Interactive Sculpture Playground. Alandele Circle Park, La Brea Apartments, LA. This is an enlarged-in-scale sculpture of a fossil-like saber tooth cat that emerges, half-sunken, from a sandy floor. To the passer-by and the public imagination, this skeletal sculpture injects a modern, iconic interpretation of natural history into the realm of unusual public artwork. The sculpture is made up of 5 pieces covering approximately 2000 sq.f.
The architects wanted a five-piece sculpture that would continue the spiral formed by the palm trees in the surrounding landscape. A fossil-like representation of a saber tooth cat was chosen to honor the history of the La Brea area and its famous tar pits where such famous fossils had been discovered. Thus, the artwork was intended to be integrated with the local area as well as serve as a playground for children. The pieces were hand-carved in foam, reinforced and finished with a cement "skin" that is textured and devoid of sharp points to ensure safety.
I was approached by landscape architects to design a sculpture that would continue the line of spiral formed by palm trees, contain five pieces, and serve also as an interactive playground. As part of my research of the local area, I visited Page Museum and was captivated by a skeleton of a saber tooth cat skull. This inspired the design idea, which I modified by enlarging it so that kids could walk between eye sockets, rib bones, etc. I also worked closely with a safety expert to ensure that the climbing sculpture would be safe for kids to play and climb on. As the artist, I supervised all phases of the project: design, fabrication, installation.
All pieces were hand-carved and the technology used for fabrication offers several benefits. The pieces are about 10 times lighter in weight than would be the case if they were solid concrete, yet the sculpture is also incredibly durable. In the decade since installation, it has withstood the elements and resisted cracking or other damage. It was also very cost-effective compared to other methods of fabrication.
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