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A Rare Bird: “Origins”, Sculpture celebrates Agriculture, Life Cycles, and the Environment

A Rare Bird: “Origins”, Sculpture celebrates Agriculture, Life Cycles, and the Environment

A Rare Bird: "Origins" Sculpture Celebrates Agriculture, Life Cycles and the Environment

Origins is a new public artwork 20 feet tall that depicts a concrete chicken perched atop an egg. It joins the Iron Horse, pack of painted bulldogs and the Iron Horse. The egg or the chicken? This is the answer to the age-old question. The large bird inspires wonder about nature and reminds viewers about the importance environmental stewardship. 

David Hale and Peter McCarron were the artists behind this towering sculpture. Love Hawk Studio’s Hale, an illustrator and tattoo artist, has created large-scale murals such as Hope at Epiphany or Birds of Heaven at St. Marys Hospital. His colorful line work is applied on the stained surfaces of Origins. Harrison, of Halifax Surface, is a specialist in concrete. He recently created the super-realistic log slide at Sandy Creek Nature Centers’ new playscape. McCarron holds a Master’s degree in ceramics and sculpture and has experience in residential construction, set painting, and carpentry for film or theater. 

McCarron says that it was easy to work together as an artist team. We each worked in the areas where we had the most experience and strength, and we had the help of the other members.

McCarron and Harrison both grew-up in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada. McCarron could even hear Harrison’s band practices from under his art studio at one time. They didn’t meet until they both moved to Athens. They are now close friends and perform together in the punk band Beat Up. They also founded the DIY outdoor venue Red Line Athens. 

Jessica Smith

Harrison and McCarron were working together on a project that consisted of concrete acorns, tree roots, and giant concrete acorns for the new children’s garden at State Botanical Garden of Georgia. McCarron met Hale through their children’s daycare. Together, they developed and submitted a proposal.

McCarron says that Origins began with a sketch by David Hales, based on our brainstorming sessions. David Harrison spent hours interacting with his computer to create digital plans and to calculate the materials required to make the sketch a reality after the drawing was approved.

After pouring concrete foundation, the sculptures framework were built using pressure-treated lumber. Metal and bolts were used to attach the concrete footing to the metal frame. The contour lines were created by a central tower consisting of four 4-by-6 post. 

After the woodworking was completed, the skeleton was wrapped with plastic and layered with expanded metal sheets. Finally, a special concrete mixture was applied to the surface. Hale worked to stain the egg’s surface with color. He painted a pastoral scene that included rolling hills and a concave circle around the egg. McCarron, on the other hand, worked on a functional metal weather vane depicting a sun-shining moon and sun. 

The sculpture can found outside the Athens Clarke County Extension Office at 275 Cleveland Road. The University of Georgia and ACC Unified Government co-founded the organization to promote lifelong learning in the fields of agriculture and horticulture. 

McCarron explains that Origins was inspired from the UGA Extension building and the building in which the sculpture was to be placed. The sculpture focuses on agriculture, ideas about sustainability, life cycles, and the place and how we fit into it.

Jessica Smith Detail by David Hale

Origins is within a few feet of Heros Path, a new public artwork that was installed at Fire Station #2 last June. Aaron Hussey, a Baton Rouge-based artist, created the 16-foot tall sculpture. It includes a pair of ladders and castings of a helmet and coat for firefighters. Smokey Linns Firefighters Prayer. 

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Both sculptures were funded through the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, (SPLOST) by the local government. This tax requires 1% from the budget for new construction to go towards public art. These projects are coordinated and managed by the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission.

ACAC news: This season’s recipients of Arts in Community Awards were announced as Farm to Neighborhood, Chess and Community. These awards, worth $2,000 each, are distributed to local arts activities, events, and projects. This cycle saw applicants submit proposals that interpreted the theme of Athens In Color. 

Rashe Malcolm’s organization Farm to Neighborhood works to increase access to nutritious and affordable food for Athenians on a limited income. A Classic City Art Crawl will be held to showcase the Black-owned businesses in Triangle Plaza, East Athens. Malcolm, who also owns Rashes Cuisine in Jamaica, plans to include art installations, photography and live painting as well as documentaries. Chess and Community, a local artist, will guide a youth project that will see participants design, 3D print and create their own chess pieces to make unique chess boards. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements at athensculturalaffairs.org. 

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