Organic Sculpture: The Observer (Public Sculpture)

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Project by NicoJose posted 03-26-2011 01:23 PM 7341 views 21 times favorited 52 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey guys, would you consider my sculpture as woodworking?

1 of 3 Public Sculpture in Washington Park (Portland, Oregon) Dimensions: 6.5’ x 6’ x 9.5’
Net weight: 800lbs; you can stand on the shoulders

In college, my thesis & senior project was an intensive research & application of environmental art. I was camping outdoors between September 2009 to March 2010 beside a 3000 sq ft compost pile at the boarder of my school. I was studying the characteristics of different twigs and shapes of branches in order to produce public sculptures in a sustainable manner.

I studied different books from the human anatomy to the muscular system, and from kinetic movement of the body to line gesture drawings. In the end, I learn how to make giant human figure as if I was drawing except I used found organic materials to draw the lines . It was about patience on looking for the right shapes, the proper joints and figuring out makes a single branch or vine interesting.

I did NOT use any glue, rope, metal fasteners or any electrical tools… I just wove thousands of bendable materials (muscle groups) over least or non bendable materials (the skeleton) while balancing everything as a solid a piece

I made a total of 4 giant sculptures in my school with 4’x 5’ x 6’ being the smallest and 13’ x 4.5’ x 4’ being the largest. My 5th sculpture, “The Observer”, was my donation to the City of Portland.

This 5th sculpture on took 65hrs to install by myself or 5 days onsite hundreds of people watching everyday.

Tools used:
• Machete
• Handsaw
• Tie Downs
• Ax
• Rubber Mallet

List of material (from compost dumpsite of NW & SW Portland + Washington Park):
• Japanese Maple
• Willow tree
• Apple prunings
• Douglas fir branches
• Pacific Madrone
• Blue Cypress
• Oregon Maple
• Bald Cypress
• Red Cedar
• Grape Vines
• Sequoia Branches
• Spruce Root
• Red Alder
• Paper Birch
• Japanese Bamboo

-- Nico Jose; Designer/Maker &Artist

52 comments so far

View Tom Goodman's profile

Tom Goodman

197 posts in 3221 days

#1 posted 03-26-2011 01:37 PM

This is fantastic. I look forward to seeing more of you work. and yes your sculpture would be considered woodworking.

-- - " If you want square work, You don't cut corners. " - -- Tom Goodman, Santa Maria, CA.

View Spoontaneous's profile


1324 posts in 2419 days

#2 posted 03-26-2011 01:51 PM

I like it! The posturing is really great. I remember seeing on the back cover of Fine Woodworking twenty years or so ago, this guy had covered mannequins in bark and had them ‘walking’ at the perimeter of the woods… it was very haunting. Yeah, that’s wood working.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View mafe's profile


10541 posts in 2179 days

#3 posted 03-26-2011 01:59 PM

It is AMAZING!!!!
I love it, and would love to see this in real life.
Thank you for sharing this with us.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Puupaja's profile


310 posts in 2190 days

#4 posted 03-26-2011 02:01 PM

Wow! That´s really working with wood!!


View Keelan's profile


34 posts in 1776 days

#5 posted 03-26-2011 02:09 PM

Holy twisted wood batman! thats crazy! This would be amazing to see in person, almost waiting for him to come to life.

View BobAtl's profile


49 posts in 1783 days

#6 posted 03-26-2011 02:21 PM

Great work and thanks for sharing. I’d say it definitely qualifies as woodwork. And it’s a seed for ideas for those of us who love gardening along with working with wood. Inspiration is what I come here for and you have provided well!

-- Bob, Atlanta

View Bertha's profile


12982 posts in 1783 days

#7 posted 03-26-2011 02:29 PM

Wonderful! I can’t wait to see more.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 1850 days

#8 posted 03-26-2011 02:40 PM

That’s pretty cool. I have to admit that it creeps me out a bit. All in all, I can appreciate the amount of time you devoted to it’s construction. Wood working doesn’t always mean using milled lumber which is then made in to some kind of furniture or what not. I doubt that sculptors always started with perfectly square piece of marble. They used what they had available. Like them, you saw the potential that existed in the materials that nature gave you. For that you are to be commended.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View woodzy's profile


416 posts in 1768 days

#9 posted 03-26-2011 03:27 PM

Wow. If this isn’t woodworking then i have no idea what is. This is fantastic. I would love to see this in person. Thanks for sharing.

-- Anthony

View BertFlores58's profile


1648 posts in 2012 days

#10 posted 03-26-2011 03:34 PM

Wow!! Galing mo naman.. I can see all wood in there and definitely it is woodworking… May I say it is woodwaving … a different way of woodworking like scrollsawing, woodcarving and many others… But your skill and devotion is really unique. This is an excellent achievement of yours. Thanks for posting.
God bless.

-- Bert

View Diggerjacks's profile


1930 posts in 2228 days

#11 posted 03-26-2011 03:37 PM

Hello Nico

Your work is really beautiful

I love it


THanks for sharing

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 1715 days

#12 posted 03-26-2011 03:46 PM

It is amazing.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View RickRogers7's profile


39 posts in 2127 days

#13 posted 03-26-2011 03:47 PM

Sure would this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen. Excellent use of organic materials

View CharlieM1958's profile


16143 posts in 3308 days

#14 posted 03-26-2011 03:48 PM

Fantastic. I absolutely love it!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8825 posts in 3189 days

#15 posted 03-26-2011 03:56 PM


-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

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