Thursday, December 17, 2009

Joining the Team

One of the best parts of our work at the studio is the way each project exposes you to new places and new subjects. For many of the monuments we’ve worked on, we’ve had a general familiarity with the subject, but the demands of the project insist on an extensive and thorough knowledge base. For a Martin Luther King piece we learnt about King’s personal library and preferred texts. For a multi-figure tribute to Bob Hope and his work with USO, it meant watching countless performance videos. Now as we move forward with the monument to John David Crow for Texas A&M, we are learning about the culture of football in Texas and the traditions of a unique university.

Of course, the learning curve on the subjects is made steeper since, Steven and I are more familiar with Europe than we are with states outside of California. Worse still as an Englishman Steven’s knowledge of "American" football consists of a general understanding that it involves elements of rugby, but with more padding and equipment. We’ve been participating in a gradual education program based on viewing of every football movie ever made, but the time had finally come for a more direct course of action. It was with this goal in mind that we traveled to the great state of Texas.

In a three day crash course, we went to two major games and came away with a fortified excitement for the project. The tangible enthusiasm, fierce loyalty and pride we saw was inspiring. Former A&M President Bob Gates once remarked that A&M was a "unique American institution". As we visited the grounds around Kyle Field, we were swept up in the culture of and passion for the school.

The university is steeped in history and a sense that every student holds the honor and responsibility of carrying the mantle of past achievements and future recognition. As we became enraptured with the day’s football contest and spoke to alumni, fans and current students, we began to feel as though our current project made us temporary Aggies. As if we too should stand with the student body as the ever ready Twelfth Man, ready to take the field to fight for what the school represents.

As we returned home this same since of purpose continues to guide our work on the project. We have been chosen to create something special and unique. We remain grateful for the hospitality we were shown, cognizant of the honor of our assignment and ever so slightly hungry for barbeque...

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