A Love Story: Narrative Fence in Steel, Glass, Copper and Brass

Life Story Fence, 2002
Steel, Durock, glass tile, copper, paint
48″ H x 120″ W x 2″ D

Having seen pictures of my Acrobat Fence, my friends Howie and JoAnn approached me to design four sections of fence to enclose a round garden at their Evanston, Illinois residence. Together, they scripted a narrative telling the story of their lives together in four acts: meeting and falling in love; traveling Asia; their first child, Gabriel; and their second child, Julian.

This project is a great example of artist/client collaboration. Through conversations and stories JoAnn told me, I was able to get a good feel for the personality and expression of each member of the family. Gabriel loves snakes, so in his panel, the family goes for a ride on a snake. Julian is really into math, so I portrayed him juggling numbers while the rest of the family plays or looks on.

Each character is portrayed using a different color glass: Howie is blue, JoAnn is green, Gabriel is red and Julian, yellow. The inside of the fence was done in copper instead of mosaic to keep the widths of the heads proportionate. This constraint actually turned out to be a good thing, because Howie prefers the copper and JoAnn loves the glass mosaic.