Client: Alameda Public Art
Location: Alameda, CA, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $150,000
Alameda PAC coordinator
Alameda Economic Development
Concrete Foundation and pad
Calimar is a 12-foot tall cast bronze public sculpture commissioned by the city of Alameda and granted by Alameda Public Art. A tribute to marine life, this interactive monument sits on the edge of the water, facing the San Francisco Bay and the sea lions that rest nearby. A squid standing tall on its tentacles, with portholes instead of suckers, the sculpture can be climbed on and gently tapped. The bell shape creates a delightful sound that perfectly resonates in its inner space.
I proposed this project to Alameda’s RFP with the intention to create something iconic for that specific location on the water. I wanted to bring attention to the dire condition of the ocean by celebrating one of the most recognizable and beloved marine species: cephalopods. The sculpture is intended to be a landmark for kids to play with, for people to jog, bike or just sit by, interacting with the space and the structure itself. The location is also an important host for nautical reasons: the historic USS Hornet and a new ferry terminal. Calimar had to dialogue with its surrounding, so portholes were added in lieu of suckers, giving the piece a slightly steampunk style, rather than realistic.
After the project for Calimar had been approved and the bureaucratic phase started, Alameda Public Art’s coordinators’ efforts were critical in getting all the permits and logistics in place in order to begin fabrication. The sculpture, initially a small scall model roughly 2 feet tall, was digitally scanned and enlarged 6 folds, then CNC milled in EPS foam. Then it was resurfaced with clay to render the lost details and give the proper texture and finally molded in rubber and plaster. Artworks Foundry, whom I have been working with since 2010, cast, welded, chased and created the patina. A site-specific concrete pad was created and Calimar was finally installed on November 2021, a year after fabrication begun.