Press Release from Reel FX Creative Studios
May 20, 2009, DALLAS, TX -- Reel FX Creative Studios and Brad Oldham Inc. today reveal significant details surrounding their series of sculptures entitled, "The Traveling Man." The sculptures will sit at three different sites near DART's Deep Ellum Rail Station and represent the latest additions to DART's public art program. Installation of the sculptures has started and is scheduled for completion the end of August, before the Green Line opens September 14.
Brandon Oldenburg of Reel FX Creative Studios and Brad Oldham of Brad Oldham Inc. were awarded the contract to create the sculptural series after their concepts were selected by DART in 2007. Since that time, the team has worked to complete the final design, engineering and construction phases of what has been dubbed "The Deep Ellum Gateway Art Project," a moniker chosen by DART to signify that the three sculptures will serve as a welcoming gateway to all the visitors who enter Deep Ellum.
"The concept behind 'The Traveling Man' is not a representation of a single element of Deep Ellum - rather, it uniquely encompasses many aspects of the community," notes Brandon Oldenburg, VP Creative for Reel FX. "It was important to us that our design not only celebrate Deep Ellum's heritage, but also represent what we hope for the future: a resurgence of traffic to our streets and businesses and a thriving artistic community for decades to come."
"The design, engineering and construction strategies involved in this sculpture series are as unique as 'The Traveling Man' concept," noted Brad Oldham, whose company is responsible for fabricating, constructing and installing the project. "The sculpture at Swiss and Good Latimer is 38-feet tall. When working in this scale, how the pieces are built is as important as keeping the design approachable to engage viewers. We enjoy the challenge of building unusual pieces. Collaborating with Brandon and the Reel FX team on the concept has been a great experience and now the community can watch as we bring 'The Traveling Man' to life in Deep Ellum."
The team has launched a website to keep the community informed of its installation progress as well as providing detailed information on the story of "The Traveling Man." The website is www.deepellumgateway.com and will be updated throughout construction with concept imagery, photography, video clips, fun facts and will ultimately capture candid thoughts of those involved. "The Traveling Man" also has his own Facebook page. Search "Traveling Man Dallas" on Facebook to become a fan and be the first to receive updates.
About "The Traveling Man" Sculptural Series:
Three sites have been selected for the sculptures. These locations are: the corner of Good Latimer and Swiss Avenue, the corner of Good Latimer and Gaston Avenue, and the corner of Good Latimer and Elm Street. The iconic "Traveling Man" is the focus of each location, although he is posed differently at each site. The poses not only tell "The Traveling Man's" story, but also represent aspects of the rich history of Deep Ellum.
"The Traveling Man -- Walking Tall"Corner of Good Latimer & Swiss Avenue
The largest site, on the corner of Good Latimer and Swiss Avenue, will be home to "The Traveling Man -- Walking Tall." Here, "The Traveling Man," in walking pose, stands tall at 38-feet high, creating a stunning welcome to neighborhood visitors and residents. He takes a jovial step from the southeast side of the lot at the corner of Good Latimer and Swiss Avenue. In this single step, he links the neighborhood with the rail station, soaring above the station.
The sculpture is comprised of a thick steel "skeleton" and the "skin" of the sculpture is brushed stainless steel connected with hundreds of visible stainless steel monobolt rivets. The stainless steel birds on the ground serve as functional seating as well as part of the sculpture. The birds are polished to a mirror finish: the same material as the famous "Cloud Gate" sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park. Xeriscaping effectively complements the tone and feel of the sculpture and incorporates a circular concrete pad surrounded by crushed rock.
"The Traveling Man -- Waiting on a Train"Corner of Good Latimer & Gaston Avenue
At the southwest corner of Good Latimer and Gaston Avenue, "The Traveling Man -- Waiting on a Train" leans against a concrete portion of the original Deep Ellum Tunnel, a nod to the tunnel that served as an entrance to Deep Ellum for so long. Here, the "Traveling Man" waits for the train as he strums his unique guitar. This location helps "frame" the Deep Ellum Rail Station and is located across from "The Traveling Man -- Walking Tall" sculpture, providing a gateway entrance to the neighborhood. In this pose, The Traveling Man shows that he's an artist. The birds surrounding him represent the spirit or art form that "The Traveling Man" shares with fellow travelers. The circular shape of the guitar body resembles the core of his own body, reminding viewers his music comes from his heart.
"Waiting on a Train" is a 9-foot tall sculpture sitting on a stained concrete pad. Its internal construction is steel, and the exterior of the sculpture is brushed stainless steel with hundreds of visible stainless steel monobolt rivets. He is leaning against a large section of the former Deep Ellum Tunnel, which will create a seating bench behind the sculpture, looking toward Deep Ellum. The birds are mirror-finish polished, cast stainless steel like the birds at both other sites. Lighting and landscaping mirror the other locations to create a cohesive feel throughout.
"The Traveling Man -- Awakening"Corner of Good Latimer & Elm Street
To tie the rail station into the neighborhood, the corner of Good Latimer and Elm Street is significant as this location not only brings "The Traveling Man" concept into the heart of the neighborhood, but also encourages visitors and residents to gather, recharge, and continue exploring Deep Ellum. "The Traveling Man's" eight-foot-wide head rises from the ground as if he is emerging from the earth below Deep Ellum. As people meet, talk, sing, wait, and spend time in Deep Ellum, they can lounge on his approachable head. In addition, the birds offer their bodies to guests for generous seating. The path encourages visitors to step off the sidewalk to enjoy a short respite and watch the activities of the busy intersection.
Like the other two sculptures, this sculpture is made of brushed stainless steel while the birds are cast stainless steel, polished to a mirror finish. The site is xeriscaped, matching the other two sites, with crushed rock and stained concrete.
The completion of the Green Line and the official unveiling of the sculptures will be celebrated with a unique line-up of events in September. Details pertaining to those events will be revealed at a later time by DART.