Play Fight

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Client: Tom and Kathleen Aller

Location: Cedar Rapids, IA, United States

Completion date: 2012

Artwork budget: $25,000

Project Team

Artist

Chris Bennett

Bennett Studio

Industry Resource

Jeff Rinderknecht

Max-Cast

Client

Tom and Kathleen Aller

Overview

Life-size, bronze, fox juveniles play fighting atop a bronze log. One is nestled into a burl in the log, the other leaping. 54 in. H. x 72 in. L. x 18 in. W.

Goals

My clients have taken pleasure assembling a private collection of regional artist’s works. They had seen a public wildlife installation which I had prepared. They approached me to develop a sculpture design for their home acreage landscape. We spoke of several wildlife and animal concepts. Within one conversation they mentioned they enjoyed watching the foxes run and play in their grasslands and timber behind the house. I developed drawings for them of foxes, including a log, to give mass to the composition. They walked their wooded area where they found a tree with an interesting burl. The defect seemed to be an excellent fit for the design. They approved the design, and chose a premiered site for installation, in a side yard at the head of their drive. The colorful piece makes a very nice welcome to their already beautiful home.

Process

I visited my client’s property to timber the burled log to take it back to my studio.
I created two armatures, one for each fox. The log was positioned at an angle to give maximum attention to the visual roadways of the curled fox tail, through the leaping and twisting upper fox, and downward through their fixed eyes.
Once the prototype was approved I crated the piece and transported it to Max-Cast, an art foundry within the state. They directly molded the wooden log, and each of the clay foxes. The multiple section piece was cast, then reassembled and textured. I made numerous observations and comments on the process of the project.
Jeff Rinderknecht, of Max-Cast, did a masterful job of finishing the bronze, and paying attention to detail of overall attitude and presentation.
My client gave assistant to prepare a concrete footing and slab for installation of the finished bronze.

Additional Information

I am a story teller, whether the commission is a public or private memorial, or an installation on the grassy lawn belonging to an individual. I very much enjoy personally developing a composition for commission with a corporate board, or private collector. This design started as possibly an ibis or a lamb, and ended up a set of foxes. The clients are always personally involved in the process and never are “buying something off the shelf”. I tell the client that I am the glove on their hand, give me direction to create that which you will be satisfied.