Travis, Ulysses Skate Park

travis-ulysses17

This is the new Ulysses Skate Park in Golden, Colorado. Travis’ image is here with these skaters, where he skated. Travis would have been 18 years old today.

Shine on, Trav-a-lav – Skate Forever.

Travis, Final

travis-ulysses14final

This is the final Travis image for Ulysses Skate Park in Golden, Colorado. Travis grew up skating in the old Ulysses Skate Park and his image will grace the new one. Skate Forever, Trav-a-lav. I love you.

Travis, GILDERS paste

travis-ulysses11

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

img_6574

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

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.