ABOUT THE PROJECT
For seven years I had the incredible opportunity to build, first furniture and then artwork for the late French artist, Niki de St Phalle. Many of Niki’s works are of large playful figures and she has done several outdoor sculpture gardens including the Tarot Garden in Italy and the Queen Califia’s Magic circle in Escondido. Niki had never used wood in her work but was very enthusiastic about using a new material. Some of the first pieces that I produced were wooden cores to be painted or covered with other materials, but latter Niki wanted to see the grain and figure of the wood. She also wanted to have the piece in bright colors, typical to her style. We used transparent dyes to achieve this. Most of the time the pieces that she wanted to do were not in the normal scope of what is done in wood. This includes both structure and finishing. I found myself constantly saying,” let me think about this and see if I can figure a way to build the piece or make the wood do that and still be strong”. The snake chairs took months to engineer the structure, joints and shape so the chair would be strong, reliable, but also comfortable and have the sculptured form and style that was Niki.
Niki de St. Phalle
Build Artwork for a Sculpture Garden