Atlas “World Famous,” A New Sculpture

Atlas: World Famous— loteria deck inspired metal "collage."


Atlas Sculpture, 2006
recycled steel
75″ high x 48″ wide x 12″ deep

Atlas: World Famous is my first large-scale sculpture made using the newly operational plasma cutter to create metal “collage.” I’m really digging it… I have plans to do a whole series of similar work based on carnival banners, circus posters, and other pop-culture type images. This is a lot of fun for me because it’s a way to go back to my roots in the folk art/pop culture vernacular where I started my art career. I love colorful sculpture and bold graphics, and I really wanted to make some big work for the yard that would be more visible as people go whizzing by on the highway at 60 mph.

Getting the plasma cutter up and running has been really exciting. My neighbor just down the street works on old cars from the 40s and 50s. He’s always had one of those yards filled with piles of trash… so, the other day, I stopped in and introduced myself and asked if he’d like to get rid of all the car body panels cluttering up his yard. Sure, he said! So I now have a large supply of nicely aged colors to work with. This is one of those great examples of the artist as beneficial parasite… I get free material and in the process, I clean up the neighborhood, help my neighbor make bettter use of his yard space and recycle steel that would eventually have just rusted into the ground. Pretty much everyone wins!

It also turns out that Chris (my neighbor) is a really cool guy. I have to admit that the yard full of trash kind of prejudiced me to think that he probably wasn’t all that sharp… Turns out, he’s traveled all over the world (including 3 illicit trips to Cuba) and has had all kinds of really unusual and interesting experiences. Cool. Someone new to talk to!


Atlas: World Famous— loteria deck inspired metal "collage."


The sculpture is 75″ high x 48″ wide x 12″ deep, which means that Atlas himself is pretty much life-size. Here’s a picture of me standing behind the piece so you can see the scale. I’, about six feet tall.


Atlas: World Famous— loteria deck inspired metal "collage."


Below is the image this sculpture is based on. It’s one of my all-time faves… I did an Atlas mosaic in glass and bottle caps a couple years ago, using the same image. The original is from the Mexican Loteria deck, a traditional game similar to Bingo.


el mundo loteria card