Citizen Soldier

Submitted by Bennett Studio

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Client: Iowa National Guard

Location: Cedar Rapids, IA, United States

Completion date: 2011

Artwork budget: $115,000

Project Team

Artist

Chris Bennett

Bennett Studio

Art Consultant

Harri Aalto

Aalto Design

Industry Resource

Harri Aalto

Creative Edge Mastershop

Overview

“Citizen Soldier” is a tri-planed sculpture relief depicting two soldiers in high relief in the first plane, their citizen lives in bas relief in the second plane, Iowa landscape, cityscape, and cloud shapes background in water-jet cut and layered sections in the third plane. It is 126 square ft. “Vigilant Eagle” perched on a hedge post top stares vigilantly to the side, in front of an Iowa cloud-like water-jet cut and layered shape. It is life-size, with a 12 square foot background. “Ordnance Logo” is a water-jet cut and layered crossed cannons and ball shape measuring 12 square feet.

Goals

When commissioned to design and complete a project for the newly established Iowa National Guard Armory building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa I was given the theme Citizen Soldier. It was to be installed above the doorway of the Great Hall meeting room. As well, I was given a hallway niche to fill with corresponding art work. I created "Vigilant Eagle", a three dimensional life-size eagle perched on a hedge post. "Iowa" shaped aluminum clouds wisp by behind the eagle in the niche. The new Ordnance building needed a separate, but similarly constructed water-jet cut logo art piece.

Process

I worked closely with Aalto Design and Creative Edge Mastershop to enhance and complete the design. Aalto Design took my layered sculpture relief concept and research materials. They translated the background images into a blueprint that could be read by the Creative Edge water-jet cutting machines. Several blue prints were used in order to cut layers of corresponding metal. I gave individual colors, patinas, and texturing to each piece of metal before gluing them into place. With research photos and models I completed the prototypes for the for the second and third layers of the composition. Once they were cast in bronze, they were applied to the multi-metal background. All of the work was completed within the Creative Edge complex.

Additional Information

Once installed the piece has been immensely appreciated by personnel of the National Guard Armory, and visitors.