|The Big Little Man [Dean Bowen, 1999]|
This bronze sculpture, The Big Little Man, stands in Petrie Plaza in Civic. He's like a child's drawing, expanded into three dimensions and about two metres tall.
Dean Bowen is a Melbourne artist, who paints, draws and prints as well as sculpting. He has a number of these whimsical sculptures in various places, including The Farmer in Shepparton, Victoria, and Aeroplane Boy in Melbourne.
This is what the artist had to say about The Big Little Man:
This sculpture (“The Big Little Man”) was based on a small bronze maquette, which weighed about 7 kilos. This sculpture weighs approximately 400 kilograms. Originally made in clay and then cast in bronze using the lost wax method of casting.
I think of his face as a giant section of the earth and the planet, the undulations where it goes up and down like the earth; the holes in the sculpture are like caves or hills, mountains and valleys; the large hat is apart from being a hat is also like a landscape with two huge hills like Mt St.Victoire in France ...
This sculpture included originally making an armature of the piece – so with a large pole was put up through the center of the sculpture or where the sculpture would become, and other metal was welded around in an armature way, that was covered with chicken wire and inside the chicken wire was stuffed newspaper. Onto that armature clay was pushed into the chicken wire and gradually I made the sculpture by putting lots of clay onto the armature and gradually created the sculpture just with my hands.
When the sculpture was completed, a mould was taken and from the mould a wax was taken and using the lost wax method of casting liquid bronze was poured into the blank space. It was cast in two pieces, the head separately from the body and later on the two pieces welded together with rods that go through the head and the torso.
Then the sculpture was chased, where all the little rough bits of bronze were ground away, chiseled off, sanded, just generally cleaned-up which is a massive job. And finally the patina was put on to the sculpture where the sculpture is heated with a blow torch and with different chemical compounds painted directly onto the bronze. With the patina finished the sculpture is finally waxed, and the wax painted over the bronze protects the bronze so it can be outdoors for several years.