Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wending Our Way through the Underbelly by Layla Windwillows

Birds have an appreciation for the markers on the river trail and they demonstrate it with enthusiasm. The weathering and corrosion of the metal industrial tools contributes to the capture of guano and it can be a challenge removing it, even with the variety of brushes and sponges we use. Curiously, there was another type of splatter: red and dark green paint. That’s wild. It took quite a bit of elbow grease but we got the rust stains, guano, and paint off. Then we repainted the lettering. Odd that so many (but not all) of the markers have the letters painted with a dusty, pinkish paint.

Marker #6 verified this. There was paint spatter of the same color spotting the cement base (where the phrase: “A Sign or Symbol. Watermark” is etched). It took acetone to remove it and the puddle of baked on linseed oil coagulated at the base of the metal tool. The linseed puddles have been a common occurrence in the markers we’ve seen thus far, with the exception of #29.

Being that #6 had full exposure to the elements, its accumulation of “wrong” told a different story. Its surface coating was brittle. It was awkward cleaning it because the dryness (it can be very windy in spots along the trail) and sun baked the stains, oils, paint spatter, and guano into a stubborn enamel-like finish. Hercules would break a sweat getting this stuff off without becoming yet another erosive force.

Our efforts were well-rewarded this week: by the end of each project each marker GLOWED. The repainted phrasing stood out and was legible at a leisurely pace. The passing citizenry went wild expressing their appreciation. I’m still finding confetti in my hair. Another gratifying week!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Conserving the Ventura River Trail by Jennifer Sapinoso

“A little elbow grease” was the theme for our group today. We quickly observed that the sculptures on the river trail were in dire need of work. Because Mile Marker #1 is so near the ocean and in direct exposure to elements and years of minimal conservation effort, there were many metal stains, corrosions, graffiti, fading of the letters, and our personal favorite bird guano. However, as evident n our before and after pictures it makes a world of difference it visually showed the most significant change after our conservation efforts. It made being out there in the hot sun scrubbing until our right arm seemed like it had grown several times from such a work out, completely worth it.

Many bicyclists that passed us stopped to chat, one man even thanked us. It seemed that even if a bicyclist didn’t stop or didn’t say anything we caught their attention not one person who passed us did not glance over at us working diligently. I believe that not only are we setting up a much needed conservation program for Ventura’s public art but also we are raising awareness, and a curiosity within the passing locals about public art and hopefully inform them of how conserving the art within their community is a necessity.

Conserving Father Junipero Serra by Jennifer Sapinoso

We did a condition report before we started to document the ‘before’ condition of the iconic Ventura sculpture of Father Serra. Even before we began working on the sculpture we were getting a response from the locals that happened to walk by.

“Looks like Father Serra’s getting some much needed attention”
“Good job you guys”

Along with some other positive quips and even if they said nothing some passersby would simply stop and watch us work. It was exciting to finally physically do what we spent a week of lectures and demonstrations learning about.

We realized that however the initial appearance of a piece may seem to be satisfactory after careful examination we noticed that a entire panel of the granite mount has become detached and can be moved.

Though this does not, at the moment, threaten the integrity of the stableness of the sculpture it may eventually lead to it. Without the proper repairs done to the loose granite moisture and the elements will be able to deteriorate the inner structure of the statue. After recording and report the much needed repairs can be given priority and can help preserve this piece of public art.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The City of Ventura’s Public Art Program is pleased to lead a Public Art and Conservation Internship this summer from June – August, 2007.

Interns are degree candidates and graduates of Fine Arts at California State University at Channel Islands. During the course of the summer, interns will work to conserve nearly 40 sculptures in our City's Public Art Collection, including the sculpture of
Father Junipero Serra and the 32 mile markers that line the Ventura River Trail.

Mile markers extend 6.7 miles along the trail and form a piece entitled, Mark. This work was completed by distinguished artist Jud Fine, a Professor of Sculpture at the University of Southern California. To learn more about his work, please click here.

Interns have received professional training in conservation techniques from renowned Conservator Andrea Morse of Sculpture Conservation Studio in Los Angeles. Interns are:

Bradley Barron
Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from CSUCI. Bradley is also a sculptor who works closely with Fine Arts Professor and Public Art Commissioner
Matt Furmanski.

James Norwood
Fine Arts student at CSUCI. James is a former teacher trained in sculpture and casting.

Tobie Roach
Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from CSUCI. Tobie is a painter with two commissioned murals in Ventura’s Public Art Collection for
The Streetscape Mural Project.

Jennifer Sapinoso
Fine Arts student at CSUCI. Jennifer is a sculptor who works with three-dimensional mixed media.

Layla Windwillows
Fine Arts student at CSUCI. Layla is a mixed media sculptor.

This blog will be updated weekly and will document the interns’ conservation work throughout the course of the summer. All are welcome to leave comments and to ask our interns questions about public art and their work.

Ventura's Public Art Program was enacted in 1991 and since then has incorporated an artist's vision to capital improvement projects providing visitors and residents alike with a new understanding of urban design in Ventura. Recognizing the substantial economic and social benefits gained through an aesthetic treatment of public spaces and consequent increased retail activity, the City established an ordinance allocating 2% of eligible City capital improvement project costs for the commissioning of artist design services and artwork integrated in the construction of public works. Policy oversight of the program is the responsibility of the Public Art Commission, a seven person volunteer advisory body.