Fire is one of the best examples of the harshness and unpredictability of nature. It has become a symbol of chaos and destruction. Yet people have thrived despite these forces because of the courage to stand in the way of nature and defy chaos. Firefighters do exactly this and are modern heroes because of it.
My work as a sculptor has focused on the themes of chaos and order and the human struggle to define ourselves in the window in between. My sensibility as an artist lies somewhere between Giacometti and Bernini; between the existential and the heroic. The figures I sculpt express the heavy external pressures of the world but they push back and emerge from the chaos. Firefighters truly embody this spirit. They literally fight the chaos.
In 2014 I completed a public art work commemorating WWII industrial workers at the Washington D.C. Navy Yards. Using reference photos of the workers, I designed, fabricated, and installed four site-specific public sculptures. I enjoyed working on a historical project, using the energy of my sculptures to bring the past to life, and collaborating with the developers and designers to make a destination for the community.
The sculpture I am proposing will be a heroic scene of man battling nature that will be both representative and abstracted. I will achieve a modern vernacular by working with metal, wire, and concrete which are all common building materials. The form of a firefighter will be surrounded by and emerging from the flames of chaos. It will be a scene that pays tribute to the honor and courage of firefighters but also discusses humanities drive to resist the very nature that we are part of.
We often depict our heroes as invulnerable bronze statues as an effort to immortalize them. However, these heroes’ vulnerability is a preface to their heroism. I would not shy away from this mortality and I would create a sculpture that is both vulnerable and heroic. A sculpture that immortalizes the firefighter’s spirit.