Client: Auckland Council
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Completion date: 2019
Art Foundry / Fabrication
Ronnie van Hout
A 5.6-metre-high hyper-realist sculpture, designed by internationally renowned New Zealand-born artist Ronnie van Hout, has arrived at Potters Park in the Auckland suburb of Mt Eden.
Called ‘Boy Walking’, the artwork depicts a larger-than-life child strolling with purpose. Towering above the streetscape of Dominion Road, the figure walks confidently with a determined stride, head up, focus and an assured smile.
Through Boy Walking, the artist explores the notion of a child transitioning into adulthood.
Curator of contemporary art at the Auckland Art Gallery Natasha Conland says: “It’s great to see art activating our public parks and spaces. An experienced artist like Ronnie van Hout is always going to give us a memorable sculpture; something that sticks in our minds reviving our creative perspectives.”
New Zealand born multi-disciplinary artist Ronnie van Hout worked with UAP to fabricate Boy Walking, a public artwork commission for Potters Park in Auckland, New Zealand. Van Hout’s monumental sculpture depicts – as the artwork title suggests – a hyper realistic oversized boy, mid stride. Standing at 5.6 meters tall and fabricated in cast aluminum, the artwork evokes both change and optimism, acting as a towering landmark for the park.
Making Boy Walking was an 18-month procedure. Van Hout devised a concept for Auckland Council which, when accepted, involved making a full-scale model of the sculpture cut from blocks of expanded polystyrene using a CNC router with the moulds then cast in aluminium and painted.
Improvements in 3D design technology made it possible and, while it sounds simple, involved numerous steps. Because the internal structure of Boy Walking is heavy steel armature, it needed to be precisely engineered to support the sculpture from loads and prevailing winds then installed perfectly on near-invisible footings in the park.
The form of the artwork was developed by the artist by scanning an actual boy (his son) and creating a 3D model. UAP were engaged through the design development phase to resolve the form, scale, engineering and finish. The resulting work was expertly fabricated by UAP using 3D scanning and HoloLens technology to achieve the perceived walking movement of the sculpture and the custom paint finish.