Tom Otterness
Sculptor
02:04

Tom Otterness on his Creative Process

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Tom Otterness works until 2 am in the “Venice of Brooklyn.”

Tom Otterness

Tom Otterness is an American sculptor whose permanent installation, "Life Underground," is located in the 14th St/8th Avenue subway station in New York City. His work, usually cartoonish and cheerful but with a dark side, can be found in parks and public squares throughout the world. Otterness works out of a 20,000 square-foot studio in Brooklyn, New York.
Transcript

Tom Otterness: Usually, it’s me in the studio after everybody’s gone home, 2:00 in the morning and it’s a matter of what entertains me, you know, that keep me interested. Am I happy working on it? That’s usually first. The first line, you know is does it, does it, does it keep me awake? Do I think about it? Am I happy with it? You know, that stuff. I was in Dumbo for 20 years. I’ve moved to Gowanus, the Venice of Brooklyn, you know. I’ve got… It’s a big place, you know, 20,000 sq. ft. Well, I’m cranked up about 20 people fulltime, so it’s, you know, a lot of people in the office, lot a people in production. And in the foundries, I saw about for foundries that have maybe 150 people working for them, so there’s a lot… It’s a very traditional kind of time. The work consumes a lot of time, you know. I’ll model and kind of an exception and that I’ll model the sculptures myself. I actually make the sculpture so the part I like. So, I’ll start with water-based clay. I’ll use my hands. I’ll make a small model. These days we’re scanning, you know, laser scans and using that for either enlargements or animations, and it’s very, the processes is so very traditional, [as] wax. You know we’ll make the models in the plasters and molds and send those to the foundries and they’ll take care of the bronze casting from there.


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