Concrete and steel….hmmmmmm

Good Ol’ Artist Block

As an artist, I have been used to going into my studio sitting down and sketching out a new body of work and then building them the very next day. It’s such a great feeling to be able to experiment with different designs and then have them look like a museum quality piece of work. My sketch books are my diaries of creative expression and they hold the key to my past ideas that have worked out so successfully. These sketch books are now  filled up and now it’s time to get another, BUT….I have a big problem. I somehow acquired the good ol’artist block. I don’t know how or why I got it, but I got and it really sucks!!!!!! I feel like I have a case of “Creative Constipation.” I can’t stand this feeling.  As an artist, I feel like it’s a personal duty to develop new bodies of work, but it’s so hard when I find myself not being able to think outside the box. I don’t like to repeat the same designs……it’s not my nature. ..but, it’s often helpful to look back and break open the old sketch books and re-visit the sketches that gave me the inspiration in the first place. I sincerely love what I do as an artist and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to express my abilities.

How to create letters and/or designs using a foam knockout.

Foam is a wonderful material to be used as a way of displacing concrete. I use foam for just about everything I do with my sculpture work. It allows me the creative freedom to yield many organic and geometrical designs once placed into my molds.




Turn Services LLC. Sculpture Installation (David Fennelly and Carlos Sanchez)

Today, August 24th, I had the pleasure of installing a sculpture commission for the brand new Turn Services facility on Chartres Street in New Orleans. I collaborated with David Fennelly and Carlos Sanchez throughout the entire creative process. This was a large sculpture to under take and quite challenging, but it came out very nice. I learned so much through trial and error on several aspects of this sculpture. This piece measures at 72 inches tall, 36 inches wide, and 18 inches deep (3.5 inches…on main piece).

Concrete rock stars: Buddy Rhodes & Fu Tung Cheng

Buddy Rhodes and Fu Tung Cheng are truely the pioneers of the decorative concrete industry.

Acquiring Recycled Glass Scraps

As an artist, I’m always looking for recycled material to be used in my work. Material such as tempered glass sheets, mirror sheets, and plate glass sheets. I find it absolutely amazing that most of the custom glass companies in my town don’t recycle their own glass. All of these places do custom orders where a sheet of glass is cut to a certain measurement and what ever is left over is tossed into the trash and broken into a hundred pieces.  One day I went to my nearest glass company and introduced myself and told them that I was a sculpture artist who primarily used glass in my work.  After viewing my website and a portfolio, they were happy to contribute. I talked to two other glass companies and they too were willing to save some glass for me. It was amazing how much clear glass and mirror ( big pieces), I was able to acquire in just 1 month. It kept me busy for weeks with many projects underway. If I had to buy the same amount of glass I aquired for free (recycled), I’d would’ve spent well over $200. It’s so nice to know that I can re-use this material.

How to polish concrete.

                                                        From personal experience, polishing concrete is like waking up on a Christmas morning. You don’t know what kind of surface you’re going to get until you finish the entire polishing process. I use a variable speed water fed polisher. This kind of polisher uses a regular water hose and is fed through the diamond polishing pad and it spins in a clockwise direction. I wear a rain suit, boots, ear plugs, and eye protection when I do a polishing project……and since I am dealing with electricity and water, my polisher has a GFI ( Ground Fault Interrupter ), which is designed to protect me from electrical shock . I haven’t gotten shocked yet (knock on wood).

Any time I prepare to do a polishing project, I wait at least 1 week to let the concrete cure before I start grinding the surface. Once I feel that the surface is ready and hard troweled, I usually start out with a 50 Grit diamond pad. A 50 grit diamond pad is very aggressive and will take away a lot of surface area and will reveal quite a bit of aggregate detail.  Continuing with the remaining 100, 200 , 400, 800, 1200, 5000 Grits gradually yields a very smooth and lustrous surface.  The surface will resemble a terrazzo surface, but with my own custom selection of aggregates such as sand, marble dust, tempered glass, wine bottle pieces, and coal slag, I am able to achieve my own desire surface treatment. Polishing concrete is almost a cathartic and therapeutic experience, because I am taking a raw surface and tranforming it into a beautiful surface.

Stamping and Texturing Concrete Using Different Materials.

I do everything in my creative power to make sure that every time I do a sculpture in concrete, I try my best to create it to look nothing like concrete. Concrete is such a great material, not to mention its versatility and forgiving qualities. I’m so facinated with the fact I can take something that is in a liquid form and create any form possible (within reason of structural integrity) out of man-made stone. The mixing of concrete is one crucial step, but to personalize  the surface by stamping and texturing is a whole other dimension of creative freedom.  I look for anything that can yield a particular stamp or texture such as leaves, linoleum block cuts, bubble wrap, foam, and anything that will leave permanent impression into concrete. You might be asking yourself….HOW??…well, let us all agree that materials such as clay, latex, cualking, plastic wrap, silicone, clothing, and what ever you think could be sucessfully removed after the concrete has fully cured.  Clay is the primary material I use to capture the negative to positive relief. With clay I can achieve such great detail by scribing into it with virtually any object (clay tools). If the sculpture is mixed primarily with a concrete/sand ratio, the amount of detail that you can achieve is unlimited. At times, I’ve put my thumb print into the clay to act as my signature.

Decorative Aggregates in Concrete

Decorative Aggregates in ConcreteBased from past experience through trial and error, I have discovered  the versatility that decorative aggregates can give to a concrete form once ground and polished. Most of my work encompasses recycled and natural aggregates such as course sand, marble dust, black beauty coal slag, tempered glass, and crushed wine bottles. These aggregates are just as structurally compatible as your regular pea gravel and rock aggregates. It gives me a sense of excitement every time I de-mold a form and start polishing, because I never know what pattern of aggregates are going to come up to the surface once I’ve completed the finishing process. The concrete then appears to look nothing like concrete, rather it looks like some type of natural stone or granite.
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Juried into the 2012 ART MELT

     I’m thrilled to be accepted into this years Art Melt in Baton Rouge. My sculpture, Emerald Line, was juried into the show. This piece is a cast and polished concrete with glass inlay.

The Forum 35 Art Melt is the largest multi-media, juried art exhibit in the state of Louisiana. Now in its 9th year, the Art Melt strives to promote professional artists throughout the state of Louisiana while providing an opportunity for the public to experience the best of local fine art, music, performing arts, and culinary creation. This show is open to Louisiana resident artists only.


The 2012 Art Melt will take place in downtown Baton Rouge on Saturday, July 14th from 5-10pm. All artwork accepted to the competition will hang in the gallery and remain up and open to the public for 4 weeks following the event. The Art Melt Marketplace will take place outside the show gallery in downtown Baton Rouge.