Spring semester and warmer temperatures can only mean one thing: It's time for the Sculpture Deathmatch at Lander University.
During the Sculpture Deathmatch, two teams of sculptors battle for the ultimate sculptural victory. Each team has 12 hours to design, create and install a public sculpture on Lander's campus. After installation, the sculptures are put to a public vote to decide the winner.
On Saturday, April 18 I gathered the Krispy Kremes, the cookies, the chips and the water and waited on the valiant sculptors to arrive.
This year we divided the teams into male and female for a battle of the sexes. I chose the team members carefully and assembled two very strong teams. The dudes were Team BAMF and the dudettes were Team P-Mat.
The clock started at 9:00 am and both teams wisely set out to their respective installation locations to get a feel for the space. Team BAMF quickly returned and began sketching.
Team P-Mat took a little longer and when I finally went looking for them I saw them carrying this mattress skeleton across campus.
Back in the studio, the visitors started to gather.
Team P-Mat had scavenged a very important part of their materials list, but they still had to come up with a design.
Meanwhile Team BAMFf was already hard at work work work.
They were making sparks and making noise.
The first 3 hours passed quickly and soon it was time for lunch. Sculptors love pizza.
Invigorated by the aroma of Papa John's, Team P-Mat started flexing their sculpture muscles. They settled on an idea and started the sweating portion of their day. In the photo above they are bending steel rods with their bare hands.
By lunch time, everyone was already tired. And apparently they all needed some quality time with their phones.
The official Sculpture Deathmatch trading cards for Team BAMF. There's Daniel, Princess Leah, I mean Rashaad, Tripp and Braden.
With their idea beginning to take form, the genius of the scavenged mattress became more apparent. Now it had to be cut apart to free up all those springs. This was about the time I was told that the mattress was rescued from one of the students' apartment complex. And that when they disappeared earlier in the day it was because they were busy tearing the outer layers off of the mattress by the side of the road so they could get to the springs. Suddenly the rank stench of death that accompanied the mattress made sense to everyone. Then we wondered how many diseases we would get from handling this putrid piece of connected metal.
Tripp was unfazed by this and decided to hula hoop a giant spring.
Team BAMF divided up their tasks well and were a continuous frenzy of activity. In the background Laura came to hang out with us all day and take photos.
The official Sculpture Deathmatch trading cards for Team P-Mat. There's Olivia, Chelsea, Mia, Paige and Logan.
Throughout the day we had many visitors and spectators. Parents, friends and strangers all came to support or heckle the teams.
This is the face Olivia makes when she paints.
Bending steel with your bare hands is no joke. This year's injury belonged to Logan who tried to catch a piece of steel after it decided it did not want to be bent into a spring. The steel rod smacked her in the arm and left a huge Tom and Jerry style knot. We all got to watch the knot change colors all through the next week.
Those nasty, disease ridden springs cleaned up nice with a fresh coat of paint.
Team P-Mat found their team spirit in the afternoon and they all worked together well.
As the sun started to think about setting, Team P-Mat carried their components across campus and began to install them.
This is the face Paige makes at me pretty much everyday.
Team P-Mat took the theme of springs and played up the variety through their entire installation. Springs on springs on springs.
After a lot of touch up painting and some fluffing of the pine straw, they celebrated the completion of their day's work.
At the same moment, Team BAMF was lugging their sculpture in the opposite direction.
After a few minutes of painting they also celebrated crossing the finish line early.
This year we debuted paper ballot voting. I abhor Facebook and in the past it has been confusing as to who could vote, if a comment or a "like" was a vote and apparently only people in the Lander Art "group" could access the voting images. This year I had some people from outside the department ask about how they could vote. Paper ballot was suggested and we made it happen thanks to Karen Hammond. Faculty from other departments as well as staff members voted along with students to decide the winner.
And the winner of Sculpture Deathmatch 2015 is......
Congratulations to Rashaad, Tripp, Daniel and Braden. They were allowed to sign the official Sculpture Deathmatch flag which will be displayed in the sculpture studio. Fame and fortune will surely follow.
And congratulations to Team P-Mat for their very successful and very well made sculpture. I'm very proud of both teams. You'd be hard pressed to find a better group of human beings anywhere on the planet.