Artwork: Okuda San Miguel’s Air, Sea, and Land installation
On a sunny day in Boston, I spoke by phone with Joanne from Just Kids, a studio that helped curate, fabricate, and conceptualize the Okuda San Miguel Air, Sea, and Land installation located in the heart of the Seaport of Boston.
Seaport of Boston stands to be its own masterpiece with beautiful installations and murals through its large location in square foot. An area that has blossom into a piece of fine art drastically over the past 12 years as you are instantly in view of construction of new developments and hotels along the streets.
As you enter onto Seaport Boulevard, over the bridge, the starting point of Gallery Seaport + Fort Point, you see the highlights of Seaport Okuda San Miguel’s seven pop surrealist sculptures curated by Just Kids. The installations of Okuda are mythological creatures which explore creation and animals’ coexistence with humans. Without knowing, you would think a local artist placed them along the Boulevard to reflect the area and the Boston Waterfront. However, they have a whole story on its own on getting into Boston.
Everything from the sculptures ideas to the journey into Boston was discuss with Joanne along with her answer/question seen below.
Beginning Stages: the meaning of each of the seven installations are uniquely different from Mythology. Names and locations of the seven installations are:
- Natural Balance: Coexistence – 89 Seaport Boulevard
- Diversity: Domestic – 99 Seaport Boulevard
- Diversity: Wild – 121 Seaport Boulevard
- Creation: Light – 50 Seaport Boulevard
- Creation: Water – 58 Seaport Boulevard
- Mythology: Being – 72 Seaport Boulevard
- Mythology: Being – 74 Seaport Boulevard
Okuda San Miguel requested sleekness into his work. Seven 3D life-size installations were created. Prior to Air, Sea and Land installations, Justkids worked with Halfstudio in 2017 on their first project in Seaport called Boston is the New Boston located 29 Northern Ave, Boston, MA. Note: Boston is the New Boston can be seen near Creation: Water.
The most challenging part of this project was working with the city and state officials to bring all seven sculptures into Boston Seaport. They were brought by a boat, built in a warehouse, placed on trucks to assemble at their location in Seaport while closing the street to traffic for five days. More about the project can be view here: https://vimeo.com/305064725.
Do you have a process for how people should see all seven work of art in Seaport? The best way to view them are from the beginning of entering Seaport onto Seaport Boulevard, and follow along down the street to see the rest of the installations.
What do you want to people to take away from viewing your work in Seaport?Joanne mentioned “mainstream, weirdness in the most beautiful way”. She continued to state Boston is beautiful and has seen so much growth within Seaport. Joanne describe Seaport as “Life”. And is hopeful the installations will last a long time.
It’s a must see for a visitor or local. Only a few years ago this location has become known as a hot spot with a growing artistic flair. Enrich with unique businesses of small businesses and large corporations with high-end hotels, Okuda San Miguel Air, Sea and Land installation stands to be local must see. View all the works here: https://web-app.cuseum.com/?233#!/map.html
Answers written by Joanne
What subject matter does Justkids mainly focus on? Do you have specific interests in your own art making process?
Justkids(https://justkids.art) is a multidisciplinary art firm that represents and works with some of the world’s leading contemporary artists, and collaborates closely with cities, architects, developers and institutions to propel creative placemaking through public art projects. We specialize in curating, fabricating and producing comprehensive large-scale art installations, sculptures and murals.
How did you start curating the idea for Okuda San Miguel’s Air, Sea, and Land
Installation? Which community resources or funding opportunities enabled you to pursue the project?
We curated the idea for Okuda San Miguel’s Air, Sea and Land installation as a submission to property developer WS Development’s (https://www.wsdevelopment.com) public art initiative request for proposals (RFP) for the Seaport neighborhood. We envisioned a vibrant kaleidoscope of monumental sculptures, as a contrast to Seaport’s sleek and modern cityscape, and immediately thought of the work by renowned Spanish artist Okuda who’s distinctive style of colorful geometric patterns and beautiful sculptural pieces seemed like the perfect fit for this location.
Please describe your process! Which materials did you use and did you need to shift your materials? Did the concept influence your material choice?
When working on a permanent public art sculpture the material, shape, and fabrication chosen are crucial to guarantee the longevity and resistance of the piece. And a large city like Boston is a complex environment full of unpredictable elements and others predictable, like the weather that is actually very challenging due to the cold, the snow and the salt. The artworks being fabricated in Spain, we also had to keep in mind the shipping and prioritize a lightweight material, easy to transport and install, and all this keeping in mind the vision of the artist. Wisely, Okuda chose to work with a very durable fiberglass. Once the 3D design concept was approved by the Seaport team and by the city then the fabrication started with the molding, painting and final coating. The seven installations traveled during two months by sea, all the way from Europe, arriving directly to Boston.
What is the intention behind these installations and what impact do you hope they make?
The intention behind these one-of-a-kind art installations was to transform Boston’s Seaport public space and enhance the passerby’s experience with Okuda’s uplifting and colorful art. The mission was to make people become more aware of their surroundings by enriching their environment with a series of eight to twelve foot mythological creatures, placed at deliberate intervals on the Seaport Boulevard medians, creating a public art corridor that stretches from Sleeper Street to East Service Road.
Which challenges did you overcome during the process?
The installation process was very challenging because it required a comprehensive five day logistics plan that involved the installation of seven large-scale artworks around different locations using crane and heavy equipment and manipulating some precious artworks with high traffic volume on the Seaport Boulevard, and the temporary closing-off of its lanes.
What is the importance of public art to you?
Public art is important because it’s freely accessible to everyone. It’s a great tool for civic engagement, as it helps bring community members and visitors together. Public art also contributes to a community’s identity, so it’s important to study the history, geography and demographics of the location in order to design and propose a contextual public art piece that is sensible to the neighborhood’s needs and brings value to the people.
What has surprised you about the Seaport and Fort Point areas (e.g. the artwork, the neighborhood, the people)?
What most surprises me about the Seaport and Fort Point areas is their rapid growth and development. Whenever I come back, I always see something new. They have the energy and vitality of a young neighborhood, and it’s very exciting to follow. I like the old-meets-new clash of the industrial looking buildings and the newer architecture, and I also like that Fort Point is emerging as an arts and culinary hot spot.