Friday, March 03, 2017

Sunrise Sentinel Thunderbird

Follow the evolving project page, share and leave comments at this post: "Sentinels Of The NorthWestPassage."  A #Canada150 project.
Thanks. :Eric


My proposal calls for several #sculpture installations, eventually. I would like to start with "Sunrise Sentinel Thunderbird".

This sketch is a first draft of a simplified #Thunderbird #pictograph 3D representation, to be fabricated from a model utilising
1-foot diameter cardboard tubes and wax, cast in #bronze, fitted with indestructible red and white navigation-grade lighting and placed on a polished stainless steel cylinder base. With free power and a location of my choosing. :)

The piece in the sketch is a little skeletal, because it only represents the cardboard bones of possibility. Wax can be added to the paper and #papiermache model, built up and sculpted to detail the texture of the final metal surface. At a distance, such detail will be lost, but it is meant to be seen up close, as well as from afar.

The "tubes" of the design were penciled in centimetre increments. When designing the sculpture model, I was thinking in terms of imperial feet, imagining cardboard tubes in my studio of one foot diameter. It could easily scale up to a meter or more tube diameter, for some North Korea - level of monumental art (using steel pipe, not in the current budget).

The model was drawn flat, but the tube elements will be shifted out of the ideal flat plane in the studio, when the physical structure is put together (sketches to follow.)

Some of the quick numbers that I pulled from this sketch:
- 16' base + 12'H x 24'W sculpture
- Having the base of the sculpture 10m+ from current sea level puts red  heart/beacon about 55' above sea level.
- #Tbird head is 9' long.
- The wingspan in the sketch is about 24', the "shoulders" are 11' wide, wing feathers are 3' and tail elements are 4'.

Edit (March 9): After thinking about my sketch; at the the 1-foot unit scale, casting #bronze this big (12'x24') would be prohibitive, but welded 1' pipe with cast bronze accents would be doable (in the price range that I am starting to formulate). 
Looking at the sketch in the 6-inch unit scale, the Thunderbird  figure would only be 6'x12', much more casting-friendly. To be appreciated up close. The 6' figure would not translate far out to sea, but its heartlight will still function as a beacon. Set atop a large enough polished stainless base, the sculpture will have a cool "knife of fire" effect, at sunrise on the NorthWestPassage. Of course, if someone drops $150 million in my lap, there's always the Colossus-of-Rhodes scale 2m welded pipe option. :) 

This sketch will also be used to start estimates of materials cost for modeling and metal fabrication; adjusting for size variation of final materials.

Project and studio donations can be sent to
Some pieces for sale from #BingoRageStudio, linked-to at the top of the page.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Why Am I Doing #Canada150, and what is one of my best ideas, ever?

Why Am I Doing #Canada150, and what is one of my best ideas, ever?

(Edited for focus, spelling, grammar, etc., Feb. 28. Evolving document.)

It’s yuuuuuggge.

Thank you for taking a moment to check out my big idea for 2017, Our country’s #Canada150 year. I call it “Sentinels of the NorthWest Passage”.

The working design for the first piece is a cast bronze #Thunderbird (approx. 8 foot x 10 foot) with a flashing red navigation beacon light in the #heart position, atop a reflective, polished stainless steel pillar (cylinder, rectangle, column... whatever we can afford or find).

The second piece to be done in collaboration with a local/regional Indigenous artist/community. My current plan for the second piece is to consult with representatives of that community and identify an artist to work with.

My initial thought for the second piece is a Snowy Owl. I always liked the Inuit imagery that were available to me, as a child. They are part of my awakening to #art. [Thank you Grandma Edith and Grandpa Charlie and the DEWLINE.] It is a great juxtaposition with my great #Bird from #TheSouth. :)

My process for choosing locations, considered as seen from Google Earth view:
a) Bare rock
b) isolation. Room for local growth (dock, hotel, gift shops...)
c) roughly located at navigationally significant “gate points” for major transit entrances/exits of the #NWP
d) available level ground at least 10 metres above current sea-level.
     Work towards saving the ice, plan for the worst; Should these pieces  be placed to stay above expected sea level rise?

 Please contact me if you are in the Far North. Do you like this idea? This is my decolonial gesture; my begging permission to impose upon the land. With my work. I offer it as a vision of our #Indigenous vow to protect and advocate for “the land” even if we are stuck in the inertia of “The Greater-Society”. In this case, I advocate for the Greater Society, as well as for the #Indigenous. We have mutual interests and long history.

The desire to travel the region, for pleasure and business is going to continue, grow. The infrastructure of Indigenous communities, often the only public infrastructure in these areas, are incapable of meeting the needs of the people there, now, never mind the impending trickle, then perhaps flood of tourists, oil explorers, diamond miners, etc. Rather than building new towns for tourists to visit and get their BrandX Coffee and fast foods, under the Aurorae, finally finish the infrastructure of reservations and Inuit villages to the expectations of Southern suburbs, so that they have the infrastructure to host you and your RV/Cruiseship, plus have eggs and espresso available.

That is my big idea for #Canada150. I have a nonstatic post, below, which is an evovolving description, budget, timeline documentationing the #SOTNWP project. Now, I would like to tell you about one of the best ideas I ever had. :)

A few years back, there was a certain piece of land that was being leased by a NorthWestern Ontario town, from the province, or country, or local #FirstNations. Doesn’t matter. Point is; the lease was up and it was supposed to revert back to the local First Nations communities. I do not know if the “ownership” of the property has been resolved, yet, but it was in a state of mutual inertias, when I left.

The property seemed to exist in an uncomfortable legal grey area. The public infrastructure dwindled or was removed, before stewardship was supposed to be repatriated. The garbage was still picked-up and the roads plowed; campground and beach on life support. Jobs, inertia.

This grey area, however, looked like a potential “new Hong Kong” that I had heard about in a TED talk, or something like that. “Experimental economic zones” outside of local national laws, like the new economic zones of China. The property is/was quite explicitly between Canada and the United States; outside of provincial(?) Township or Indigenous ownership. 

So. My best idea, ever, started out as the notion of having the federal government declare the property A “Legal-Weed Zone”, (Edit: There's probably a better term for that.) including recreational, lodging, R&D and medicinal facilities, whose stewardship and profits were to be shared by regional First Nations and local townships as their neighbours prosper.

My vision was tainted, under the omnipresent pall of #StephenHarper, also included the threat of circling law enforcement agencies funded by civil asset forfeiture, but that is not the point, here, either.

My best , evolved version of the idea was even simpler. In the face of a few trends/reasons:
a) Under growing economic demand, cultural demand, medical demand and legal reforms... Cannabis legalisations and decriminalisations are occurring all over the world, as well as in Canada (supposedly).
b) The belated, enduring need to fund First Nations and Inuit infrastructure is coinciding with...
c) Canada’s need to develop rural/Northern #Canada. First Nations and local townships are necessarily linked, economically.

Give control of the emerging economic resource, Cannabis, over to First Nations. Entirely.

In short: If you want to produce Cannabis for medicinal or recreational use, you have to rent facilities on Native land, hire locals, be a good corporate partner, etc., or license local commercial grow/distribution rights from the “Regional Indigenous Cannabis Council Of Elders”, or whatever.

Edit (March 9): See also, #Canada2167.

If you’re a “real conservative”, then you want to give less taxes to government and perhaps want government out of the “Weed business”, for tax and morality reasons, maybe. You are living off trees, gold, wheat, fish and oil. There is a new, impending resource sector that is willing to fund what you don’t want to, give it to the #Indigenous peoples; we will get our hands dirty and we will spread it around, better. (I go into greater speculative detail, in this

Anyways. Nobody responded back then, and time is getting short in #Canada. There are some major legislatory and corporate gears grinding away, in anticipation for some announcement on #CannabisCanada this year. Give us the Weed, Justin.

    Regardless, I would still like a few hundred thousand dollars for myself and an Inuit artist partner (to be discovered and named later) to design and create the first two monumental sculptures, so that we can fundraise and beg for icebreaker ships, solar power nav-beacon rigs and concrete to fall softly from the heavens or NGO-space, or the federal government, for two installations, 3 years out. I would consider the creation and installation of both pieces in that time period, reasonable.



:Eric C. Keast

Saturday, January 21, 2017

"Sentinels Of The NorthWest Passage" - A #canada150 project.

(This page was updated, corrected, shuffled February 13, 2017 - 1930'ish PM EST)

 Please use this page's "url", to link from social media, etc.
     Please comment below and help me with this conversation. I am particularly interested in hearing from other #CanadianArtists, #IndigenousArtists, about contributing ideas, criticism and feedback; perhaps other installations, under the #SOTNWP umbrella.


     I had not heard about #Canada150, until late last year, but I've had an idea in mind, for a long time, that I believe will resonate strongly with fundamental, current streams of Canadian consciousness, in relationship to "The North". Things such as:
  1. - "Northern Sovereignty"
  2. - Global climate change
  3. - "Reconciliation"
  4. - Canada's immediate and future need to exploit the landbase and its historic Treaty obligations, commitments, debts(?).
  5. - Indigenous contribution to "Canadian content" and #CanadianCulture
  6. -"Identity/Indigenous Identity/Canadian Identity"
   I will go into further detail, below. I am posting this as a working draft page, to flesh out the idea. Please forward this link and return to see what's new.

Sentinels of the NorthWest Passage” 

     ... is an idea/project to create and install monumental #CanadianIndigenous sculpture at both ends of the NorthWest Passage, to welcome and remind passersby, that they are entering Canadian and Indigenous territory

     In my imagination, the pieces will reflect the rising and setting suns and be lit at night, functioning as a visual navigation marker. Eventually, such installations could be installed all along the #NWP , all over the Northern Archipelago.  #SovereigntyMarkers.

     In light of the challenges of climate change, Canadian, Inuit and First Nations territorial waters are going to be increasingly traversed by foreign ships; those passing-through, some intruding and others bringing tourism and other economic opportunities and cultural challenges to “The North”.

     I may be an Indigenous artist, but I recognise that I am also a “Southerner”, who grew up with a romantic notion of the Arctic and its peoples. The project will seek to work with local people in identifying appropriate locations for sculptural installation, the "story of the location" and as recruiting ground for the authors of future installations, to grow the size and impact of the “Sentinel” sites. 

"project description"

*     The first phase of my plan is to have 2 of my pieces installed, at both ends, within 3 years. I see the first piece having a  "Visitor on a Quest, from the South" kind of feel, for the #canada150 year. A bronze #Thunderbird, blazing red heart; set on a gleaming pedestal, glowing in the first light of day.

My current plan for the second piece is to consult with local community and representative artists to develop a collaborative design

My initial thought for the second piece is a Snowy Owl. I always liked the Inuit imagery that were available to me, as a child. They are part of my awakening to #art. [Thank you Grandma Edith and Grandpa Charlie and the DEWLINE.] It is a great juxtaposition with my great #Bird from #TheSouth. :)

     I see a prominent, barren hillside, apparently bare of plants, but studded with glinting treelike things, in the distance. As we get closer, individual sculptures resolve and invite scrutiny. This is a painted representation of a #ThunderBirdSculpture, set low in greener hills.  :)

Detail from "Former PPP..." #painting. #thunderbird #sculpture

   For the third phase of #SOTNWP, I want to identify and help fund the creation of other installations by myself, local and Canadian-wide #IndigenousArtists to fill the other locations, eventually, covering the major entry/exit points of  our waterway.

Have someone take over the project, eventually

*     Fourth phase; individual installation sites become multi-installation sites, evolve.


     I suggest 9 strategic locations, which could also function as visual navigational beacons and eventually tourist destinations;

Symbolic Canadian Indigenous Sentinels, to watch and welcome.

   Identified as potential installation sites; based only on my #googleearth skills and personal geographic judgement. 

SentinelCandidate1 75°52'12.06"N 122°23'56.72"W (West end main "gate")
SentinelCandidate2 74°20'59.90"NSentinel candidate 8 70°37'31.77"N 128°15'22.50"W (West end) 124°40'37.04"W (West end main "gate")
SentinelCandidate4 73°32'57.00"N 77°26'3.61"W (East end main "gate")
Sentinelcandidate6  74°35'11.03"N  80°19'14.76"W (East end main "gate")

SentinelCandidate3 71° 4'57.98"N 123° 7'1.18"W (West end)
Sentinel candidate 8 70°37'31.77"N 128°15'22.50"W (West end)

SentinelCandidate5 60°41'8.56"N 64°35'9.37"W (East end PQ?)

Sentinel candidate 7 61°19'7.80"N 64°53'7.88"W (East end main "gate")

Sentinel candidate 8 70°37'31.77"N 128°15'22.50"W (West end)
Sentinel candidate 9 82°28'17.38"N 61°33'50.78"W  (Alert)

Thanks to #googleearth for the pic. (right click and open in new tab for large pic.)

candidate sites for #SentinelsOfTheNorthWestPassage - #GoogleEarth

"project challenges/opportunities"

     I hope to gain local permission to create a permanent sculptural installation on their lands, from a distance, as a personal outreach for collaboration, from this Canadian; whom has always taken "the North", for granted. Much the same as most of us Southerners. 

     Getting permission for a site installation and getting the first piece cast and paid-for would be a first year win. Actually getting it installed by the end of 2017 would takee some #canada150 voodoo. A reasonable goal is to have it installed by the end of a "project year" timeline, in 2018.

     Some of the funding options that I am considering, are: art grants (of course, but months out. New CCA model looks promising.), crowdsourcing (Is this a "kickstarter-possible" project? , private/public donations, sale of existing artwork.

     There are 3 things that I am asking of whomever has had the curiosity to read, this far: 

a) Find out whose permission I need, to install a lighted, monumental sculpture at the 9 non-random points, listed in my blogpost, at the #Canadian Federal, Nunavut, and local Indigenous level. 
      I'm thinking, that someone who loves this idea, in the Nunavut  and/or NorthWest Territories governments...  would be great to find.

b) Find people who have large boats, crew and capability to install monumental sculpture in the remotest locations.

c) Find or remember money that needed to be spent on art; corporate/organaisation budgets often have mandated lines for art spending. There are ready to hang paintings and new sculpture in the studio, and I am working on project limited editions in 2D and 3D.  

     The first thing the crowd can help me with is finding the right government eyeballs and juice to grant me a location. A location(s) , with a consideration to future possible installations on the same site as size consideration. Imagine sculpture parks alongs the #NorthWestPassage as the tourist attraction of the 22'rd century. Area, acreage... not too far from the water, a little altitude, electrical source installed and paid-for, to run the big red navigational light on my #Thunderbird. Why a T-Bird theme?  It's a visitor from the South and the West, a familiar motif in my work, as well.  

"project timeline/budget construction"

"comment replies"


Call to Action: 

I need some attention. An approving letter would be nice, non-dismissive encouragement is probably a more reasonable start.

- #CanadianIndigenousArtists, partricularly #NWT/ #Nunavut #FirstNations and #Inuit, please spread the idea, if you like it, or at least warm to it.

- If you know the local people whose territory my locations are at, can you let then know and get back to me?
- If you know the premieres of NWT, Nunavut, PQ... could you ask them to take a look at the map and see if any of those sites are kosher? Or have an intern do it, that kinda thing....
- If you know the PM (#Canada), you know...

Way above my contact list.