Sunday, May 25, 2008

The far

Thanks for visiting the Giant Ant Blog!
It's been quite an experience working on this project - my first ever public art sculpture. From sketching out my initial ideas, to finding materials, from designing the framework, to building the ant, and then doing the finishing touches -it has been a truly great process! And then having my sculpture vandalized and the resulting media attention, added a whole other dimension to the experience. First, trying to find out what happened from the police, then figuring out how to fix the sculpture, and then making my way amongst the countless interviews and resulting fanfare, not to mention the most excellent benefit dinner, were all things I hadn't anticipated when starting out on this artistic journey. But in the end it all worked out for the best, as it gave me the chance to talk further about my piece and public art in general, as well as hear back from the innumerable people in the community who shared their comments with me. I am eternally grateful for being part of this experience. I hope you enjoy the pictures and text here in this blog. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at

the main event! (5-24-08)

snug as a bug in a rug!

All ready for the show!


Since I had done all my experimenting with color choice and mixing on the first round, the second time went a little easier. First black, then red, then orange, then clear coat.
I let the head paint dry for a bit, then I coated the eyes with a heavy layer of black. I used some old pizza boxes with a notch cut in the center to wrap around the eye sockets and keep the black paint off the head.
Unfortunately, it was a rather humid day, so I had to keep the fans blowing on the head all night long to ensure that the paint would dry for the following day. But rest assured, it worked without a hitch.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

reinforcements & reconstruction

Here's what was left on site.
At least the body was still intact.

So I took some measurements of the body in order to build a little protective deterrent. And I actually got to use some geometry in a real life application...yeah! Math!

So the main damage was done to the back "neck" shaft which was ripped off from the head, but there was also a fair amount of denting and ripping done to the antennae. So I decided to cut them off and reinforce the head where they are attached...

...which was not as easy as I hoped.

But eventually I got them off. And then I drew out out some contour lines on the head of how the steel plates would be added. Then I traced those lines with some acetate and a sharpie to make the templates.

Then I grinded off the paint where we'd be welding, and re-drew the lines to act as guides for placing the plates.

Here's the 1/8 inch sheet metal we used for the plates with the shapes traced out on them.

And once they were all cut out, it was time to weld them to the head.

We started with the center plate, welding along one end, to keep it in place. And then using a torch, we were able to bend the metal to closely follow the contour of the head shape.

And then each of the next plates were welded in a similar fashion, trying to keep each one as close to the other one as possible.

Then the new back plate was welded onto the head, and the shaft was secured to it. It certainly felt a LOT tougher than the first edition, but we'll see.

And here she is all finished up.
Now I just have to clean it all up and then paint it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ant Aid 2008!

Thank you to everyone who came out to the first ever
Ant Aid: benefit to re-build the ant! And thanks to Flatbread co., Art-Speak, and everyone who shared their affection for the ant.

With any luck, I'll get the head back on the Giant Ant by next week!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Attack on Art!

Be it a sculpture by Michelangelo, a painting by Picasso, or book by Salman Rushdie, certain art has always been surrounded by controversy. It's critics will persecute and chastise it's makers, while trying to figuratively and literally tear down the work itself. And it seems an innocent, giant, metal red ant in downtown Portsmouth is not immune to such tyranny, either...

click a link to see the full account: