Travis, GILDERS paste


Creating this image of Travis out of metal and finding a finish for it that would withstand being outdoors and under the Colorado sun was completely out of my comfort zone. For one, I got a D in metalsmithing in art school. Metal never does what I want it to do, or even what I imagine it is going to do. Metal is for the Janet Lewises and Rachel Dazeys of the world – badass women who work with it in their studios every day and bend it to their will. Me? I’m in love with paper. You see the difference.

I’m not a painter, either. I use paint in my work but I’m not versed in it. I don’t love color. Amy Shapley does though and she led me to GILDERS paste. GILDERS paste is a wax based medium you can apply with your fingers. It’s gorgeous. It’s fine outdoors. And it’s formulated to be UV resistant with a clear coat. I applied a color called Patina – an aged copper tone – to the Travis image. I hope it lasts 100 years.

Travis, Sandblasted


When I made the decision to remove the green paint from the Travis image, I also needed to produce a mechanical tooth to prep the surface for good adhesion of the new finish. The sandblasting process knocks loose any paint, coating, or debris and propels very fine bits of material at high-velocity to clean or etch a surface. This made sandblasting the perfect solution. I have Janet Lewis, metalsmith, to thank for the suggestion and H & H Protective Coatings to thank for the sandblasting. From here, Travis is ready for the final steps.

Travis, First Finish

Travis, Ulysses[9]Paint Version.JPG

Soon after Travis died, I adapted a version of my performance, Origin of Painting, for him. This performance was the first in a two year long series of projects to honor Travis. The original Travis image – in Origin of Painting for Travis –  was green and so were several of the other Travis images. I envisioned the Travis image for the new Ulysses Skate Park as green, too, with a pink heart to represent the pink heart Rosa drew for him after the Origin of Painting performance. My first try was fluorescent green spray paint. Paint tests revealed very quickly that fluorescent paint would not withstand Colorado sunlight. This led to a LOT of paint tests. This is the primered Travis image painted with BEHR MARQUEE Odyssey Semi-Gloss Enamel in Planet Green. The heart is the same paint in Sweet Chrysanthemum. After all that research, it didn’t work. The paint peeled and scratched too easily. “Back to the drawing board.”

Travis, Pre-Paint


This is the Travis image, pre-paint, for the new Ulysses Skate Park in Golden, Colorado. Metalsmith, Rachel Dazey, cut this tiny metal heart. The list of artists and craftspeople who contributed labor, technical advice, ideas, and love to this project is deep: Walt Delp, my ex-husband and the father of my beautiful daughters – we have a history of collaboration that bedrocks my career, Janet Lewis, the artist I go to EVERY time I want the truth about my work and process, Amy Shapley, researcher extraordinaire and idea Queen, Rachel Dazey, she stepped up with gorgeous generosity and skill, Dante’ Ivy, his heart got mixed up with the Travis heart fast, Meredith Moody, the sweetest and most informative sister on the planet, and Travis, my ancestor, lighting the whole wide way.

Travis, Steel

Travis, Ulysses[6].JPG

This is the Travis image -pre-sandblasting and paint and without the heart – for the new Ulysses Skate Park in Golden, Colorado. Two holes will be drilled into one of the concrete skate elements in the park and filled with epoxy. The posts on the back of the Travis image will be inserted into the epoxy-filled holes and the image will be permanently embedded in the concrete. The Travis image will rise slightly above the concrete.

Travis and a Plasma Cutter


My ex-husband taught me how to use a plasma cutter. It is very similar to drawing – as is welding. The ironic part for me is that I have to go slow, something I must remind myself to do. The first project I used a plasma cutter for was Travis’ ashes container. My sister – his mother and my niece – his sister asked me to create one and I said yes, even though I had no idea how to do so. The result was Jose angels for Travis.

The Travis image for the new Ulysses Skate Park was originally to be a tile and I wasn’t supposed to create it. I did the design and it was to be executed by a tile maker. When that didn’t go forward my ex-husband and I, as we did on the ashes container, brainstormed technical options and then collaborated on a Travis image to be cut out of metal with a plasma cutter. Here I am in his shop.

Travis and Ulysses Skate Park


Travis was an avid skateboarder before he died. It’s hard to picture him without a board in his hand. On March 28, 2015, the second anniversary of his death, my sister – his mother, my daughter, and I pasted this Travis image in Ulysses Skate Park in Golden, Colorado where Travis grew up skating. From this image, and the entire Memorials for Travis project, came an opportunity for me to create a permanent image to be embedded in the new Ulysses Skate Park being built right now on the spot of the old one.