Fita de Rojas overall image
I chose this image for several reasons.
One this image has become the icon of Grand Rapids, MI.
the city where the cancer victim chose as the place to raise a family.
Two the Calder has become a symbol for œpositive attitude?,
anything is possible?
that includes defying the odds against cancer.
Lastly its simple shape allows for the image
to transcend through all the portraits. Here a bit of history and the
parallel between the sculptures I chose and the art work I created.
While the sculpture tends to evoke a range of reactions and comments from onlookers - from "distinctive,'' to "monstrosity,'' to "way out'' - it served its intended purpose. It not only helped revitalize the area, but it also sparked the city's interest in art and led to a new art museum, symphony hall and a civic theater soon after.
Fita de Rojas has also evoked a range of reactions from beautiful to inspiring even to amazing. I had one person give me one of the best compliments an artist could ever receive
"you have showed me the
reason why I volunteer".
It's also been said by those involved with the project that it gave the community a positive attitude that "anything is possible.'' According to City Historian Gordon Olson, "It led to a change in attitude so that the assumption now is that every good community project should include a piece of public art.''
I created Fita de Rojas to bring awareness to cancer and I knew
it would touch people, but never thought I would see people brake down and cry uncontrollably.
I have seen young, old, men, women, black, white, rich; poor lose their composure and sob in public. As an artist I have created art that truly changes people for the better.
Before Calder began work on the sculpture, he studied the architectural plans, scale, and materials of the buildings adjacent to the site. He designed a sculpture that responded well to the plaza and the surrounding architecture. The sculpture was also designed to provide a dramatically different view from each corner of the square.
Before starting Fita de Rojas I studied and researched how cancer affects one person and how one person affects the world. The work shows how one can touch the world and how the world touches one.
The nearly complete sculpture arrived in May of 1969 - 42 tons of art in a series of enormous crates. The 27 separate sections of the sculpture still needed to be bolted and welded together, and cranes lifted the towering pieces into place. The entire assembly process took five days, after which the vivid Calder Red paint was applied, proclaiming the project complete.
Fita de Rojas was painted and created in three different cities before going to Grand Rapids where it was unveiled for its public day view, before moving on to other cities.
La Grande Vitesse is an expansive, eye-catching steel sculpture, painted in the artist's signature Calder Red that measures 54 feet long, by 43 feet high, by 30 feet wide.
The name de Rojas translates into of reds.
It was created by Alexander Calder in 1969, and is often simply referred to by locals as "The Calder.'' Its formal name translates roughly into "the great swiftness," a reference to the river flowing through the city's heart.
The work of art Fita de Rojas flows like great swiftness through the hearts of the viewers.
Located on the Calder Plaza in front of the Grand Rapids City Hall, the sculpture serves as a distinctive landmark and symbol of the city. Its likeness can be found on most things related to the city, from its letterhead, to its street signs, to its city vehicles.
Technically speaking, the sculpture is known in the art world as a "stabile'' - a stationary sculpture that uses multiple flat planes to give the appearance of volume and movement.
Like "The Calder" the art work Fita de Rojas uses multiple flat planes to give an appearance of volume that has created a movement for cancer awareness.