I have just completed the re-do of a planter surround for Coronado Senior Apartments on Orange Ave. I had been the artist for this affordable housing complex in 2007. The original bench was concrete, steel, woven copper and lights. It was attached to a very old tiny wall that contained the palm tree. The concrete was cracking, the steel was evaporating and the light and been cut by accident. There are a few stories/reason for all this, but I like this one the best. The normally quiet (and elderly) residents have a front row seat on 4th of July. The parade goes right down Orange Ave. They climbed up on the bench and jumping and cheering. Cracking occurs. Isn’t that the best reason to have construction issues?
The image below was the original planter surround with copper.
I loved the concept of ‘woven’ to describe a life interconnected, and so I didn’t want to lose that aesthetic in this renovation. I designed a new surround to fabricated in concrete and figured I would make a vertical stamp to imprint the woven texture. Sun Country Builders will do the big work, as they had built the complex 15 years ago. I didn’t want to burden them with the complications of an art aspect, so I designed it so there would be a strip of circumference design - 7 inches tall and 40 feet long that I would do after they left.
Thanks Gerry and crew.
In my studio I made a positive pattern. Then I built a dam to hold the urethane (Smooth-On brand). This was 7” x 16”. I used a Buddy Rhodes Vertical Mix so that the concrete wouldn’t slump and fall off and made my way around the 40 feet. This took 3 days and lots of involvement with the landscape plants including a broken sprinkler which made mud. All of my products were temperature sensitive and so I had umbrellas set up to deflect the sun. To make things more complicated, I had our brand new adopted dog in the van who was barking at every dog and person who walked down the sidewalk, of which there were many.
I stained the cured concrete to accent the the woven pattern and then sealed it. During that time I got to speak with many residents. While I often do projects for affordable housing, my work is always before people move in. Designers always have the end user in mind, but rarely do we get to meet them. They were very supportive and friendly as was the staff (that I don’t normally meet either).
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Welcome to Nina’s Blog. I am quickly classified as a public artist, generally meaning art for the public realm. It is different than a gallery/museum way of thinking. My way of making public art has manifested more traditionally as a site specific sculpture for a fire station. It encompasses some gorilla installations, some home and environmental designs and most recently many apartment developments. Usually having a theme, like; solar powered, low income, green, and educational. Apartment complex art is not interior design. The viewing audience is a hybrid of the general public and private art in a public space. I enjoy the variety.