10 Jun I’m Gonna Populate My Corner With A Small Herd Of Cubist Bulls
One of the first things I meant to do when I started making art was to make myself up a few fake Picassos. After all, I originally started making art for my own self, to cover the discrepancy between my taste and my means. I especially coveted the Bull’s head he made from a bicycle seat and handlebars… it was just so brilliant and perfect. And how hard could it be to fake?
Somehow, I never got around to the Picasso forgeries before the art thing took off and became a living as much as a life. I still think I’ll do that bicycle bull someday, but, really, who knows if I’ll ever get around to it? My personal collection far exceeds my wall space already, and at this stage in my career if I faked the Picasso, I’d have to get all authentic about the seat and bars being the proper make, model and year. Because, you know… quality control is everything, especially in a forgery. Besides, even if I live 3000 years and never have another idea, I still probably won’t get all my own ideas finished.
In the mean time though, Picasso has had a quiet, but huge influence on my fences and sculpture. Whatever else you may choose to say about the man, he had a knack for draughting the perfect line and I’ve aspired to match him on that when drawing my Acrobats and Dancers for steel sculpture and fences. In 1945, he did a series of lithographs known as The Bull. He started with a fully realized, realistic image of a bull and proceeded in each of eleven states to further simplify it down to the most essential lines. That’s pretty much exactly the process I follow when creating a Dancer sculpture… I start from a photo, abstract to the minimum number of lines and then tweak it until the gesture of the figure conveys movement so strongly you can’t help but see what’s about to happen next. I know I wasn’t thinking of Picasso’s Bulls when I started working with the Dancer sculptures and fences, (actually, I was thinking about Haring’s desire to create easily understood imagery that appealed to the broadest number of people without sacrificing depth) but it’s certainly the same process.
So this today I finally got around to paying tribute to the old man by translating one of his lithographs into yard sculpture. I started with State 11, the last of the Bull lithos, and I think I’ll probably do number 10 and 9 also. I’m going to populate the corner of my yard with a small herd of cubist bulls, as soon as the next shipment of steel comes in.
Here’s a bonus pic of the sculpture before it was painted, all wire wheeled, nice and shiny. The wire wheel finish is available for indoor pieces, but doesn’t last well outdoors.
I had (somewhat inconceivably) forgotten to weld on the poor bull’s, ah, package before I took this shot. It was only through the timely arrival of a neighbor who interrupted the painting process that I realized my awful mistake before it was too late to easily remedy… Man, my girlfriend would have given me no end of ribbing if I had posted an emasculated bull. Heh.