Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jumping In

We’ve just signed the final documents on a new monument project for Texas. Like so many projects of this scale, we’ve been anticipating this moment for months. Now that it’s finally time to start working for real, there’s both palpable excitement and the nervous energy that comes with the consideration of any large and challenging project.

We’re working on a twice-life size sculpture of Texas A&M football legend John David Crow for instillation at the university’s Kyle Field. One of the realities of monument work is that the size of the sculpture makes a huge impact on the environment. This combined, with the expense and the amount of labor involved can frequently lead to questions regarding the subject. When an inquiry for any large project comes in you find yourself wondering what about this individual has led to the decision to create such a permanent and high-profile celebration.

At the studio we respond to these questions by a massive amount of research. There’s a great responsibility that comes from changing the national landscape. First there’s the desire to create something of beauty and impact that benefits the environment and surroundings. When the project, like this one, is designed to honor a specific individual, then you have the added responsibility of doing justice to the spirit, achievement and legend of the subject. It’s a difficult balance. The work by definition of its scale requires an element of grandeur, but in order to be personable and approachable the sculpture also has to be as authentic as possible.

Again, we protect ourselves with research. But in order to cover both sets of objectives, the spiritual and the factual, we partake in a total immersion program. We want to understand what John David Crow represents to Texas A&M, as an athlete, as an individual and as a source of inspiration. And so we must learn about football (today and as it was played in the late 1950s) we must learn about the traditions that define A&M, and finally we must learn about John David.

The project’s just begun. The whole studio is wearing A&M paraphernalia, we’ve got game tapes playing on the computer, the sounds of the Texas Aggie Band are playing over the stereo and John David Crow is scheduled to visit. It’s overwhelming, inspiring and it’s just begun…Gig em Aggies!

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