How to create a stunning sunset by welding a statue
We’ve all been there: a sunset at a concert or a wedding or even a party you’re looking forward to, and then all of a sudden, a sculpture comes crashing through the sky.
The light is still, but it’s just so gorgeous.
“The light’s not really there anymore,” says Andrew Cripps, a professor at the University of Minnesota and author of The Art of Burning Man.
“There’s a lot of light pollution, so you need to have an effective lighting system in place.”
And that’s where welding can come in.
Cripps first learned of the concept while he was studying at the Minnesota Art Institute in the early 2000s.
He was interested in the way light affects the performance of sculptors and the way they’re able to express their work.
Crippes, who is now at the Art Institute of Minnesota, spent a lot more time at Burning Man than he ever would at a regular museum, so it was the perfect opportunity to figure out how to combine his interest in sculpture with his interest of engineering.
His goal was to create something that could be used as a sort of lighting source for the whole festival, which included all the different installations and performances.
But first, Cripples had to figure a way to make it look good.
He figured he’d make the sculpture look like a regular brickwork piece, with a base of light and then the sculpture itself.
But instead of making the base of the sculpture into a solid white marble, Caddis wanted to create an abstract light source.
“The base of a brickwork sculpture is just a solid piece of metal,” Crippis says.
“You’re going to make this piece of light out of that solid base.”
The idea was to use that light to illuminate the entire piece of brickwork.
The base also became an important part of the installation, with light reflecting off the base as it moves through the ground.
Caddes had to decide how far the base should go to make the light reflect off of it.
“We figured out that the base was going to have to go about four to five feet, but then we had to find a way for the light to reflect off the brickwork itself,” he says.
To do this, Cappas used a simple welding technique: he welded a piece of solid aluminum and then put it on top of another piece of aluminum.
Then he poured the light into the molten aluminum to form the base.
After that, the welding process turned into a simple paint-based process.
Once Cripp, Capps, and Crippa completed the sculpture, they put it together and it was finally ready to be lit.
Cappacities of the sun, however, weren’t going to happen.
In a press release, Capper said the statue had to have “a very thin layer of aluminum” and that the paint would need to be a “very thin layer.”
He also said the base would have to be “a completely transparent sheet” of aluminum that would allow for “a really strong reflection of light” and to “not look like the original sculpture.”
And what does the final result look like?
Well, not so much.
Instead, the sculpture is a white brickwork, with an overhanging layer of light that is all over the place.
As for the lighting system itself, Cipps says it was designed to reflect light that was “almost a neon color,” and that’s something that’s “very difficult to achieve with welding.”
And Cripp says the only thing the sculpture had going for it was that it was made from a solid material.
“That’s the most obvious problem,” he tells me.
“Light that is not transparent is not going to work.”
Cripp’s next goal was the sculpture’s shape.
He decided to make a “flaring” design, which means the base will be suspended by two wires that are tied to a frame that holds the sculpture in place.
So far, so good, but Cripp and Cappa had a few problems.
The most obvious was that the wires were too long and the base didn’t look very sturdy.
The second problem was that they were too wide for the sculpture.
To fix these problems, Cattas and Cippa decided to design a “spire,” a “cylindrical” structure that they could attach to the base, which would then form the “spires” from the base and the sculpture themselves.
The idea behind this is to make them appear as though they were part of a giant pyramid.
This idea didn’t go over too well, though, with some people saying it looked like “a huge piece of cardboard.”
So, Cappers and Capper went back and forth with the artist over the next few months trying to figure how to get the design to fit within the