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Client: San Jose Public Art Program

Location: San Jose, CA, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $185,000

Project Team

Artist

Brian Howe

Greenmeme Studio

Industry Resource

Ken Moscrip

Paramount Roll

Industry Resource

Bob Zambrano

Project Steel Co.

Artist

Freyja Bardell

Overview

The “Lupe” sculpture is comprised of 78 layers of bent steel pipe, stacked and welded to form a 1:1 scale adult Columbian Mammoth. At 12’ high and 16’ long the piece can be experienced at a distance or at a more intimate scale, where people perch on her tusks and kids play under her belly.

Goals

The primary goal is to connect the public and Children’s Discovery Museum, to the site where mammoth fossils were discovered in 2005, just a few miles away along the Guadalupe River/Bike Trail.
The piece celebrates an archeological discovery through art and outdoor activity, adds another dimension to the Guadalupe River Trail experience and offers a destination, discovery and reward for the 1,000 daily trail users.
It serves as a gateway to the trail, which required that the artwork be visible by multiple modes of transportation and be highly durable, as it is remote location adjacent to the river.
Lupe’s form was designed to evoke the presence of a mammoth, serving as a reminder of these “beasts” that once roamed the Santa Clara valley. The artists chose to stack bent steel pipe into a topographical animal form suggestive of the sediment stratum, within which the mammoth was buried.

Process

Artists collaborated on the design with the Children’s Discovery Museum, the San Jose Public Art Program and the Trail Program to find the form and the most suitable site along the trail.
Artists produced a 3D model of a Columbian Mammoth and with the aid of physical models and printed construction documents, worked with Paramount Roll&Forming and Project Steel, to bend and assemble 78 rings of steel pipe around an inner structural frame. It was a balance between the mechanization of pipe bending and the craft of the fabricator.
The sculpture was shipped to the Calwest Galvanizing in three sections then reassembled after the process. This was a one of a kind project for Calwest Galvanizing and it won the American Galvanizing Association Award in the Artistic category.

Additional Information

The remote location gave the piece a unique audience and you can find the public’s (human/animal/bike) personal documentations at #lupethemammoth. See more images at www.greenmeme.com