Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Monster

 In order to fulfill my degree in Fine Arts, I had to take courses in music and art.  My Music Appreciation course was awful.  I really didn't care about having to identify classical pieces, so I didn't do very well in that course.  I did get to go to Rock Hill to hear the NY Philharmonic at Winthrop as part of the course, but we were almost killed coming back, when our driver (and professor) fell asleep at the wheel, and we came within inches of crashing into a bridge.
 My art class was Sculpture.  I can't draw worth a lick, so Sculpture seemed to be my only option.  Our class was commissioned by the town of Clinton to come up with sculptures for a park.  They wanted sculptures that would be functional for kids to play on, as well as being somethings that folks could look at and appreciate.  In addition to the artwork, we were also supposed to design playground equipment that would be nice to look at.  So, we got to work.
 I helped design a swing set, which was made out of logs.  It looked kind of rustic.  Then, I had to come up with an idea for a sculpture.  I just couldn't think of anything.  I knew that it had to be something that kids could play on.  I had an idea about that, but how could I make it appealing to the masses?  The teacher was putting pressure on us to come up with ideas.  The time was growing short.  I got frustrated and threw a ball of clay down on my table and stuck a knife through the middle.  The teacher saw it and said that my concept was great.  I thought he was either drunk or high or both, but I went with his critique.  I developed a model of a large ball that sat flat on the ground.  There was a center hole that went through the length of the piece, and a side ledge, which kids could use to climb up on the piece.  It was our assignment to design the sculptures.  The next semester's goal was to build them from our designs.
 So, during the Spring of 1975, my sculpture was built.  They took wood and chicken wire to make the foundation, and then they poured concrete over the top.  Kids could climb on it and slide down through the middle.  It was called "The Monster" because of its size.  It stood a little over six feet tall.  It was also about seven feet wide.  To me, it looked like a big blob of cement, but I guess art is in the eye of the beholder. 
 The Monster stood in that park for several years.  In the mid-1980's, it was dismantled, because some teenagers were spray painting obscenities on the sides.  My swing set has remained, but The Monster is no more.

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