Granite Blocks Ready for Vancity Sculpture Project




michael binkley sculptor stone sculpture vancouver canada public art granite

The raw blocks of stone are ready for my public art sculpture project. I will be carving two companion, four foot tall pieces that will flank the front doors of a new branch of Vancity Savings Credit Union in Vancouver, Canada.

They are granite from Hardy Island, which is up the coast from Vancouver, British Columbia. Granite is the best stone for exterior sculpture as it is impervious to the elements and manmade pollutants. This variety is a homogenous grey that appears dark when wet (as shown here in our typical Vancouver winter rain!) and is almost white in appearance in dry sunshine. There are some dark freckles, called xenoliths that you can see on the surface. It is impossible to know if any will appear inside on the final sculpture surface.

I am incorporating the use of a mechanical assistant to rough out the sculptures. I’ve made a computer file in ZBrush that will power a CNC robot to carve about 60% of the sculptures for me. I’ve shipped the blocks to the studio where the machine is and I’ll be visiting them soon to see on the progress.

Unfortunately, I am bound not to tell you exactly what I will be carving, but the compositions will reflect Taoist and First Nations imagery. I’ll post peek-a-boo photos as the project progresses.

Let me know what you think of my using a robot as an assistant in the comments below – I’m curious as to your opinion.

4 Responses to “Granite Blocks Ready for Vancity Sculpture Project”

    • Michael Binkley

      Interesting perspective, Sandi. While I will not replicate (I cannot, as Vancity will assume the intellectual rights when I’m done) this project, I am thinking of limited editions of future sculptures, in either stone or bronze! Ciao.

      Reply
  1. Jack Leigh

    I think it’s fantastic that you are using a robot for part of the work for the public art sculpture. Also that you’ve used 3D printing for the abstract female sculpture. Most well known renaissance artists used students/apprentices to do part of their work; if they had had access to robots, I’m sure they would have used them as well. 3D printing and robotics have and will continue to improve many things we do. I am delighted that you are willing to embrace these technologies in your work and am very much looking forward to seeing the results.

    Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Thank you, Jack. So glad you understand the process. When I try to explain how the old Masters, like Rodin and Bernini worked, many of my collectors gasp, assuming the old boys worked directly as I have all my career. Yes, apprentices and artigiani of the past were simply human robots. I’m excited about this project and will also post my bronzed steel print of a little sweetie soon – so check back here to my blog next week. Cheers!

      Reply

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