- Bronze on Wood Base
- 26 x 18 x 11 inches
I am You
(ed. 45; mesquite wood base)
26" h x 18" w x 11" d
Figurative Sculpture by Kelly Borsheim
I am You was inspired many years ago (Ok, in 2001) when I met a new friend. On that first day while we were talking, my friend did a simple gesture that I had never seen anyone but me do before and I felt an instant connection with this person.
Because we are such social creatures, I think that moment of recognizing something familiar in another human being is one of the more beautiful things we can experience. I wanted to create an artwork that would depict the idea of connecting with a stranger. It is my hope that we will continue to seek out these wondrous occasions and keep an open mind each time we meet someone new. It could turn out to be a life-changing experience for you -- as it has been for me.
This couple sculpture is a limited edition of 45. The bronze sculpture is mounted onto a dark wood base. Texas Mesquite is the wood shown on this bronze. I suspect this sculpture will appeal to lovers everywhere and might be a great gift idea for couples, but it is really intended as a tribute to powerful and surprising friendships.
More Views of Nude Couple Art Bronze Sculpture:
by sculptor Kelly Borsheim
I worked with two excellent models that I have known for many years to create I am You. I also chose them because they are mature models. I believe I started the actual work with them in March 2003. I prefer to work with real people when I can because I think it brings an authenticity to my art work and is consistent with the overall message I wish to communicate or honor. Once I was able to begin the physical part of the work, I met with the models Janet and Dave and explained to them the concept, general pose, and inspiration behind this couple composition. Then I let them get into the pose, minimizing my intervention, allowing them to fall into a position natural for each of them.
I include here detailed shots of each face in the couple sculpture that also include the hands covering each person's sternum. (Some of the images are shown here in clay since I forgot to take these detail shots of the bronze and I sold the first bronze casting immediately.) The position of each hand and even the stance of the body is unique to an individual and often different for each gender. Note that the woman Janet naturally wrapped her fingers around the man Dave's hand, while Dave simply rested his hand protectively over Janet's.
You may also observe that the man's legs are further apart, both front-to-back and side-to-side, than the woman's. Details like this I could not make up without, I suspect, giving the art a contrived look. Not being male myself, I would not presume to tell Dave how to carry his male body. My job is simply to pay attention.
In a sculpture such as this one with a lot of symmetry involved, I like to "mix it up" by breaking that symmetry in small ways. I hope you will be able to notice some of these ideas when you study this couple art work I am You.
Top View of I am You (Prior to Bronze Casting):
Making the Mold of the Couple Sculpture:
8 December 2004: I am You certainly classifies itself as one of the more complicated molds I have needed to have made. Like Together and Alone, I felt it important to leave air space around the insides of the arms, a detail other sculptors may have chosen to fill in. But I like the way the light falls around the torso when it is able to reach those areas.
I tend to consider the mold-making aspect of each work as I am conceiving it, but then I put my thoughts on the back burner as I plunge ahead to execute the idea. The leaves covering the base took me a long time and so towards the end of the sculpting process I had plenty of time to consider cut lines and other issues of molding.
I also consult with the foundry that will cast the work. Each foundry works differently and there are usually several good ways to create a mold. I feel I get a better mold if I involve all parties who will work with the mold as much as possible. This insures that I will not be disappointed with the finished bronze sculpture.
11 December 2004: In this case, my foundry recommended an extra vertical support for the male figure because they also thought we would cut the male figure away from the female figure so that all parts would be easier to reach (cutting both figures off the base in the lower leg region). My moldmaker John Borsheim decided that although he liked the idea of the extra brace, he would get a tighter, more accurate mold if he kept the sculpture intact throughout the process. I agreed (he is a smart man!) and gravity was used to help the print coat pick up undercut details.
11 December 2004: The print coat consists of a thinner rubber that has better flow into detail areas. Now, a different rubber is used to build up thickness and support for the print coat. Each additional layer of rubber is colored so that is it apparent that nothing is overlooked.
13-19 December 2004: Seam lines are built up in rubber where pieces will be joined (forearms and lower legs). Shims are created on cut lines that are only used for de-molding. All undercuts have been filled-in with rubber in preparation for the fiberglass mother (supporting) mold.
19-22 December 2004: Fiberglass gets added. (That is the gold-colored resin for fiberglass near the bottom of the sculpture that you see in the photo above.) John and I work together day or night on fiberglass -- it is less messier that way. Note that this takes us longer to do because we are working around John's work schedule, my teaching schedule and other art deadlines, a bit of cold weather, and a few holiday festivities.
Although we have worked with fiberglass inside my studio before (last winter), we decided that the smell is horrible and unhealthy and we never want to do that again. (And ventilating my studio leaves me without a warm place to work -- another downer.)
29 December 2004: John did not need to make the second layer of fiberglass that red, but he was having a bit of fun. Here the fiberglass mold has been cleaned up -- all sharp edges removed, with edges ground down for easy handling and de-molding. Holes will be drilled into the built-up seam lines so that bolts will hold the mold together during the wax pour (and storage). We were blessed at this time with a mild Texas winter day.
29 December 2004: In the process of removing the mold from the art, the figures are now cut apart and, for all practical purposes, destroyed. This is why a skilled mold-maker is a necessary part of this bronze process. Below, you see only the fiberglass mother mold. Nice to allow air to fully cure it. The inner rubber mold is removed to be thoroughly cleaned and our work inspected.
1 January 2005: Below you see that extra fiberglass plates are made to cover the opening where the arms will be joined. Since the wax figures will be poured separately (through the leg openings), these arm holes must be plugged accurately. The rubber mold was place inside the fiberglass mold and sculpting clay was put where the sculpture was to prevent the fiberglass from sagging into the now open air space.
5 January 2005: I delivered the mold to the foundry. They were thrilled with it. John and I were happy, too. The waxes came out very clean, with great seam registration. I only had to spend a couple of hours going over the waxes. A mold that is this clean is worth the work because it saves so much time in the rest of the process and yields a better result. I hope you enjoyed taking this journey with me for a bit. Thank you for reading.