Matt Large

Sculpture Studio

Possible Trail of Tears commission!

Just yesterday, I spoke to a committee member of the Princeton, KY Trail of Tears organization. They’re interested in commissioning a Bas Relief to be installed on a large boulder in their Trail of Tears park, located near Big Spring park. The theme of the piece will likely be a Cherokee Woman, in traditional, period-correct garb, leading a child on their sad journey. I would love to work on this considering the fact that I grew up in Princeton!

Great meeting today with Sculptor Lou Cella!

I had a great meeting with Sculptor Lou Cella of Chicago today about a couple possible future collaborations!

http://www.rotblattamrany.com/studio-artists/lou-cella

 

Bill Granstaff Artist of the Year!!

Huge thanks goes out to the Princeton Art Guild for naming me their 2015 Bill Granstaff Artist of the Year!! Also, thank you to my father, George W. Large II, for graciously accepting the award in my honor. I’m honored to be chosen!

 

KPMG Ignition commissions!

National corporation KPMG recently commissioned me to create 2 large scale, wall-mounted, welded pieces for their Grand Rapids, Michigan satellite IGNITION Site! These were so much fun! Working through their reps at Forcade, Inc., we brainstormed many, many designs before settling in on these particular designs.

MLIVE article and video

 

Great Write-Up about “Recoil”!!

“Recalling the power and visual energy of the Pop Art movement, is “Recoil” by Matt Large. Originally from Delaware, the artist now lives and works in Grand Rapids and has been successful with numerous commissions in the community. “Recoil,” a large scale work in welded steel is evidence of why that is so. The bold graphic quality of the work is reminiscent of comics and graphic novels, therefore the two-dimensional presence is very strong even from a distance. It reads as a massive drawing or pen and ink illustration. The technical achievement of the work is remarkable in that it has literally been made from hundreds of metal rods in varying sizes….. this is most certainly a technical tour de force.” Joe Becherer… (Joseph Becherer is Chief Curator and Vice President for Collections and Exhibitions at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture and Professor in the History of Art at Aquinas College.)

Unveiling of Leighton J. Parnham in Holland, Michigan

Yesterday evening I had the honor to unveil a bronze portrait of Leighton J. Parnham from East Grand Rapids who sadly passed away a year ago last Wednesday. Leighton was a victim of a hit and run on the streets of New York. His father, Lee Parnham commissioned me to create this figure of his son. The number of friends and family that attended this casual event was a testament to what a great guy Leighton was. It was truly a humbling occasion that reminded me of what a valued treasure my own children are. Lee Parnham’s insights, personal stories, observations and frequent visits to the studio were invaluable for me as an artist to get, not only a likeness, but the essence of Leighton in the portrait. Every aspect of this commission was unique, from Lee’s participation in the initial brainstorming, the corrections he made when he visited, all the way to adding ashes of his son to the foundry crucible shortly before the bronze pour.

Prequel to “Crime Wave” started!

After the success of “Crime Wave” in last years Artprize competition, I have a new crime-themed wire sculpture that I’m working on. During the show at the Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, I got a ton of questions about “Who done it?”. “Crime Wave” is the aftermath of a crime and I wanted to show an action shot of what led up to the murder. Here is an initial sketch of the composition.

The piece will be approximately 10 feet long by 3.5 feet high. It will be done in the same style as CW with sewn in mesh for tonal values and color splashes made from glass or acrylic. This one obviously tip the hat to a more comic book graphic style and should be pretty exciting.

Follow me on Facebook!!

http://www.facebook.com/MattLargeSculptureStudio

It was suggested that I create a Facebook fan page for Matt Large Sculpture Studio instead of combining business and family stuff on one page. Probably a good idea. I’ll really try to update it on a regular basis with day-to-day stuff that’s happening at my studio and upcoming events and shows. Also, I can post pics of my pieces in progress. My official webpage is a static resume and gallery site, so the Facebook fan page will be more quick and dirty…more fun. BTW, here’s a short, silly video that I made to whet your appetite.

A few things that inspire a master sculptor…

I’d love it if you clicked on the link and liked my page!Here’s a bare-bones launch for that FB fan page:http://www.facebook.com/MattLargeSculptureStudio

Today, I met Kathy Goralski.

She’s the talented writer who came up with the winning solution for “Crime Wave”, my who-done-it entry for ArtPrize. Her wonderfully devised solution was emailed to me along with scads of other theories, but hers was the clear winner. Her entry was concise, snappy and exuded that simple Film Noir type of movie plot.

I met her at Starbucks on the GVSU campus and she was thrilled with her prize, “Yorick 1940″. Here’s a shot of what she won.

Thank you so much, Kathy, for your participation in my experiment to get people to really look at art! I was just as thrilled at her great crime story as she was with her new art!

Unveiling At Cooley Law School, Ann Arbor, MI!

I had another really great unveiling yesterday in Ann Arbor, Michigan at Thomas M. Cooley Law School! This was the fourth figure of  Thomas Cooley for their fourth and last campus in Michigan. There’s a possibility that they’ll want another casting for their new campus in Tampa Bay, Florida, which I think would be great for uniformity’s sake.

Speeches were made by President and Dean Don LeDuc, Jim Robb, Professor Marjie Gell, and myself. All were great, but Marjie’s really stood out. She never gives the same speech twice and this time she told a story that I thought was very poignant. It was about the personal life of Thomas Cooley and his character. The short version of the story went like this. Thomas had a close friend with a son. That boy really wanted to be an artist. I’m assuming that the boy was 10 or 11 years old. Cooley’s friend asked him to come visit the boy and try to talk him out of being an artist. Well, Cooley showed up, but he had a present for the man’s son. It was an art book! Apparently, Thomas Cooley saw the value in other endeavors other than the law and encouraged this boy to explore his goals. I thought that was great.

Anyway, the sculpture was placed in front of a great building designed by Dow, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. As you can imagine, the building has a great feel, inside and out, and has a ton of horizontal lines. A perfect place to exhibit this piece.

Anyway, thanks to all the people at Thomas M. Cooley Law School that made this project possible.

Winner of “Crime Wave” Solution Announced!!

 

There were many, many entries to the “Crime Wave” Solution Contest, but after hours of reading, I’ve finally decided on a winner. Picking a clear winner was very difficult because of the wonderful imaginations of would-be-detectives (and totally weird, but equally entertaining solutions by some), but one stood out with the spirit and feel I was going for in my work. Really, none of the entries hit the nail right on the head, but the submission by Kathy Goralski was closest to what I imagined and very well thought out. Here’s what she wrote:

“After 8 years in NYC, Patsy’s dream of making it as a singer was as dead as the field corn in the middle of a Nebraska winter.  Escaping the abuse and poverty of her home on a farm in Arcadia led Patsy to New York where she struggled from one dead end job to another, starting as a taxi dancer in the late 30’s when she got to the Big Apple.  When the men went off to WWII and dime-a-dance girls lost their audience , she snagged a gig as a cigarette girl at the popular Brooklyn supper club, El Tangiers, where her striking beauty caught the eye of handsome Johnny “the Fixer” Martoni, Capo Bastone for Bugsy Siegel, one of the most ruthless killers in New York gang history.  Patsy had more looks than brains and immediately fell for Johnny’s smooth line, flashy suits and giant bankroll.  Johnny moved her to a posh row house in Brooklyn Heights, with a view of Manhattan from her 3rd floor windows.  The affair may have languished for years, but Patsy was insanely jealous with the resulting arguments between her and Johnny about his suspected infidelities becoming more intense as time passed.  One regrettable night, Patsy decided to follow Johnny when he left her apartment; she was certain he was meeting another woman.

Johnny moved quickly in the dark along the promenade, heading toward the Brooklyn Bridge.  Patsy followed unobserved.  About two blocks from the bridge, Johnny stepped into an alley, where he planned to meet one of his numbers guys, Vinnie the Mooch, who he suspected had been skimming money from Johnny’s accounts.  The confrontation between Vinnie and Johnny was quick, vicious and deadly and ended with Vinnie’s body being dumped silently into the river by Johnny.  Unfortunately for Patsy, she observed this encounter from behind a trash dumpster, and decided to run away.  In the dark, she tripped over a metal pipe, catching Johnny’s attention.  He caught her within a block and before Patsy could scream, shot her in the back.  Patsy died instantly but the noise of the gun attracted the attention of patrons from a nearby bar and one of the customers ran to the site where he saw Patsy lying in an oozing puddle of blood with Johnny standing over her holding a gun.  He tried to tackle Johnny but managed only to knock the gun from his hand before Johnny disappeared into the dark.

The cops and press showed up within minutes of Patsy’s death, but little evidence was found and nothing pointed them to Johnny.  The gun had been stolen, and although Patsy was known as Johnny’s mistress, the DA could never prove that Johnny was the shooter.  As happens many times over in such mob cases, Johnny was provided with a rock solid alibi by 14 people who claimed he was at a party all evening two boroughs away.  The would-be hero was held at the scene for questioning, but was released when it became obvious he could add nothing to the investigation.”

This submission was short and to the point. It painted a beautiful picture and was suspenseful. It also has a simple Film Noir story line. When I read Kathy’s submission, I envisioned Johnny as the suspicious man with his hand in his pocket. Yeah, he was the obvious choice, but as Occam’s Razor states, the simplest of two or more competing theories is preferable. The scene that I created is symbolic of the story, so the fact that Johnny is still present on the scene means little to me. Many aspects of the composition were symbolic in nature, such as the color red, the dove, the foreboding bridge, etc.  Speaking of the color red, I threw out a bunch of red herrings to folks I spoke to, so my sincerest apologies are in order. Really, the location wasn’t that important other than to establish a heartless city landscape. The fact that Arthur Fellig, aka “Weegee The Great”, was the real-life crime scene photographer meant little except to tip my hat to his bleak and wonderful crime scene photography that inspired this piece.

The real success here is that I was able to engage a group of intellectually curious viewers into really looking at a piece of art. Boiled down, I hope “Crime Wave” provoked thought and imagination. I love the idea that there can be so many solutions and that the viewer is the ultimate judge and detective. Special congratulations go to excellent writers, Lori Jordan who’s solution would be the beginning to a really great novel, Roberta Christenson and Patti Pruitt, who’s solutions were very cleverly written, and Detective Taylor for his well-thought-out hypothesis.

Thank you so much for joining in the fun,

Matt Large

 

 

 

Made the Top 50 out of over 1500 artists!!

Well, I didn’t take home the grand prize, but I did get into the Top 50 at ArtPrize. That’s not too shabby considering that there were over 1500 artists competing! I was in the #26-50 group and the people at ArtPrize don’t give out your exact number that you placed, so theoretically, I could have been #26. :) Here’s a screen shot of my Top 50 placement (note that Top 50 is highlighted):

At this event, I literally gave out 10,000 business post cards. Yes, ten thousand. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, who was nice enough to host “Crime Wave”, said that the official tally of visitors that walked through their doors for ArtPrize was 197,000 people, not counting all of the people that didn’t want to brave the line and stayed outside. All in all, they believe that over 250,000 people visited the museum and I feel like I spoke to all of them. :) Here’s a shot of me and the Coxes, Amber, Ryan and their beautiful daughter from Ohio. Amber Cox originally posted this pic on her blog Amberwire.com.

What a great experience I had. Special thanks go to the Deputy Director of the museum, Jim Kratsas, for allowing me to show there at such a great venue!

Artprize 2012!!!

This year, I’m really excited about ArtPrize here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In case you’ve not heard of this HUGE art competition, here’s a little text from the official ArtPrize webpage:

“ArtPrize is the world’s largest art competition.

$560,000 in total prizes. $360,000 awarded by public vote, $200,000 awarded by a select group of art experts. 

What makes ArtPrize unique?

  1. Open Call: Anyone over the age of 18 can be an artist; any space in the ArtPrize district can be a venue. 
  2. Independently Organized: Artists and Venues register and connect on artprize.org.  Once connected, they organize their individual show.  The ArtPrize organization does not select any of the art or the venues that make up the exhibition.
  3. Public Vote: The top award, $200,000 is decided by public vote.

The Public Vote

Anyone over the age of 16 can register to vote.  Votes are cast on artprize.org, via text message and mobile application.

• Round 1 (Sept. 19 – Sept. 29): 11 days to explore ArtPrize and vote for the entries you think should win.
• Round 2 (Sept. 30 – Oct. 4): 5 days to cast one vote for your favorite of the Top 10 entries.

The Juried Awards

Juried art competitions have long been an important component of the contemporary art world.  They have amplified the voice of leading art experts and catapulted the careers of the world’s most renowned artists.    

New for ArtPrize 2012, is a $100,000 Juried Grand Prize, on par with the world’s major juried art competitions. ArtPrize also awards five additional $20,000 Juried Awards in the following categories:  2-D, 3-D, Urban Space, Time/Performance and Venue.

The Result

ArtPrize 2012:  162 venues will host 1517 artist entries.
Combining $360,000 awarded by Public Vote and a total of $200,000 in Juried Awards brings a new tension to ArtPrize.  Will the juried awards stand apart from the public vote, or will the two cross paths to award a single artist an unprecedented $320,000?”

I’m entering my most ambitious piece to date, “Crime Wave”, into this competition. I’ve been working on CW for about a year now and I’m very eager to let the cat out of the bag.  I’ll be with my piece at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum from September 19 through October 4th, so please come down and see what I’ve been laboring so hard on. If you like it, please get registered and vote for me to win!  Here’s a sneak preview of the murder weapon.

 

 

 

Unveiling at Grand Rapids Campus!

This summer, I had the pleasure of installing a number of life-sized bronze portraits of Justice Thomas M. Cooley for the law school named after him. There will be editions of Cooley at the Grand Rapids, Auburn Hills, Ann Arbor and Lansing (and possibly Tampa Bay, Florida) campuses across Michigan. I attended three of the unveilings and spoke at all of them. At the Grand Rapids campus, there is a special piece of sculpture honoring the schools relationship with the homeless of Grand Rapids. A gallery of pics is located in my portfolio section.  Here are some shots:

Here is the Homeless Man that stands across the courtyard from Thomas M. Cooley whose his hand stretched out to offer a helping hand.

Auburn Hills, Michigan Unveiling at Cooley Law!

Thomas M. Cooley figure at Auburn Hills

Wow, I’m finally getting the hang of this public speaking! Was told that this was the best of the three speeches, so far. :) I don’t have what you would call a “booming voice”, so I’m constantly reminded of this by people yelling at me to TALK LOUDER! I try to look at it this way. I have the voice of a 14 year old, but the skills of a master. ;)

What a great commission this was and I’m so grateful for it. I’m looking forward to the next unveiling.

Unveiling at Lansing Campus!

Another fantastic unveiling today at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing campus! Here I am with the Honorable Thomas E. Brennan, the founder of the school and past Dean. What a great guy! They really broke the mold when they made this man. He gave such an inspiring speech, I’ll have to copy  it.

http://oldjudge.blogspot.com/2012/06/dedication-of-cooley-statue.html

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DEDICATION OF COOLEY STATUE

“This morning a statue of Judge Thomas M. Cooley was unveiled and dedicated on the Lansing campus of the Thomas Cooley Law School. I was asked to say a few words, and this is what I said:

Forty years ago, the Michigan department of corporations told me that I couldn’t use the name “State College of Law.”

My old law professor, Stanley Beattie, suggested the name Thomas M. Cooley. It made sense for a lot of reasons. Cooley was a lawyer, a Judge, a scholar, an author, a teacher, a philosopher.

What’s more important, he was a patriot who understood the genius of the federal republic known as the United States of America.

His is a legacy of thought. A legacy of principle. A legacy of truth.

Thomas Cooley taught us the simple, undeniable fact that the words of a written constitution mean what they say and say what they mean.

Cooley taught us that constitutional law does not evolve like the common law. He said that any judge who allows public opinion to influence his interpretation of the constitution is guilty of reckless disregard of official oath and public duty.

Cooley’s voice clearly condemns the notion, taught at so many law schools today, that the Supreme Court of the United States is somehow empowered to decide when the culture supercedes the constitution.

If the statue we dedicate here today could speak, it would certainly tell us that the people who ratified the fourteenth amendment in the middle of the nineteenth century never intended to legalize sodomy or abortion.

That’s not what they meant. That’s not what they said.

Cooley taught that ours is a government of laws and not of men; that authority is something different from raw power; that words have meaning and that meaning matters.

This law school was founded to teach practical scholarship in the law, to prepare men and women to serve as ministers of justice in their communities. We never aspired to imitate the Harvard Law School where International Law is a required course, but constitutional law is an elective.

We let other law schools prepare their graduates to be social engineers. We wanted our people to be lawyers. Real lawyers. Practical, ethical counselors and advocates. Men and women who would grace our profession and bring to other occupations and enterprises a thorough understanding of the American legal system.

That we dedicate this statue amidst the cacophony of a national election year is especially significant.

The strong face of this strong American should remind us that liberty and law are inseparable and that the campuses of this law school enshrine the fondest hopes of every new generation of students.

True leadership is not found in sound bites and political commercials. It is not confined to hash marks and tweets.

True leadership is the ability to inspire people. To teach, To encourage. To capture our imaginations and prompt us to look up, to reach up, to be better than we are.

Not all leaders are on television.

Some of them are dead. Like Thomas M. Cooley.

But they still can lead. Just as Judge Cooley does, and will continue to do here at the law school which bears his name.

Cooley spoke in long sentences and elegant phrases. Unfortunately, too many of us haven’t the patience to read and appreciate his words.

He gave a speech at the dedication of the lecture hall at the University of Michigan Law School on Thursday, October 1, 1863. It was in the midst of the Civil War.

He said something that day which ought to be pounded into the talking heads that cackle on Fox News and MSNBC.

“In the life of nations,” said the Judge, “conservatism and progress must be found to go hand in hand… for better or worse, the world is ever changing…if we would truly conserve what is good in the present, we must do so by relieving it of what is bad.”

Laws can become outdated. Changes have to be made, Cooley insisted. But he warned us that if skilled hands refuse to do the work, we can expect people who do not understand or appreciate our heritage of law and freedom to saddle our nation with wrong headed ideas and unworkable schemes.

In the words of Thomas Cooley, they will “cut and hew in their ignorance until the beautiful fabric which has required ages to build and perfect may be utterly defaced by vandal hands.”

Which prompts me to conclude with a public service announcement.

For several years, I have been organizing a convention on the Internet to propose amendments to the federal constitution. It is open to any registered voter in the United States. It’s free.

You don’t have to be a constitutional law expert. What we want is a critical mass of common sense to vet every proposal.

We now have over 300 delegates from 46 states. We need more. Lots more, if our work is to be taken seriously.

And there is much work to be done. If the uproar over the Health Care case doesn’t prove again how badly we need a non partisan system of judicial selection in the Supreme Court, I don’t know what it will take to arouse the American people.

If an approval rate of less than ten percent doesn’t prove that reform of the United States Congress should be high on our national agenda, I have to wonder how our citizens can ever expect to be fairly represented in the nation’s capital.

And if three generations of an imperial presidency and seven or eight undeclared wars all around the world are not enough to make us wonder whether our nation is really an exception to the bloody narrative of human history, I have to ask what will?

Convention USA needs lawyers, law students and law faculty. We need intelligent, spirited dialog and debate. Look us up at conventionusa.org.

Thomas McIntyre Cooley stands here with his hand extended. He’s reaching out to all of us. He wants to give us a hand. I say let’s take it.

Farmers Insurance Unveiling!

Yesterday, September 13th, 2011, Farmers Insurance unveiled a portrait bas relief in bronze of CEO F. Robert “Bob” Woudstra created by Matt Large. This commission was a surprise for the retiring Woudstra and the unveiling was held the same day that Farmers Insurance was dedicating it’s new Headquarters, located in Caledonia,  Michigan. The unveiling was attended by Woudstra’s family and all the head honchos from Farmers insurance. Matt Large and his beautiful wife Kim were fortunate enough to attend and witnessed Woudstra’s reaction to his surprise portrait. Mr. Woudstra’s and his children’s reaction was proof positive that this commission was a success.

A brand-new site

Matt Large in the studioThis is the launch of the brand-spanking-new Matt Large Sculpture Studio webpage!  It’s a totally new look, it’s flashy, full of pictures and information, and should provide a peek into what I’m doing in a day-to-day fashion. Poke around and see in-progress pictures, portfolio pics of past commissions, pictures of experimental projects and the occasional random thought Blog post.

FYI, the WordPress template is Fullscreen from Graph Paper Press, and Brad Blackman of Chrome47 customized it to Matt’s liking. They have a mutual friend in Jason Rehmus who provide very valuable information for Matt throughout the process.

Thank you so much for visiting. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through the contacts page.

Matt Large, sculptor