The other work which I would like to discuss as a favourite project, which I believe really runs in parallel to the Absolut commission, is the Guardian commission.
This particular work was in response to a brief from the Brisbane City Council, who decided that a public artwork would be appropriate for the entrance to Kangaroo Point, which is a small suburb in inner-city Brisbane. It was to receive a new traffic intersection and entrance without the traffic lights, that had been slowing down this particular entrance for a number of years.
The successful artist who received his commission was to use any left over roadside materials and recreate it into a large public artwork that would act as an entrance statement. I devised the design, which included the use of a large number of leftover roadside guardrails and also concrete pipes of various sizes to make this particular work.
I designed a work in the shape of a spiral with the guardrails twisting around and reaching towards the sky extending from the concrete pillars. The overall effect ended up looking quite like an industrial tree formation, which reflected the green grass at its base, or a huge wind chime.
I was very fortunate to win the commission to do this particular sculpture as I was an out-of-state artist and I believe I was one of the first artists from another state to receive a commission in Queensland at the time. I was also known for my professionalism and to the fact that I could deliver on time and I also specialized in working with environmental themes and with found and recycled objects. Once again, together with a great team assembled, this project took on a life of its own.
I arranged meetings with the local Kangaroo Point community group to establish a clear dialogue with them and to the gauge the required level of community support, which ended up being overwhelming. I made presentations, answered all questions that came my way and received a very pleasing response and got the go-ahead.
This is very important to me, knowing that the community is behind a project, which essentially means, they are behind what I am creating as an entrance statement to their suburb. It’s a very important milestone to pass, as the work would be ‘in situ’ for at least 10 years and possibly between 50 and 100. In fact I built it into my contract that the community should be given the right to reassess this public artwork a ten-year intervals and have it either relocated or disassembled if they so wished.
I’m a firm believer that as times change, as people change they should also have the right to keep whatever contemporary statement they wish as the entrance statement. Even if this means my particular work may not be there forever.
It is only because of the huge amount of ‘in-kind’ support that I received from both the Brisbane City Council and the road making company that I was able to make such a significant work for the payment that I received, even though that was in itself quite significant. As a result, I was able to make a work that was probably twice the size than I had originally planned, as a result of all of this ‘in-kind’ support I received in the form of the use of Crane’s and bulldozers, concrete specialists and semitrailers.
The support was enormous and some of the staff including project manager and on site administrator were really instigators of this support and ensured that it would be the resounding success it became.