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Transcript of Jeff Koons
Your artwork, 'Puppy' is a stand out piece. Could you please describe the subject matter of the work?
Materials and Techniques
Now, could you discuss the materials and techniques you have used to create this work?
"Art was something I could do better. It gave me a sense of self."
ARTnews Exclusive Interview with:
stainless steel, soil, flowers, wire mesh
H:104cm, W:48.2cm, D:30.5cm stainless steel
Well first off, thank you for having me here today. Let’s start at my beginnings. I was born 55 years ago on the 21st of January 1955 in the city of York, Pennsylvania, America, whereas today I live in New York. My art career really kicked off once I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1976 after studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and also the School of Art Institute in Chicago.
My pieces of work take part in numerous public collections on display in New York, London, Tokyo and in many other places.
Many of my artworks have been renowned especially for my public sculptures like Puppy which I made in 1992 and Split-Rocker which I completed in 2000.
I have received many awards like the John Singleton Copley Award and the Governor’s Awards for the Arts Distinguished Arts Award
Initially my artwork was about being eye-catching and putting my name on the art map through using ordinary objects to make artworks, my art at that time was partially affected by the financial side, unlike today where I can freely do whatever I want within an artwork.
Welcome. Let’s start. You are an established artist in the art world with an interesting background. Can you explain a little bit about how you came to be; events in your life, education and your influences for making your art?
How did you feel about the project at first?
Why you chose the Project
Why did you choose the project?
Elements of Art
Great, thanks. We refer to the building blocks of art as the elements of art. These are line, shape, colour, tone, space, form, size and texture. Could you explain how you have used two of these elements in this artwork 'Puppy'?
Two elements that are evident in the artwork are colour and shape. The natural colours displayed by the randomly placed flowers provide a sense of nature in our artificial-colour filled world. Shaping was also a major part as shaping plants on this scale was difficult furthermore the dog had to be trimmed and maintained. Moreover once the dog had all the flowers it may have looked deformed.
Materials I used include:
• 60 tonnes of soil
• Steel frame
• 60 000 flowers including Marigolds, Begonias, Impatiens, Petunias, Crysanthemums and Lobelias
• Mesh wire
• Irrigation system
There aren’t really any major techniques used in the artwork, it was more construction. The computer generated steel frame, was placed underneath the soil, then irrigation, followed by mesh wire and the flowers.
It’s time to delve into that creative mind of yours! Could you explain the meaning behind this work and how you set out to create it?
Well the size, the flowers and the puppy shape meant it was easily interpreted, but it was all based on perspective. The puppy was meant to make people think about how much power we have, and what if the tables turned, and nature was the super power. The domination is through the size and the dog shape means something as small as our pet could become our oppressor.
Dwarfed and fearful is how the audience should have felt, in my eyes, whilst also amazed by the colour, shape and human/nature balance.
Daunted. The size was a problem not the complexity, my only other concern was the steel frame, and if it would collapse under the weight, the other parts were just time consuming, i.e. cutting, sculpting and maintaining.
I chose the project as I wanted to make an iconic artwork, that would make people think about their views on the world and nature, this same question extends to leaders and governments. Puppy was supposed to be a spiritual reflection piece. A piece that would be interpreted in numerous ways, and possibly change lives.
'Puppy', a 12.4m flower sculpture of a sitting West Highland Terrier I completed in 1992. The multi-coloured artwork, made of a computer design stainless-steel frame, covered in soil, mesh wire and 60 000 flowers including Petunias, Marigolds and Chrysanthemums equals a natural colour explosion.