We are pleased to announce the unveiling of the Clock Tower Termesphere will take place on Sunday, July 30th at 2:00 PM in Downtown Spearfish South Dakota!
The Clock Tower Termesphere has gone from a mere thought to a completed 36” diameter Termesphere ready for installation in downtown Spearfish, South Dakota. It has been a long and exciting journey. In November of 2016 Cheryl Johnson, the public works administrator and I had a meeting where she said she had always wanted a Termesphere on top of the 12 foot clock tower. She asked me to put together a proposal and she would help me present it to the city of Spearfish SD.
This was such a wonderful opportunity for me. Directly after the meeting I went over to Main and Hudson Street to look at the tower. The tower is in a perfect spot in the center of town and almost looked like it was made to have a sphere on the top of it.
Since this would be an outdoor art piece, the electric motor I usually use to allow my work to rotate would not do. Cheryl suggested I talked to Jared Capp about possible ways to have the sphere turn.
We came up with the idea of letting people turn the sphere with a wheel from down on the bottom of the tower. It would be a wheel that turns many gears in turn, the people would make the sphere rotate. In February Jared Capp, “Cappie” and I went to the city council meeting and explained what this piece would be like. The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously to have a 36” Termesphere on top of the Clock Tower on Main Street
Since this Termesphere would be outdoors and subject to every kind of weather I needed a different type of paint then the paint I usually use. It had to be durable and I needed it to not fade. So I went to the professionals in our area.
Tim Peterson has been the go-to outdoors sign painter for many years in the Black Hills. He took me under his wing and showed me what paint and how to use it. It was wonderful to have an expert to lean on.
The paint was much more complicated than the acrylics I am use to. For one thing, it produced toxic fumes. So I had to wear a mask to protect my lungs, wearing glasses made this tricky. It was also very hard to answer the phone!
It took longer to dry. I had to mix a catalyst in. To allow it to spread smoothly I needed to add an extender solvent. My style of painting had to change.
I started the day working on the top and moving down to the bottom by the end of the day. This way I could keep myself from getting into fresh paint. The next morning all would be dry and I could start on the top again and work my way down.
I also knew that the finish on cars had improved greatly over the years. So Tim and Cheryl suggested I talk to Beau Hamilton and Pete Tollefsrud who are the owners of Black Hills Collision in Spearfish. They were also a great help. We decided they would sand and prime the 36” sphere like they did with automobiles. After the piece was finished, they would clear coat it three times like they do with cars.
The next challenge was what should be painted on the sphere? I wanted something that would hold the public’s attention for a long time providing many different kinds of things to look for.
I wanted it to feel at home with Lookout Mountain, Spearfish Mountain and Crow Peak around us but also I wanted it to push people a little. It needed to be visible from a distance but also have details and illusions to look for.
My system of six point perspective needed to be central. I created two smaller studies of some of these concepts. I decided stairways would show my perspective the best and picked an open style stairway for this
I asked people on Facebook to give me examples of what kinds of things the people did in Spearfish. I received lots of good suggestions. Many of these ideas were placed on the staircases.
The bottom of the sphere has many trees around Spearfish Creek. The trees are full of double images and optical illusions. Remember when you look at this sphere that conceptually you are inside the sphere looking out at the world around you. It helps to make it make sense.
I think this piece will hold people’s attention for a long time trying to find all the people and hidden images and watching the stairways flow around the sphere.
Sunday July 30th at 2:00 o’clock this new piece will be unveiled high atop its perch on the downtown Main Street Clock Tower. I hope you can come and be part of the festivities!