Camaraderie

Submitted by Joe O'Connell

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Client: Department of Veterans Affairs

Location: San Jose, CA, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $300,000

Project Team

Artist

Creative Machines

Artist

Blessing Hancock

Artist

Joe O'Connell

Creative Machines

Overview

Camaraderie is a series of three monumental sculptures nestled outside a veteran’s clinic in San Jose, CA. The piece celebrates the unique and enduring fellowships that are built within the military tradition. The sculpture integrates words drawn from stories, collected from true veterans associated with the area, of friendship and solidarity. The words are laser-cut into the three stainless steel chevron forms; an important symbol used in the military establishment. The three sculptures are grouped together to illustrate the importance of teamwork and have been placed on their sides, referencing a military flight formation.

Goals

Having companionship and a strong support structure has proved beneficial to the healing process, and our goal was to remind patients of this support by displaying the encouraging words of actual veterans to those entering the VA facility.

Process

Camaraderie is a sculpture inspired by and produced via collaboration. The artists worked intimately with United States Department of Veterans Affairs to develop the detail design of the sculptures and integrate the artwork into the site. During the design process, the artists interviewed veterans to collect quotes for the piece with the goal of making these words reflect real experiences of camaraderie. The VA was integral to reviewing and helping select the final three phrases which were fabricated in the sculptures. Perhaps the greatest collaborative aspect to this project was incorporating the sculpture into the landscape. The artists worked with the VA project manager, architect and contractor to create an ideal frame for the piece in front of the building including a path that leads to the sculptures and a circular area around the artwork which allows people to move easily among the forms. The result is an artwork that is thoughtfully integrated into the site and strongly enhances visitors' overall experience of the building.

Additional Information

Dimensions: 19’ x 8’ x 10’ Materials: stainless steel, LED lighting, electronics