Client: Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center
Location: Jacksonville, FL, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $60,000
In 2018, Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center (BMDACC) opened their new 330,000-square-foot-campus. I was commissioned to create ‘Nested’ for a main courtyard. The Cancer Center’s CEO was firmly committed to the power of art to heal, and I worked closely with him, the project architects, doctors and other staff to create this work.
BMDACC was committed to the commissioned artwork at a greater depth and higher level than any project I've been a part of. From the CEO to the Art Selection Committee, they held us artists to the highest standards, but also gave us access to their architectural and landscape design teams to aid in virtual placements and site integration such as lighting and other landscaping features.
I took two trips to Jacksonville — one for due diligence, meeting with the design teams, the Art Selection Committee, etc., and discussing initial form and material ideas. I developed sketches, then virtual renderings of six ideas, then full three-dimensional maquettes of two of these. I then generated 3D virtual models of these two forms, which were placed into the architect's software, allowing the forms to be viewed in context from any angle, as well as virtual fly-throughs. From this point, a single form was selected, along with the material (Corten steel). As fabrication progressed, we stayed in close contact about structural engineering requirements for the foundation, as well as lighting and the plantings and backdrop wall that would be installed to complete the installation.
My concept was to create a sculpture that would simultaneously uplift and bring a sense of tranquility to the patients, doctors, families, and support staff who would spend time in the building. I had one family member of a patient there tell me that in my sculpture they saw a mother protecting her child, while one doctor said it made her think of a door to better health. These disparate reactions are the power of abstracted form; this was just what I was aiming for.