The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR, NE float to win in sculpture competition

A team from TR Campus won first place and $1,250 for its life-size Styrofoam floating sculpture “Lucky Duck,” and NE Campus won second place and $1,000 April 19 in a contest sponsored by the Trinity River Vision Authority.

To beautify the city, TRVA hosted its Where Art Meets the River competition and invited students from TR and NE campuses along with the University of Texas at Arlington to create 8-foot-by-8-foot-by-12-foot sculptures to float on the river.
The entries in the judges’ choice awards were chosen based on originality, dramatic impact, visual impact from a distance, use of color, visual appeal and structural integrity.

TR associate professor of art Angel Fernandez said the idea was presented to students in late January, and a group of six design students called team LUCKY embraced the challenge with only two months to construct the piece.

“I am so proud of the team,” he said. “They clocked in over 1,000 hours on the project.”

“Lucky Duck” is composed of three pieces that stretch about 20 feet across the river. The main piece is a rubber duck sitting on an inner tube. The second is a duck diving into the river, and the third is an ice chest also on top of an inner tube.

Team leader David Vest said the group wanted to create a happy piece that people could relate to.

“We needed to make sure that we represented Fort Worth,” he said. “We needed it to be something that was visible from the shore, something that a mom and a dad and a child could look at and that they all could enjoy.”

The piece started out as a sketch on paper, which then evolved into a small clay model. The team took pictures of the clay model designs and put each piece in its own grid to scale, Vest said. The design was then redrawn onto a 1,200-pound Styrofoam block the team received from TRVA.

“We made the diving duck and the ice chest at that point,” he said. “We needed to make sure our ‘Lucky Duck’ had companions. Tubing is a social event. It’s not something that you do alone.”
Team member Elaine Weaver said the biggest challenge was finding a way to cut the block of Styrofoam and finding the right paint.

“There was no feasible way to really cut those three big cuts so we had to make our own saws,” she said. “We got a huge piece of sheet metal and basically made our own gigantic band saw. We also took apart three different chain saws.”

NE art adjunct Charles Coldewey said he and his Design II class sifted through several ideas before deciding on a stylized solar eclipse as their final design.

“The decision was to go with lots of fun, bright colors to be easily seen from a distance,” he said.
The hardest part was making the tools to cut the foam, Coldewey said.

Because industrial foam-cutting tools are so expensive, the team had to make their own homemade versions using hair dryers, coated wire and grout.

“They ended up with several modified bow-shaped tools of varying sizes, one seven feet in length, and cut the foam like butter,” he said.

After carving away most of the foam, the team used foam files to smooth out the texture and carve out the desired details.

The process went surprisingly smoothly, Coldewey said.

Vest said team LUCKY members were grateful for the opportunity and felt like winners from the very start.

“Being a municipal piece that’s been commissioned, this will go into our portfolios for the rest of our lives,” he said. “The goal was to present something that made people happy, and we succeeded in doing that.”

This project was a huge inspiration, and as a result, the team has decided put its prize money into starting its own art company called Design and Fabrication, D.A.F., he said.

“We have gotten some commissions, and things are already happening, and we’ll be busy at least all summer,” Vest said.

Another winner will be chosen by the public via text message, Facebook and Twitter and will be announced at Fort Worth’s Mayfest May 5 when the sculptures will be placed in the river and be visible from its banks.

Voting will continue until the end of Mayfest. People can text TCCTR, TCCNE or UTXA to 22333 or tweet TCCTR, TCCNE or UTXA to @poll to vote for their favorite sculpture.

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