An important check can be made on the “to do” list today. The dedication plaque arrived! This is important as it lets people know a bit about the artwork and acknowledges the great Washington State Arts Commissions Art in Public Places program.
Thanks to Dave Davison and his continuing column for the Tacoma Weekly called “Know your Public Art”. This week’s article covers Otto’s first public art piece completed over 10 years ago in the Oakland Madrona neighborhood in Tacoma. As Otto prepares to install his newest piece in a few weeks, it is nice to think of the continuum.
‘Working’ was a community based project that transformed a dumpsite into a pocket park. This gateway staked a claim for the community and has evolved into a lovely community garden site and prominent icon for that area.
Check out the article here: Know your public art, Oakland/Madrona’s Working Gateway
So as I said earlier, Otto creates loads and loads of pieces and parts. He cuts and carves these forms and shapes out of recycled wood that he has found around town. He will laminate plywood into chunks so he has the proper mass and then cut, grind, and sand away until he has boxes and boxes of these pieces.
These forms are reminiscent of flora and are organic in nature. They will be conjoined together along with many other forms in his “vocabulary” to create larger structures and environments — think coral reefs and jungle foliage.
Contrasting the organic forms are the stripes. They have the graphic punch of sports objects: bowling pins, bocci balls, sweat socks.. and even the old wooden floors of gymnasiums. I particularly think of that with the vertical striping of the laminated wood. Random stamped patterns insure that the geometry never gets too straight.
Otto usually keeps his wood surfaces unpainted. However he welcomes color in this installation. We started painting a series of creatures that I call the “wiggles” today. Kind of a throw back to the ’60′s with stripes. Fun. I was upgraded from sander to assistant painter this time.. I am not very good at it, but it sure beats hours inhaling dust.
I build my sculptures out of loads of parts, kind of like “tinker toys.” I assemble complex characters and dioramas from banana boxes full of pieces that I have cut and formed from recycled and reclaimed wood. Otto Youngers