Hurricane Harvey - Heroes LIVEstock

In my original body of work “Harvey Heroes” the installation. I paid specific attention to selecting images for inspiration from all ethnic backgrounds. During the Hurricane Harvey flood rescue, racial, political gender and religious tensions were washed away. They were not part of the conversation, we were one people. That was the silver lining of Hurricane Harvey, that was what raised our Texas spirit above the flood line. Seeing people of all backgrounds helping each other made me proud to be from Houston. In the installation piece the process I use to get the abstract fluidity marks, dilutes the diversity of skin tones. I feel this process addresses skin tones as Harvey did. The work is very abstract and does not show the details that might define a particular ethnic background, again the spirit of Harvey.

 The exhibition opening was pushed back 30 days, with the extra time I decided to add a few LIVEstock pieces. There were not a lot of images from Harvey of livestock rescues on social media so I created a few of my own.

I regretted I had not made  a buffalo calf rescue piece. Saving the buffalo is my thing. Not long after making the decision to make a buffalo rescue piece I saw an image posted on Instagram of a black cowboy wearing a white hat. Immediately I thought how cool it would be to have a black cowboy rescue a buffalo calf. A white hat would separate a darker skin tone from my murky floodwater background, plus my new 44” X 30” paper and plate would help show more skin tone characteristics than the 22” X 30” pieces that compose the installation.. When I told Curtis what I was planning he, immediately, reminded me of the Buffalo Soldiers. He suggested I visit the Buffalo Museum to make sure it would be acceptable during today’s sensitive times to reference Buffalo Soldiers. The people at the museum were very busy so I did not bother them. I did consulted with one of my friends, artist Romeo Robinson; he liked the idea.

This piece has multiple layers of meaning. It brings attention to the importance of tending to animals in rural environments when floods occur. It brings attention to saving the buffalo from extinction and it addresses regenerative agriculture. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the brave men who served our country in the military; the Buffalo Soldiers. They were given the name Buffalo Soldiers by the Native Americans, because the Buffalo Soldiers were as tough, fierce and brown as the American buffalo. They were admirable Americans. They deserve accommodations. While at the buffalo Soldier Museum I learned that the US government has never given the Buffalo Soldiers any accommodations for their service. They fought in the Civil War and WWI, This piece celebrates heroes on a multiple of levels. 

The piece below, the African-American cowboy is rescuing a buffalo calf. The white cowboy hat and white shirt separate the black skin on his face from the chaotic weather in the background.

I made one monotype and two ghost monotypes. See below.

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I hope you like them.  

Hurricane Harvey Heroes- LIVEstock- “bringing home the bacon” The inspiration?

He is one big pig, the beloved family pet that had to be hoisted upstairs to save him from drowning in the flood waters of Harvey. The idea of saving a pig was inspired by a YouTube video posted by a young family in Conroe, Texas. I hope you see in the figure not only the strength it takes to lift up a frightened squirming pig but also the determination that the figure has not to let the family’s favorite pet parish. The pig twist and turns  while straining his back legs straight out trying to reach the ground. 

photo by Nash Baker 

Bringing home the bacon

Bringing home the bacon

66” X 42” 60”

Steel, stainless steel lath, plaster, hydro stone, wire mesh, screen and cloth, and baling wire. 

the next pig post -  why a pig?

Hurricane Harvey Heroes- LIVEstock- “bringing home the bacon” why a pig?

Why a pig?  We humans have a lot in common with pigs. We're both omnivorous mammals that gain weight easily and are susceptible to the flu. We share 98% of the same DNA.

Photo graph by Nash Baker    66” X 42” 60”

Photo graph by Nash Baker 

66” X 42” 60”

Pigs are somewhat domestic (if you don’t believe me, check out @esterthewonderpig on Instagram).  In addition they are on rural, commercial, and regenerative hog farms. They are incredibly smart and very clean animals.

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2019 is the year of the pig. Pigs symbolize prosperity, wealth and abundance. Having a fattened up pig brings good luck. The Pig is thought to bring luck to farmers as it brings in a good crop.

The pig is very powerful and brings all good things.  They are a very laid back animal they do not readily attack or anger.

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They have been known to overindulge and can weigh  an average of around 700 lbs. They are also often adored characters in nursery rhymes, children’s stories and tv shows as well as a variety of sitcoms. Miss Piggy, Porky Pig, Piglet, Timon and Pumbaa, Petunia Pig, The three little pigs, This little piggy went to the Market, Old Major, and Babe. I could go on and on. 

A pig checks a lot of boxes that I feel a lot of people can relate to.

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From a personal stand point, my brothers had a couple of pigs on our farm in Dell City. I was very young and can barely remember them. I do remember something about my oldest brother’s, Bob Travis Jr.’s, pig drowning. I am not sure how. It was not a flood because Dell City is in the middle of the desert. When we were teenagers and living in the city, my brother, Dean Travis, was riding his motorcycle in the desert checking his beehives and found a piglet lost in the desert. The piglet had gotten his head stuck in a paint can. I can still remember Dean pulling into the driveway on his motorcycle with the poor squealing piglet tucked under his arm with its head still stuck in the can. He lived in our backyard that summer.

 

In the early 2000s, we lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. There is a nice size Vietnamese population in New Orleans and a fair amount of Vietnamese pot bellied pigs. A family that went to my children’s school had a miniature Vietnamese pot bellied pig. The mom used to walk him to school on a leash when she picked her kids up at 2:45. My daughter, Sage, did everything in her power to convince  me to buy her one. We already had two dogs, 2 birds, several frogs, turtles, fish and snakes. She finally quit asking when we learned they could not bend their knees to climb steps. Our home was on a small uptown lot with lots and lots of stairs. The pig would have to stay outside and we would want it to be part of our family. 

If anyone has a great pig family pet, urban or rural, please share stories and pictures. I would love to hear and see them.

Most importantly I hope this piece can bring a little good luck and good fortune to the people who are still suffering the wrath of Harvey. 

 


Hurricane Harvey Heroes- LIVEstock- “chica”

Happiness is finding your favorite goat Chica before the flood. 

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This piece was not inspired by a social media posting. I do feel it is a story worth telling. 

Many thanks to my beloved niece Josette Travis for inspiring this piece.  Thank you so much for helping me with this and being such a great Mom to all the kids. (Does anybody get that joke- all the kids). 

Below are images of Josette and some of Josette and Eric’s kids. 

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Josette feeding one of Chicas babies

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Josette and Chica modeling a goat rescue for me. Photo by Eric travis.   

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4- kids - Danika and Emma feeding 2 baby goats  

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Josette 😍 and kid

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Chica chillin’  

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The Billy goat and my grand niece Danika . I love his beard. 

 

 

Hurricane Harvey - sculpture day 30 “bringing home the bacon”

Hurricane Harvey - sculpture day 20 “bringing home the bacon”

What a relief, I was able to get the piece in my car and to the sheet metal fabricators. .  

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The sheet Metal fabricators did a beautiful job leveling the steel base.  

The sheet Metal fabricators did a beautiful job leveling the steel base.  

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With this cold weather it is nice to get out of the garage and working inside my studio.

I will take down all the drawings, I want them to be very pressed for the exhibit and I need a clean wall to use as a backdrop as I  work on the next stage of the sculpture . In order to press them I bought two pieces of sheet rock to press them under. I also stack my bronze hats on them for extra weight. 

 

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Hurricane Harvey - sculpture day 14 “bringing home the bacon”

The tension is starting to build.

For this piece to work I have to be able to show the strain or tension between the man and the pig.
The pig is huge and would have been extremely heavy to pick up. And pigs are not comfortable being carried, he would have been squirming like crazy to pull away from the rescuer.  

I added the man’s head outline first. I want his head to thrust back to add to the tension between the man and the pig. Then I added the largest part of the pig's stomach. I need to know where the biggest part is in order to figure out where the man’s arms and hands are going to be gripping the pig. The man's hands will be just above the larges part of the pig gripping it tightly.

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Front view  

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You can now start seeing the tension created with the pull of the man’s head and his arms vs the pigs legs. 

Note to self on the head- make the armature on the small side, I can always add plaster to make it larger.  

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From the back

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I still need- pig ears, tail, and to finish the pig’s legs and abdomen. The man needs his head, hands  and more definition or volume on the arms.  

INSPIRATION- 

 I am always looking for inspiration to use when sculpting. I follow @mcteams3842 who photographs  Navy Seals in training. When I saw the image below I thought of the energy needed to of lift  a big pig. I took a screen shot and saved it to my file of photos I look at when working on the piece. I would love to have the rescuer’s head this far back ....... I will have to experiment with it. 

 

I highly recommend @mcteam3842 for amazing photography.  

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I am thinking of putting a cap on him and loved the brim on the below Navy Seals cap. instagram is a treasure chest of inspiration. 

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Hurricane Harvey - sculpture day 10 “bringing home the bacon”

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Pig nose  

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Building up the nose tip.  

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Aerial view  

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Nose and snout 

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side view 

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back view 

The other side  

The other side  

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Front view- pig nose, snout, back and 1 back leg, clipped to rescuer  

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Side view of rescuer and part of the pig. 

View from the back.  

View from the back.  

Right side view.  

Right side view.