The Little Mermaid

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Denmark is home to amazing works of art, old and modern architecture, museums, and castles. But one of the coolest old sculptures and one of the biggest tourist attractions is the little mermaid. It sits on a rock at Langelinie in the harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark.

The sculpture was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairly tale, the Little Mermaid,where she gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land. Andersen is a famous Danish author who’s fairy tales have gained a lot of popularity worldwide. The sculpture was commissioned by Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen who fell in love with the character after watching a ballet performance based on the fairy tale at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen in 1909. He was so captivated by both the fairy tale and the ballet that he decided to commission a sculptor to create a figure of the mermaid. When ballerina Ellen price, who played the lead role in the ballet performance in 1909 refused to model nude for sculptor Edvard Eriksen, his wife, Eline Eriksen, ended up getting the part to model for it. The sculpture is made out of Bronze and is 1.25 meters (4.1 ft) tall and weighs 175 Kg (385 lbs.). I think the sculpture is very beautiful and it ties many parts of Denmark together, the famous Danish author, the famous beer brewer, and of course the fairytale. I passed by the sculpture while i was on a river boat tour a few years back and was amazed at how small the figure looked in real life, especially because it is constantly bombarded by locals and tourist. The sculpture has been victim of vandalism many times before and she’s even has her head and arm stolen multiple times. There are several copies of the sculpture around the world including 6 in the United States and one in China, Romania, and Brazil.The original sculpture was Unveiled on August 23 1913 and was a gift from Jacobsen to the city of Copenhagen.

Nadia Zogbi


Have you ever seen or come across any danish art or architecture?
Do you think you would stop by and see the sculpture if you were visiting Copenhagen?
Why do you think the sculpture gets vandalized as much as it does?
Links used:


What is Cloud Gate?

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Most if not all of us have been to Chicago and seen Cloud Gate. During the construction of the sculpture the media and public had nicknamed it “The Bean” due to the shape of the sculpture. Anish Kapoor the one who designed the sculpture found the nickname to be “completely stupid” and officially named it Cloud Gate.
In 1999, Millennium Park officials and a group of art collectors, curators and architects reviewed the works of 30 different artists and asked for two proposals. The committee chose the design by Anish Kapoor a highly praised international artist who has a reputation for creating spectacles in urban settings. A British engineering firm “Atelier One” and freelance engineer Chris Hornzee-Jone provided the sculptures structural design and Performance Structures Inc. was chosen to fabricate it because they are known to produce near invisible welds. Performance Structures Inc. had created a miniature model which was then selected by Kapoor to be used as the design of the final structure. PSI had originally planned on building the structure in Oakland California and ship to Chicago through the Panama Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway. Park officials shot down that plan and the decision was to have all the individual panels delivered by truck and assembled onsite. The Bean is made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together and its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. They were fabricated using three-dimensional modeling software. Inside The Bean are several steel structures that keep it standing. The Bean measures 33 by 66 by 42 feet and weights 110 short tons. To keep The Bean clean the lower 6 feet of it is wiped down twice a day by hand, while the entire sculpture is cleaned twice a year with 40 gallons of liquid detergent. Kapoor’s contract with Millennium Park officials states The Bean should be expected to last 1,000 years.
I have chosen to share this sculpture because I personally enjoy going to visit The Bean and walking under this enormous sculpture. I love how The Bean is interactive with you and allows you to be part of the art. The way it reflects the Chicago skyline and its surroundings is amazing. The Bean has become such an iconic work or art and is known all around the world. I think the elegant/sleek look design fits perfectly with Chicago and I personally cannot envision the sculpture being anywhere else in the world besides in the city of Chicago. If you have not visited “The Bean” it’s a must see.

Who has a picture of themselves with The Bean?
If you created the sculpture would you have kept the nickname “The Bean” or rename it like Kapoor did?
Should the British Engineering Firm and freelance engineer Chris Hornzee-Jones be credited for the sculpture too even though they only designed the structural portion?
Has anyone ever seen “The Bean” getting cleaned?
Do you think “The Bean” will last a 1,000 years?

Links to additional information about my blog:

Jake Ladick

Works Cited:
Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.
“3 Facts about Chicago’s Cloud Gate (that Surprised and Impressed Me) – Final Transit.” Final Transit 3 Facts about Chicagos Cloud Gate That Surprised and Impressed Me Comments. 27 Aug. 2012. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

Pumpkin Carving

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We have all taken a knife from a drawer and carved a pumpkin when we were growing up. A few triangles for eyes, some jagged cuts for teeth in the mouth, another triangle for the nose, drop in a candle, and it’s done. The artist Ray Villafane, and his crew have been doing something a tad above that basic style of carving. He was born in New York and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1991. He was an Art teacher from 1993 – 2006 in Michigan for children ranging from kindergarten up to seniors in high school. When fall would come around, he would try carving pumpkins, and a few students liked what he was able to make so they would bring in pumpkins for him to carve. The students and their parents liked his carvings so much, that he started getting a lot of requests. As he got better and better, he realized he was onto something. He started sculpting in 2004 and became so successful at it, that he was able to retire from teaching in 2006 to pursue a full-time career as a sculptor. He is a professional sculptor for a company that makes collectible toys like super heroes. I remember when I first saw him on the Food Network, on a show named Halloween Wars. I was absolutely astounded that he could visually see a pumpkin, and mentally have an idea to turn it into something so lifelike. Instead of carving out holes into the pumpkin, he shaves off layers to add depth and make his carving appear to be fight its way out of the pumpkin. The amount of small details he can put into something organic like a pumpkin is just incredible. One of the things I really like about his work is he tries to use the entire pumpkin, the outer skin, the seeds, the “guts”, and even the top. He creates a 3 dimensional in the round carving that is intended to be viewed from many different angles.

Just in case you think this is scary, he’s a fun YouTube video about his process and how he goes about it.

Do you like this style of sculpting and art work?

Is this something you would try?

Would this be as impressive if it were done from clay, instead of from pumpkins?

Ryan McDade


Metal Art



     I recently visited Birmingham, Alabama.  While there I visited the statue of Vulcan the Roman God of the Forge.  A forge is where metal is heated and hammered into useful items.  This is the world’s largest cast iron statue.  It currently sits on top of a 123-foot tower on the top of Red mountain looking over Birmingham a city built on iron mines and the refining of iron ore.  Iron ore, limestone, and coal are all contained in the mountain where he is displayed.  These are the three things needed to produce clean iron.

     The city commissioned Giuseppe Moretti to create a statue of Vulcan for the 1904 Worlds Fair to be held in St. Louis.  Moretti began by building a two-foot tall clay model.  Then he created a life size clay model with a wooden structure inside in an abandoned church in New Jersey.  It was so large it had to be built in two pieces because the final statue would be 56-feet tall.  The next step was to make a plaster cast and sent it to Birmingham Steel and Iron Co.  to be cast.  There would be a total of twenty-one pieces assembled then dedicated on June 7, 1904.

     In mythology, Vulcan was the son of Jupiter and Juno, who were beautiful like all the other gods, but Vulcan was the only ugly god.  He was cast from Mt. Olympus to work as a blacksmith in Greece because he was so ugly. Oddly he married Venus the goddess of love and beauty.  Moretti considered this when he designed the statue; he intentionally made him unattractive and made his legs too short for his body. Vulcan won grand prize in the Palace of Mines and Metallurgy where he was displayed.  Moretti and the foundry that cast him, also won medals at the fair independent of the main prize.

     Among other things, I’m a welder and appreciate anything made of metal. This statue has a feeling of strength and endurance.  I was so impressed when I read that the statue is 56-feet tall and weighs 101,200 pounds.  This brought me back to Moretti.  He designed the statue and sculpted that first two-foot tall figure, but so many others had to have their hands in the process from that point on.  That was a huge undertaking 111 years ago.  After the fair in St. Louis it was returned to Birmingham where it still stands today.  In the late 90’s it needed a restoration due to poor drainage and had considerable damage.  Vulcan was disassembled and repaired with some new parts and a zinc coating to protect it from the elements.  Then reassembled on top of his tower overlooking the city he represents so well.

1.  Is Moretti the only artist or should everyone involved be credited?

2.  Should the restorers get credit?

3.  Do his legs look too short to you?

 Nick Mossman

What is Art?


A few months ago, I was cruising an online image board I frequent, I stumbled upon some Europeans sparking a lively debate about European culture. As they have for a few thousand years, they argued about trivial matters. When I finally decide to throw my hat into the ring and argue that, in fact, American culture is the best and no amount of discussion could top it, I was shot down by a French poster (the country in which you are posting from is clearly visible in this forum). He posted a picture of the green object (show on the right), and said that “Non, le America has no culture and no good art, hon hon hon!” Well, the French accent didn’t really happen, but our debate got me to thinking. How do we qualify art? No really. What is art? This is probably the most subjective question known to man. There is no qualifier, no internationally known standard. Art is only created and valued at what we make of it. A kindergartener’s finger-painting is art just the same as the Mona Lisa. But it’s obvious not everyone can be a Da Vinci or a Michelangelo.

Consider the above work. The statue on the right is obviously the Statue of Liberty. Designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, it was commissioned by the French in 1876 to celebrate America’s 100 years of independence. Brought over by a steam freighter, the piece initially had trouble getting funding, until the New York Times opened a fundraiser to help pay for assembly. Arriving in July of 1885, the piece was assembled in just four months! Today, the Statue of Liberty represents the American dream for imigrants arriving in Ellis Island. Although not many people arrive from boats, the symbolism behind one of America’s most important pieces is monumental.

On the right, however, we have a piece from American artist Paul McCarthy. Installed last year for Christmas, the giant green inflatable piece titled “Tree” was taken down only two days after installation. During these controversial two days, the artist was slapped by an unknown assailant, and the piece unceremoniously taken down by vandals. The title? “Tree”. And for those of you unaware, the piece resembles a sex toy. The big question I raise to you is, what’s the line? What can we consider fine art and what can we consider junk that exists to stir up controversy?

Paul McCarthy has had a surprisingly illustrious career as a sculptor and creator of live art. Most of his works, too graphic for my tastes, features controversial content, but not subjects. One of his most notable pieces is a live work featuring a man humping a tree, while another one, titled “Bossy Burger”, and is another live piece of a man with condiments splattered across his face and body.

The piece in question, “Tree” was actually intended as a joke. But residents of Paris took to the internet in droves to protest the large inflatable structure. Said one netizen: “Place Vendôme vandalised! Paris humiliated!”

So at the end of the day, who’s to say “Tree” isn’t of the same artistic caliber as the Statue of Liberty? Both were made by prominent artists, and both were on display for large audiences. Simply put, what is amazing to one person might not be so great to another, regardless of which you like more, in this case, Tree or the Statue of Liberty. What really is art, at the end of the day, if not in the eye of the beholder? We as a society make up the rules for what is too obscene, what is good art, and for that matter, what is art? For this, I ask you, my peers. Take a vote, I’d love to hear your opinions:

My questions for you:

  1. Elaborate on your opinion. Why is “Tree” art, or why isn’t it? If you answered “other”, tell us why!
  2. In an ever more progressive society, do you see it as offensive? How do you think this piece would have been viewed 100 years ago? How about 100 years in the future?
  3. What’s the line? Tasteful nudes have been a staple of a large portion of the art world since the dawn of man. How far can we go from “The Birth of Venus” to “Tree”?

Calvin Parng

For more reading, see the original article link below:

The Cold World of Art

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Since I was little, I have always been amazed by many sculptures of any kind. I like to appreciate a work or art in a three dimensional form instead of staring straight to a picture or a painting. I love to see details on sculptures and how they were made. One kind in particular, ice sculpture. Ice sculpture is a form of sculpture that uses ice as the raw material. In my opinion, ice sculpture is such a nice, clean, and elegant way to create works of art. Ice sculptures can be abstract or realistic, and they can be functional or purely decorative. I am from a place where ice sculpture is not very popular and it will probably never be due to the hot weather that we have all year long. I like ice sculptures because they are generally associated with special or extravagant events like festivals and competitions. Like any other sculpture, you can use different methods to create it, but the most effective way is ice carving. As we learned in class, carving is a very delicate process; mistakes are difficult to repair and if too much force is applied, it can caused breakage. We can use the carving process on wood, store or other material to create a sculpture, but what make ice carvers to have a difficult time carving ice sculptures is the environment that they are surrounded by. The temperate of the environment affects how quickly the piece must be completed to avoid the effects of melting. If the sculpture does not take place in a cold environment, then the sculptor most work quickly to finish his piece of art. That is the big disadvantage of working with ice; it always has to be cold so the work of art can be appreciated and last for longer times. Sculptures are generally carved from a block of ice and these blocks must be carefully selected to be suitable for the sculptor’s purposes and should be free of undesired impurities. Typically, ideal carving ice is made from pure, clean water. However, clear, transparent ice is a result of the freezing process and not necessarily related to the purity of the water. Clouded ice is the result of trapped air molecules that tend to bind to the impurities while naturally freezing. Colored ice blocks are produced by adding dyes to the ice and can be carved as well. In some instances, clear ice and colored ice are combined to create a desired effect. There are various sized of ice blocks that are produced artificially. Naturally made blocks can be cut to almost any size from frozen rivers or from ice quarries, which are essentially lakes that have frozen over. Some of the tools the carvers use to create an ice sculpture are chainsaws, die grinder, razor-sharped chisels and hand saws that are specially designed for cutting ice. Ice sculptures are found in many places. The story of the creation of the dish Peach Melba recounts that Chef Auguste Escoffier used an ice swan to present the dish. At holiday buffets and Sunday brunches some large restaurants and hotels will use ice sculpture to decorate the buffet tables. Cruises ships buffets are also famous for their use of ice sculpture. Ice sculpture are often used at wedding receptions as for of decoration. They can be used at a bar in the form of an ice luge or even the entire bar may be made of ice. Finally, the main reason I like ice sculpture is that it brings people together to create works or arts in festivals and competitions. Canada, for instance, holds and ice sculpture festival every year during the Quebec City Winter Carnival and the festival last about three weeks. In China, the most famous event is the increasingly popular International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival that is held annually. There are many more festivals held every year in Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom and in the United States. I really hope that one day I can assist to one of these events and appreciate all the sculptures that famous artists create.


 1.     Can ice sculpture be considered an Earthwork?

2.     Do you think is it worth to create a work of art that it will only last for a short period of time?

3.     Can ice sculpture be considered a fine art? And not just used for decorative and advertisement purposes?


Josshymart Torres


Perfect Name for a Statue


I heard of this piece back when I was in high school. I was very intrigued to see what it was because it was made of something different than other sculptures and statues. This piece is called “Self”. It was done by an artist named Marc Quinn, and he used his very own blood. He has said that it’s a frozen moment on life support. The work is carefully maintained in a refrigeration unit, reminding the viewer of the fragility of existence. He also makes a new version of Self every five years, each of which documents Quinn’s own physical transformation and deterioration over the years of his life. The only reason I heard about it in the first place is because the first one he made and sold, ended up melting because the freezer where it was kept was accidentally unplugged.

I decided to choose this piece because we have been talking about the materials that have been used throughout history. Just to get his medium ready, it would take months. Even with a five month waiting time to make it because it took that long to get enough blood from his body, a pint at a time, I think that the name is absolutely perfect. It’s a self-portrait statue. It’s his own face, and made from his own body. He literally puts himself into his artwork. It will be amazing to see all the heads lined up at one time to see the change over the years.

Because it must be kept frozen at all times in order to keep the piece in tact is one thing that is a little unique to this piece and is one reason I like it. The owner must have an appreciation of the artwork to want to keep it. The dark red of the head with the frosty outer coating gives it a snowy like glaze. What I don’t like about the piece is the seam where the mold was split, there is a big chunky line all the way around the head. It is necessary though, because without it, it would have the grotesque look about it.

Is it weird to use blood for art?

If “Self” were made with anything else, would the name still have the same meaning?

Do you think blood makes good artworks?

I have provided other images to show blood used in other ways, not by Marc Quinn, but by Dr. Rev Mayers to show what it looks like as a paint as well. It has a beautiful rusty brownish red color to it, and just like the egg tempura, has to be coated multiple times to make darker shades. -for more Marc Quinn artwork – other blood pieces

   pic3 pic2 pic1    

Kyle Trimble