Brian Feldman informed me about this sculpture titled "Puzzle" which is located in the Orlando Cultural Park on Princeton Street right across from the Science Center at the corner of Alden Road. I had no idea this even was a park. It looks like a vacant lot. It used to be covered with greenhouses. The installation was put in place by artist Chris Scala on August 18th and will be up until September 18th. If you drive past this location daily you will be surprised to find these bright yellow lightweight pieces change position every day. I e-mailed Chris and he told me to stop by that evening at 6pm when he would be moving the pieces again. As the sun sets, it paints the whole field a bright warm yellow and the long shadows grow more dramatic.
I arrived a bit early and walked around for a while before finding a shady spot which offered a good view of the sculpture. As I sketched, I noticed a MINI Cooper drive up and park on the road behind the sculpture. I added the car to the sketch noticing two men as they removed tools out of the back trunk. They approached the largest puzzle piece and knelt down using a power tool to remove stakes which held the light sculpture in place much like a tent. After they finished moving this piece, Chris walked up to me and introduced himself. He pointed out that over the course of the month, the pieces of this "puzzle" will move closer together and join, becoming first three then one large unit.
Chris went on to explain that a group of skate rats have been vandalizing the sculpture ever since it was installed. They would spray paint obscene messages and punch holes in the sculptures until he felt he had to remove the damaged pieces. When I asked him about the graffiti which claimed that the artwork was our tax dollars at work, he explained that there have been huge budget cuts in the city's Public Art department. It took him eight months of hard work to get this installation approved. Paul Wenzel, the Public Art Coordinator for the city of 0rlando was instrumental in guiding him through all the never ending paper work. While the city is sponsoring the project, allowing him to use the park, he is not being paid anything for all the ongoing work he is putting into the piece. Chris goes on to explain that this sculpture is just a study for a larger permanent piece he wants to make with wire forms. He likes how the wire forms allow a viewer to look past the surface of the sculpture seeing the inside form as well as the overall structure.
As we were talking two kids on bikes shouted out, "Why are they moving that way again?!" Chris pointed out that they were probably two of the kids vandalizing the project. They circled all the way around the block watching the artist's progress. Suddenly I felt I was in a war zone. Chris and Lance Parker, who is helping him with the project, moved the pieces further west closer to the street lights. Chis thinks by moving the pieces into the light it might slow the destruction and vandalism the artwork is being subjected to. On one sculptural piece a capital A in a circle is crudely sprayed. Lance explained that this is a symbol for anarchists. Even anarchists have to conform to a certain code. I get the feeling that as soon as I leave this site, and the sun is set, the spray cans will come back out and the mindless destruction will continue. I wonder why there isn't more public art in Orlando?