This winter I was approached by Bland Hoke of JH Public Art about doing a gunpowder piece for the Center of Wonder’s “Wonder Spot” on the side of Highway 89 in Jackson Wyoming. The space is like a small billboard showcasing local artist’s larger scale work.
Before this public art piece, my largest canvas to date was 4 feet wide by 3 feet tall. Now I was having to scale my work to 12 feet wide by 10 feet tall. All I knew going into it was I needed to get more gunpowder.
Brainstorming the subject for the piece was a little tricky because the piece would be split into two and mirror each other on the display, one piece facing west and the other side facing east.
I decided that the piece would be a moose since they are massive and very regal. Also there is an enormous moose up north that has gotten the attention of the locals and his name is General Sherman (a.k.a. the name of this piece).
So half the head would be a skull and the other would be the living moose. The thought was that the skull will be put up on the west facing side for folks to see as they come to town and the live side for people to see as they leave. I wanted to symbolize the fact that Jackson and the surrounding areas can have a renewing affect on people. You come to Jackson with a hole or void and after visiting you are given new life and a renewed spirit. We get to live it every day but still the mountains and outdoors here always seem to have that effect on me.
I set aside an evening to build the canvases with Bland in his art studio on Gregory Lane and then set aside another full day to create the art piece. I spent about 10 hours on the piece total and then it took 8 minutes to burn into the canvas. Check out the whole process here: