Report by Eric Von Arx
May 10, 2008 - Long Branch, NJ
NJBA took at bold step and did its 1st demo at a Sculpture Show. "Sculpt" held by SICA (Shore Institute for Contemporary Arts), was an opening day event for their summer long outdoor "Sculptoure" 2008 sculpture show in Long Branch, NJ. The grassy Demo area next to the Oceanside boardwalk was the center for woodcarving, pottery making, glass blowing, modern dancing, and BLACKSMITHING. Mid day, the Car Music Project, (a jazzy band playing instruments they made from a CAR) fired up the music and really got things going. Meanwhile Dave's family disappeared for hours on the beach after borrowing a few small tools. Sometime around mid afternoon his daughter reappeared with a prize she had won in the Sandcastle making contest down on the beach.
Our Project, Originally called the "Blacksmithed Beast", was renamed "Rust the Magic Dragon" as this seemed a bit more in the spirit of the day's event, and it will also of course "live by the Sea". We had 2 forges running with one forging out pieces for the Dragon and the other busily pumping out rebar stakes to hold the beast down. The public couldn't have been better. Many people showed up to watch, ask questions, and a few even stepped up and took a few swings at the hot stuff. "The Boss" Bruce Springstein even stopped by to see the smiths in action, but we were all too busy to notice. The Beast was made from 2"x ¼" stock and 1 ½" x ¼" stock and stands about 8+' tall, by 10+' long, by 7' wide. We'd like to thank all the NJBA members (Marshal's Monday Night Crew) and also Larry Brown who helped pre form much of the beast in the weeks before this event. And also a special thanks to Dave and Tom who were definitely the day's demo crowd pleasers.
After a solid day of Demo & Creation we carried the Beast through the streets (with some public help) and set her in her spot among the other sculptures on the traffic island between the North and Southbound lanes of Ocean Blvd.
After packing up we were all invited back to SICA's Gallery space for Beer, Wine and a tasty food reception. The people at SICA couldn't have been nicer or more appreciative of our participation in their event. In fact they were so enthusiastic about Blacksmithing that they spoke to Dave about some possible future collaborations with their organization.
Even after all this - great demo, creation, installation, reception, I still wasn't completely sure we really created an "Art Piece" until after the reception when on my way home as dusk hit the horizon I stopped at the center island, jumped out of the car and pounded down one extra rebar staple into the leg. And just as the sledge slammed the final anchoring shot, a driver yelled out his window "HEY.YOOO… Get RID AH THAT JUNK".