Continuum Partners as they continue to work on their redevelopment project to reintegrate the former 26-acre University of Colorado School of Medicine campus into the surrounding neighborhood fabric by blending apartments and townhomes with retail, offices and new public green spaces. This article gives great insight into the process of public art selection and gives a great overview of all the work that went into this project.

Kevin Sloan’s “The Mischief Makers”, 2018. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Kevin Sloan’s “The Mischief Makers”, 2018. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Public Art: Where to Start?

As an artist it can be overwhelming to imagine translating your studio work into public art. Here are a few tips to help get your creative gears turning.

Tip One: Determine what opportunities are right for you. CaFÉ and CODAworx are great resources for artists. These websites are updated regularly with RFQs (Request for Qualifications) and some of the opportunities are geared towards artists who have not yet completed their first work of public art. Read the call carefully, if a requirement is having completed two previous works of public art and you haven’t completed your first yet, it’s not the right fit. Connect with your local Public Arts Organization to learn more about opportunities in your area. If you are in the Denver area, Denver Arts and Venues is an excellent resource, they post opportunities and host various events through out the year geared towards educating artists about the Public Art selection process.

Pictured: Denver painter, Kevin Sloan’s original work enlarged by local mural painters for our client Continuum Partners’ new development at 9th and Colorado in Denver. This is Sloan’s first work of public art and largest work to date.

Pictured: Denver painter, Kevin Sloan’s original work enlarged by local mural painters for our client Continuum Partners’ new development at 9th and Colorado in Denver. This is Sloan’s first work of public art and largest work to date.

Tip Two: Research materials. So you’re a painter, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to only work with paint at a scale you are comfortable with. When Grand Peaks reached out to us to help them integrate public art onto an exterior wall we knew we needed to work with durable materials that could stand the test of time and stand up to Denver’s intense sun and fluctuating temperatures. Denver painter Elsa Sroka proposed a playful and imaginative composition that we had translated into ceramic tiles, increasing the longevity of the work while allowing Sroka to scale her work up for her first public art project without having to paint on a monumental scale.

Pictured: Public Art Services Team with Artist Elsa Sroka after unpacking 387 ceramic tiles that will soon be installed on the exterior wall of Grand Peaks’ new development project, Spur at Iliff Station, coming to Aurora in Summer 2019.

Pictured: Public Art Services Team with Artist Elsa Sroka after unpacking 387 ceramic tiles that will soon be installed on the exterior wall of Grand Peaks’ new development project, Spur at Iliff Station, coming to Aurora in Summer 2019.

Tip Three: You don’t have to do it all! This is extremely important for artists to remember. There are trained professionals out there to assist in the creation of your work. Dream big! We work with skilled fabricators and engineerings through out the US and abroad who can help bring your creative vision to life. All you have to do is come up with the idea and we can help with the rest.

Pictured: Donald Lipski’s SPOT installed at NYU Langone's new Hassenfeld Children's Hospital in New York in Summer 2018. We led a team of talented fabricators, engineerings, lighting designers and artists to help bring Lipski’s monumental vision to life.

Pictured: Donald Lipski’s SPOT installed at NYU Langone's new Hassenfeld Children's Hospital in New York in Summer 2018. We led a team of talented fabricators, engineerings, lighting designers and artists to help bring Lipski’s monumental vision to life.

What are your burning questions surrounding public art? Leave a comment below to start a discussion.

William Matthews Project Announcement

We are very excited to announce an upcoming project we’ve been working on with Denver based painter William Matthews. Best known for his depictions of the American West, Matthews is a skilled watercolor artist whose work appears in many private and public collections including the Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City and the Denver Art Museum, just to name a few.

Creative Project Manager, John Grant on site with the fabricators in Cuernavaca.

Creative Project Manager, John Grant on site with the fabricators in Cuernavaca.

Public Art Services, Creative Project Manager John Grant and Matthews just returned from a trip to Cuernavaca to check in on the progress of a massive mosaic tile mural reproduction of Matthews original watercolor painting.

The talented artisans behind the creation of this mosaic tile mural.

The talented artisans behind the creation of this mosaic tile mural.

Each tile is individually selected and cut by hand using special hammers. A life size reproduction of the work is used as a template to guide the skilled artisans during the creation of the mural.

A detail of the mosaic tile mural.

A detail of the mosaic tile mural.

Once completed this 63' x 12’ mosaic tile mural will be installed over the South entrance of the new 14,000 seat, 230,000 square foot Dickies Arena, adjacent to the Will Rodgers Memorial Campus in Fort Worth, Texas. When installed, bronze bas-relief sculptures, translated from Matthews original watercolors, will flank both sides of the mosaic tile mural.

William Matthews with the talented team of artisans working on his mosaic tile mural.

William Matthews with the talented team of artisans working on his mosaic tile mural.

This project is a great example of translating an artists preferred medium into a durable material that is both visually stunning and will stand the test of time as part of an outdoor installation. Check back for more updates to come on this project and visit our completed projects section to see how we worked with Matthews in 2016 to translate his work into a beautiful woven tapestry for the Country Club Towers in Denver.

William Matthews with a 12’ clay rendering for the bronze bas-relief sculpture.

William Matthews with a 12’ clay rendering for the bronze bas-relief sculpture.

If are you in the Denver area, join us Thursday March 7th from 4pm-7pm at William Matthews Studio for a sneak peek at the 12’ clay renderings for the bronze bas-relief sculptures.

Vancouver Water Feature Update

The redevelopment of the Vancouver Waterfront Park is centered around making the waterfront accessible to the surrounding community for the first time in 100 years. The Waterfront Park spans 7-acres and connects the entire 20 block development with spaces for the public to relax and enjoy the waterfront view. In September of 2018 Larry Kirkland’s design for the Grant Street Pier opened to the public and has since received some well deserved recognition. With the Grant Street Pier now complete we turn our attention to the next phase of the project, Kirkland’s design for a Water Feature with a focus on education and exploration.

Digital Rendering courtesy of Michael Mowry

Digital Rendering courtesy of Michael Mowry

Kirkland’s design for the Water Feature serves as a community gathering place that will educate and inspire. A large granite wall at one end of the Water Feature features a bronze topographic map of the Columbia River Watershed showing park visitors how water affects their environment. The water will flow through and around marble slabs stacked and engraved with significant quotes about water in celebration of this waterway and our connection to this vital element. 

Digital Rendering courtesy of Michael Mowry

Digital Rendering courtesy of Michael Mowry

Last year we traveled to Carrara, Italy to check in on the progress of the massive marble slabs being sliced and engraved as per the designs exact specifications. Since then the marble has been delivered to the work site and the installation team has begun placing them.

Photo courtesy of Larry Kirkland

Photo courtesy of Larry Kirkland

Check back for more updates on this project and make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for regular project updates.

Donald Lipski's The Aviators

The Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport recently unveiled Donald Lipski’s The Aviators as part of their newly redesigned Terminal 3. Although we wrapped up installation for this project back in November we had to keep things under wraps until the new terminal was officially open.

Photo courtesy of Donald Lipski.

Photo courtesy of Donald Lipski.

The newly-revamped terminal, which was recently re-named after John McCain, opened January 7th, 2019. Cindy McCain, wife of the late Arizona senator, was in attendance at the press conference and had this to say about Lipski’s design, "The aviators up there are the best. I can say, John would've loved that."

Photo courtesy of Donald Lipski.

Photo courtesy of Donald Lipski.

The Aviators, consists of three parts: an enormous pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses measuring 25’ x 9’ and weighing in at 2,000 lbs, which hover in front of a 90’ wide oil-on-canvas painting of a sky with clouds, which is framed in a traditional wooden frame, which houses lighting.

Photo courtesy of Donald Lipski.

Photo courtesy of Donald Lipski.

It was a pleasure as always working with Donald Lipski and our wonderful team of collaborators to bring this work to life. Congratulations Donald! Click here to learn more about this project.

2018: A Year in Review

2018 was a big year for Public Art Services, we wrapped up seven large scale public art installations spread across two countries and seven cities and we began work on several exciting projects to come in 2019. Here’s a look back at 2018 and the artists we were fortunate enough to partner with to help bring their creative visions to life.


Donald Lipski’s SPOT

Photo by George Etheredge for The New York Times

Photo by George Etheredge for The New York Times

In May of 2018 Donald Lipski’s SPOT, an already iconic 2 1/2 story tall Dalmatian balancing a real Prius taxi cab on its nose, was unveiled at NYU Langone's new Hassenfeld Children's Hospital in New York. Lipski wanted to make something so astounding it would distract even those arriving for the most serious procedures, and so lovable that young patients coming back again and again with chronic conditions would see SPOT as an old friend. "I like to think that the parents, the doctors, the nurses, the staff and the neighbors, will all be smitten by this playful, heroic young dog doing the impossible. Art has actual healing power," says Lipski when describing the 2 1/2 story tall Dalmatian balancing a taxi cab on it's nose. The Hassenfeld family, which started the Hasbro toy company, were major donors for the newly constructed hospital which influenced Lipski's thinking, "I wanted it to be about toys and play in some way." 


Catherine Widgery’s Woven Light

Photo by Eve Chayes Lyman

Photo by Eve Chayes Lyman

In May 2018 Catherine Widgery's Woven Light was inducted into Denver’s Public Art Collection. Located in Northfield's Uplands Park in Stapleton, CO, Woven Light is an outdoor room; you are inside and outside at the same time and the shadows, light and projected color make you more conscious of the sun and the breeze than if you were standing in the open. When seen from the outside, the dichroic glass between the slats reflects the sky and surrounding trees. Inside is like being in a kaleidoscope of moving colored lights on the darkened interior as the sun shifts angles. We can look through the openings or through the glass that changes the color of the landscape like a lens. Endlessly changing patterns of crisscrossing shadows and reflected light within and on the ground dematerialize the structure and make a rich shadow on the ground extending the impact of the art beyond its physical boundaries. 


Donald Lipski’s The Canoes 

Photo by John Grant

Photo by John Grant

In August of 2018 Donald Lipski unveiled his design for the pedestrian overlook on the new Lesner Bridge in Virginia Beach. It is a freestanding sculpture consisting of a stainless steel catenary arch supporting 10 canoes arranged in a star pattern, with a delicate filigree of cut out patterns. Lipski came up with the canoe design after learning that Adam Keeling, who owned a plantation nearby in the 1600s, and a group of others, dug a trench wide enough for a canoe to cross a sandbar between the Lynnhaven River and the Chesapeake Bay. A storm with high tides widened the ditch that became the Lynnhaven Inlet.


Larry Kirkland’s Grant Street Pier

Photo by Craig Collins

Photo by Craig Collins

In September 2018 Larry Kirkland’s Grant Street Pier in Vancouver, WA was opened to the public. Kirkland’s design features a mast intended to mirror a sailboat passing along the Columbia River. The Pedestrian Wharf is suspended  over the Columbia as a cable stay structure. Installation is currently underway for Kirkland’s design for the Columbia Basin Water Feature constructed from massive engraved marble blocks and cast bronze detailing. Stay tuned for more details to come in 2019.


Donald Lipski’s The Nest

Photo by Donald Lipski

Photo by Donald Lipski

In November of 2018 we wrapped up not one but two Donald Lipski installations, once of which was The Nest for Calgary’s spectacular new 330,000 sq. ft. Seton Recreational Facility. Donald Lipski created a nine foot diameter acrylic “nest” with three flocks of life-sized hawks, owls and herons flying to it, each bringing a new branch for the nest. The nest was built in Denver, CO and the birds were brilliantly sculpted by Christopher Collins in Pennsylvania. We’ll be sharing more info later in the month in regards to the other Lipski installation we wrapped up this past November.


Matthew Geller’s As Rose As Rain

Photo by  Allison Moix of Stellar Propeller Studio

Photo by Allison Moix of Stellar Propeller Studio

In November 2018 Matthew Geller’s interactive sculpture As Rose As Rain was unveiled at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind in Colorado Springs. The circular bench seats up to a dozen people who can rock and sway on the bench that is supported by four large compression springs. The dynamics of compression springs and their uneven spacing means the structure responds differently depending on where one sits and how many people are sitting on the bench. The artwork’s sloped canopy includes nine translucent colored polycarbonate skylights that rock along with the bench. On sunny days, the canopy’s shadow and color projections on the ground move in sync with the bench. The canopy also creates a passive water feature as it collects rainwater (or snow) that drains through a hole and splashes on the ground into a circular gravel-filled drain.


December 2018

Photo by Daisy Patton

Photo by Daisy Patton

In December of 2018 our focused shifted to local, Denver based artists as mural painters began work on two large scale reproductions of works by Denver based painters Daisy Patton and Kevin Sloan for Continuum Partner’s new development at 9th and Colorado. Creative Project Manager, John Grant traveled to Mexico City as part of an upcoming installation with Denver based artist William Matthews and installation wrapped for a new work by Denver based artist David Zimmer which will be unveiled in downtown Denver soon.

Thank you to all of our amazing partners who helped to complete these incredible projects in 2018. We look forward to another amazing year ahead full of new and exciting creative challenges.

PBS Curate 757

Congratulations to Donald Lipski on his feature in the most recent episode of the PBS program Curate 757. Check out the full episode below to get a behind the scenes look at the installation of "The Canoes" on the Lesner Bridge in Virginia Beach, installed in July 2018. Along with our talented team we were able to bring Donald's incredible vision to life. If you're curious about how these works come to be, this is a great overview of all the behind the scenes work that goes into the making of a work of public art. Click here for more information on this installation.

3 Outdoor Art Shows and One Trusty Dog (With Tricks!)

 
Donald Lipski’s “Spot,” at the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, features a 24-foot-tall Dalmatian balancing a taxi (yes, that's a real New York City cab) on its nose. Photo Credit George Etheredge for The New York Times

Donald Lipski’s “Spot,” at the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, features a 24-foot-tall Dalmatian balancing a taxi (yes, that's a real New York City cab) on its nose. Photo Credit George Etheredge for The New York Times

Thank you to Nancy Princenthal of the New York Times for including Donald Lipski’s “Spot” in their look at outdoor artwork around New York City. Read the excerpt below.

“‘Spot’ invokes a couple of generations of animated films starring anthropomorphic cars, as well as even more familiar children’s movies featuring dogs, specifically “101 Dalmatians.” Jeff Koons’s giant floral puppy is somewhere in the mix, too. 

Mr. Lipski, a veteran public artist with an acute sense of materials, purpose and place, is canny about all these references. But this colossal canine (made with the assistance of the realist sculptor Chris Collins) is uniquely irresistible. Its eyes bright, stance firm, tail curled happily and ears trustingly down, it seems ready to hold this impossible balancing act forever. 

Mr. Lipski has said that besides wanting this work to be playful, he intended it “to have assets we hope to find in our doctors: focus, confidence, patience and sweetness.” At the same time, “Spot” opens a little door in the real world, wormholing straight to the joyful absurdity of a happy kid’s dream life, a destination that never gets old.”

Click here to read the full article.

The Canoes pays tribute to Virginia Beach's past

Donald Lipski's newest work of Public Art was installed last month in Virginia Beach. The Canoes is located at the pedestrian overlook on the new Lesner Bridge in Virginia Beach. It is a freestanding sculpture consisting of a stainless steel catenary arch supporting 10 canoes arranged in a star pattern, with a delicate filigree of cut out patterns.

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Lipski came up with the canoe design after learning that Adam Keeling, who owned a plantation nearby in the 1600s, and a group of others, dug a trench wide enough for a canoe to cross a sandbar between the Lynnhaven River and the Chesapeake Bay. A storm with high tides widened the ditch that became the Lynnhaven Inlet.

Click here to read the full article The Virginia-Pilot published about The Canoes. Click here to view more images of this project. 

The Dedication of 'Woven Light'

Last week we gathered with community members and DPS students to celebrate the dedication of Catherine Widgery's newest work of public art, Woven Light, as it was welcomed into the Denver Public Art Collection. Located in Denver's Northfield Community at Uplands Park (5007 Willow Street), this interactive work of art encourages exploration of the structure and how it relates to it's surroundings, specifically the natural light.

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Catherine was on hand to talk about her vision for this work, answer questions and sign autographs for the students. Watch the video clip below to see what happens when 30 elementary school students descend on Woven Light.

In the artist's words, "Woven Light is an outdoor room; you are inside and outside at the same time and the shadows, light and projected color make you more conscious of the sun and the breeze than if you were standing in the open."

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"When seen from the outside, the dichroic glass between the slats reflects the sky and surrounding trees.  Inside is like being in a kaleidoscope of moving colored lights on the darkened interior as the sun shifts angle. We can look through the openings or through the glass that changes the color of the landscape like a lens.  Endlessly changing patterns of crisscrossing shadows and reflected light within and on the ground dematerialize the structure and make a rich shadow on the ground extending the impact of the art beyond its physical boundaries."

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"Woven Light is a shady refuge from the intensity of the prairie light. The angle of the slats will always cast shadow somewhere in the structure no matter where the sun.  Seating along the curved walls inside encourages people to stay and ponder the light and space. Woven Light is a structure through which we discover the beauty that surrounds us: the sky, mountains in the distance, sunlight and leaves on the nearby trees moving in the wind."

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Thank you to everyone who made it out in celebration of this stunning work of public art. We look forward to revisiting this work for years to come. If you are in the Denver area make sure to plan a visit. 

Grant Street Pier Time Lapse Video

A truly awe inspiring time lapse video of the installation of Larry Kirkland’s recently completed design for the Grant Street Pier in Vancouver, WA. Kirkland’s design features a mast intended to mirror a sailboat passing along the Columbia River. The 1:15 video captures the nearly two year long installation of this massive work of public art. The Pier will be open to the public later this Fall. Still underway, Kirkland’s design for the neighboring Columbia Basin Water Feature. Thank you to Michael Mowry for his work on this project, it’s always a pleasure to collaborate with such a talented Denver based creative.

A City of Vancouver project. Video shot by Lioneye Aerials.

Meet SPOT!

Installation is currently underway in NYC for Donald Lipski's most recent work of public art. 'SPOT!' now lives at the NYU Langone's new Hassenfeld Children's Hospital. Donald Lipski has designed a sculpture sure to capture the hearts and imaginations of the patients and families who enter this new state of the art facility. Lipski wanted to make something so astounding it would distract even those arriving for the most serious procedures, and so lovable that young patients coming back again and again with chronic conditions would see SPOT! as an old friend. "I like to think that the parents, the doctors, the nurses, the staff and the neighbors, will all be smitten by this playful, heroic young dog doing the impossible. Art has actual healing power," says Lipski when describing the 2 1/2 story tall Dalmatian balancing a taxi cab on it's nose. Click here to read more about this project. 

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Special thanks to everyone who made this project possible:

FAST Corp, Nick Geurts and Ryan Elmendorf of Yetiweurks Art + Engineering, Christopher Collins, Jamie Powell and his team at Maaco, Dynamite Graphic, a team of riggers and installers from Crozier Fine Arts, led by Susie Parker, Katherine Meeham the Manager of NYU’s Public Art Program and Collection and many more. 

Behind the Scenes Peek at SGF in Carrara

John recently traveled to Carrara, Italy to check in on the progress of an upcoming project in the works with Larry Kirkland. Carrara is well known for the white and blue-grey marble that is quarried there alongside the Carrione River. SGF Sculpture & Design has been realizing works in marble, granite and other stones for international artists, architects and designers since 1973. Their facility fabricates large scale sculpture and also offers studio space and assistance to artists who prefer to work on site. Here's John's photo journal from his recent trip, enjoy!

Closing the Books on 'Woven Light'

Installation for Catherine Widgery's 'Woven Light' wrapped up earlier this month. Thanks to the amazing team at JunoWorks and Cody Moore for all their hard work on this project. 

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"Woven Light is an outdoor room; you are inside and outside at the same time and the shadows, light and projected color make you more conscious of the sun and the breeze than if you were standing in the open. When seen from the outside, the dichroic glass between the slats reflects the sky and surrounding trees. Inside is like being in a kaleidoscope of moving colored lights on the darkened interior as the sun shifts angle."

denver_woven light_catherine widgery_public art services_j grant projects_9.jpg

"We can look through the openings or through the glass that changes the color of the landscape like a lens. Endlessly changing patterns of crisscrossing shadows and reflected light within and on the ground dematerialize the structure and make a rich shadow on the ground extending the impact of the art beyond its physical boundaries. Woven Light is a shady refuge from the intensity of the prairie light. The angle of the slats will always cast shadow somewhere in the structure no matter where the sun.  Seating along the curved walls inside encourages people to stay and ponder the light and space. Woven Light is a structure through which we discover the beauty that surrounds us: the sky, mountains in the distance, sunlight and leaves on the nearby trees moving in the wind." Text from Catherine Widgery: widgery.com

denver_woven light_catherine widgery_public art services_j grant projects_8.jpg

If you are in the Denver area you can experience ‘Woven Light’ at the Northfield Uplands Park in Stapleton.

Grant Street Pier Complete

The excerpt below is taken from the article Troy Brynelson wrote for The Columbian in January of 2018 in regards to the recent completion of Larry Kirkland's Grant Street Pier design as part of the Vancouver Waterfront Park. 

"Internationally known artist Larry Kirkland designed the pier with both form and function in mind. Permanent beams would disrupt the river too much, so his design channeled a ship to hang a V-shaped walkway from a 75-foot mast.

“It was just a suggestion in a meeting that I said I bet you could hold this up with a mast and get rid of the pilings,” Kirkland said. “Nobody wanted those.”

When asked how closely the nearly finished pier matched his vision, Kirkland said “I’m thrilled. I can’t wait to walk out there.”

The pier and two restaurant buildings along the shore at its sides are expected to open in July.

Kirkland, who is based in Washington D.C., flew in and visited the pier on Wednesday when the sky was a monochromatic gray. He said he realized how the pier will change with the weather.

“Against a blue sky it’s going to feel very different,” he said. “I think that’s the nice thing about it: as a static thing, it’s going to change as the sky around it changes.”

Crews now will turn their attention to building a 3,800-square-foot plaza that ties together the pier and the buildings. Made of concrete and basalt pavers, the plaza will include bench seating and plants."

Vancouver Waterfront Update

With the Pier section of the Vancouver Waterfront, designed by Larry Kirkland, now complete, focus is shifting to the interactive Water Feature. The interactive Water Feature is both a place to play as well as learn and contemplate the Columbia River, it’s tributaries and the  vast land area that makes up it’s watershed.

 

Woven Light Site Visit

Here are some progress shots taken during a recent site visit to Catherine Widgery's work Woven Light currently being installed at Northfield Uplands Park in Stapleton, CO.