I am one of the most determined and persistent people you may meet. A blessing and a curse, it takes me on many adventures.
The sculpture Four Gates is inspired by Mark Helprin’s The Winter’s Tale. It is about trials and adventures one has to go through to find their perfect place in a perfect city. I dreamed up a sculpture that I hoped would do it justice. I made models. My friend Dharmesh Patel did architectural drawings for the fabricators. I had large steel circles fabricated.
I ordered huge wood timbers from a corbel mill that I thought could also cut the wood. They could not, too big. The huge wood timbers were shipped to me and needed a forklift to move. Suddenly four timbers 12″x16″, two at 10′ long and two at 8′ long, were being hauled around the city like giant hot potatoes. And I’m not kidding: first to east Austin where I work. Then to north Austin to a place with a giant saw in Pflugerville. Then back to east Austin to another shop. Then to Delta Millworks, where they sat quite a while as I had many lumber guys shake their heads “no”. My install deadline for the show was in three days, and the structure wasn’t even cut yet, much less put together.
My persistence peaked, my heels locked in for the push. The giant bandsaw was right there. Would they please just do the job? Would they let me use the saw? Please? Please? Please? No. No. No.
So in one final act of desperation, I picked up the phone one more time called the chainsaw master: DOUG MORELAND. “I have a project… I know you are busy, I know my deadline is ridiculous. Other guys who wield chainsaws said no. Please look at them before saying yes or no, they are really big and I don’t want them trucked again for no reason…” etc.
He showed up the next day with a trailer, seemed to wonder why these were a problem to anyone else. He hauled them to South Austin where he cut them that afternoon. I think Doug’s tagline ought to be “Magician and Chainsaw Artist”.
With Humberto Trevino Jr’s help, we fitted the rings onto the timbers in my back yard, then hauled them again to West Austin, where many of my friends did the heavy lifting to get them into a gallery. The piece is installed at the Dougherty Art Center for the month of June.