“Wild” life

Big Projects, Beginning to End, Startle

I just returned from an AWESOME week in the wild wild west. My honey and I backpacked through the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Sunset Crater, Walnut Canyon, Cathedral Rock, and finally the Grand Canyon! In addition to constantly having my breathe taken away by mind blowing rock formations we also saw a ton of deer! What perfect timing! Before leaving Gainesville I had been obsessively looking through books on deer and drawing out the sketches that would soon become my next sculpture, Startle.  Not only am I returning to my studio refreshed, I have my game face on!

Startle is a 2 piece sculpture designed for the Art on the Atlanta Beltline Exhibition and will be on display on the Atlanta Beltline beginning in September.  The two deer forms will be placed on the edge of the Atlanta BeltLine trail, where visitors will have an unexpected encounter with them while walking or biking. One deer will be in an upright position, as if stunned by the noise and sight of the viewer passing by. The other deer will be bounding away, reacting to the viewer. For a split second the viewer will also be startled, feeling as if they are the first to encounter these animals on the trail.

This project explores the role of the “wild” and the dynamic meaning of the word. This term often conjures images of pristine, perhaps undiscovered, natural environments. Contrasting this image is that of the populated, fast paced, and complicated urban environment of Atlanta. This often overlooked image of humanity deserves the term “wild” just as much as our images of untouched nature. I am interested in the relationship between these two concepts and how it influences our perception of our own environment. The transformation that occurs when a forgotten industrial setting is reclaimed by grass, plants, and trees is an interesting marriage between the “wilds” and is the inspiration of the sculptures, Startle.

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I create large metal sculptures for public art, smaller items for you and your home, and teach hands on metal workshops in Gainesville, FL. Visit LeslieTharp.com