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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
December 15, 2017     The Catalina Islander
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December 15, 2017

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Artist Mike Hart creates Catalina- themed artworks FOR THE ISLANDER In recent months, the Catalina Island Museum Store has added a multitude of new merchandise. Handcrafted bronze sculptures depicting Catalina's bison and beloved sea lion Old Ben are among the most unique. 7, , ,. ? Tb-:team : more: about; the : creative process behind these bronze sculptures, the Catalina Island Museum recently sat down with the artist, Mike Hart. Below is an excerpt from their discussion. Catalina Island Museum: You are an illustrator, a painter and a sculptor. What do you find special about each process and what you can express with them? Mike Hart: Getting from artistic conception to a finished product requires choosing the right medium to capture a par- ticular subject matter Sculpting is just a three- dimensional version of a paint- ing or illustration. As an artist, I have to choose which form of art accomplishes what I'm trying to express or to explain. Museum: Can you tell us a little about the bronze sculpting process? [ Take Advantage of Great Savings Sign Up for Your Complimentary Avalon Advantage Membership Today Now Save 15% On All Purchases at the Spa Shoppe Kee~f~t fo~ Less w~th You~- Keep Eit Card Get 10 Classes for $45 1 Get 10 Classes + 2 Spa Day Passes for $95 2~n Us for Sundown at t~ ~p~: Wednesdays and Thursdays 14 to 8 pm Choose a Tension Tamer Message or Relaxing Refresher Facial I Only $55 Includes a complimentary beverage from Encanto Care and access to spa facilities. Receive a Cornphme.qtary $~0 'f[eatme]3t Vouche~" for every $200 in spa gift cards you purchase before Dec. 25, 2017. ISLAND SPA Sculptor Mike Hart, surrounded by his works. Courtesy photo Enjoy a Special Holiday Dinner STARTER Potato & Leek Velout~ MAIN COURSE Choose from New Zealand Osso Buco, Five Spice Huscovy Duck or Pistachio-Crusted John Dory DESSERT Pumpkin Cake with Vanilla Gelato Enjoy the complete meal for $60 or order ~ la carte. Our regular menu is also available. Christmas Eve: 5 to 8 pm Christmas Day: xx:3o am to 8 pm Receive 20% off your total bill with your valid subsidy card. For reservations, Visit OpenTable.com, or call 310.510.7/,9/,. CATALINA Hart: For me, the first stepdetails were left out of this once I've decided on the sub- description. Normally each of ject matter is to spend countless these major steps is done by a hours on research. Sculptingseparate skilled artisan who spe- requires an in-depth under- cializes in that particular area of standing of anatomy, from the the process. basic structure to the most intri- Museum: What are your ties catetissue connections, to the Catalina Island? How has the Island influenced your '1 have been known work? Hart: My first time going to to spend as much as the Island was in 1965 via the 400 hours sculpting "Great White Steamship", what a treat! Loved the island set- one of my bronzes ting where you feel you could be and sometimes as anywhere in the world and yet only "26 miles across the sea. many hours on the I met my wife Sue in 1969 researchbefore I and this was where she spent start, but this is only many summa_, s throughout her high school ~ears. Catalina has the beginning-* remained one of our favorite ~ U/ tll~ destinations for the past 47 Mike Hart, artist On one of our many trips, we The second step is making an armature, which is the internal foundation on which to build your sculpture. I have been known to spend as much as 400 hours sculpting one of my bronzes and sometimes as many hours on the research before I start, but this is only the begin- ning of the process. When finished with the sculpting, it is then delivered to a foundry for their 10 to 12-week process. This will include making a mold, usually consisting of a flexible rubber inner mold sur- rounded by a stiff outer mold. The mold itself may take up to two or three weeks to create. Bronze, which hasbeen melt- ed in a crucible at around 2,100 degrees, is then poured into the hot shell mold. When the bronze has cooled, the ceramic shell will be broken off with a ham- mer and/or chipped out with air tools. The surface of the bronze will then be blasted clean with sand or glass beads. If the sculpture was cast in more than one piece, it is now welded together. Much time is spent chasing the bronze sculpture, meaning the artist defines/refines the forms of its surface. The result should be a perfect duplicate of the original sculpture. Next, the patina (color) is applied with various acids and heat giving each piece a unique coloration. Finally, the surface of the bronze is sealed with wax and mounted. I must add that numerous were taken on a tour of the back side of the island and loved see- ing the bison in the wild. Being inspired by what I saw, I came home and started my research and working on a new sculpture of a bison, "American Icon" which is now on sale in the Museum. Museum: What inspired you to sculpt Old Ben? Hart: I just loved the story behind Old Ben of Catalina, a friendly sea lion from the late 1800's who decided to make Avalon his home. His story is well documented in the museum so I felt inspired to try to capture his spirit and personality in bronze. The museum shared many images to help with my research and I'm very happy with the outcome. Throughout the month of December, the sculptures are available at 10 percent off. If you are a member of the muse- um, you will receive a 25 per- cent discount. The Museum offers art and history exhibitions, music and dance performances, lectures by guest speakers from all over the world, and the fines-t in Mlent, documentary and international film. Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 plm., except New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The museum's new ~Ida Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building is located in the heart of Avalon at 217 Metropole Ave. For more infor- mation, call 310-510-2414 or visit CatalinaMuseum.org. 6 ! Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 THE CATALINA ISLANDER