Deco Gecko

12’x 8’x 8′
$10,000 commission; City of Asheville & Harry F. and Elaine Chaddick Foundation
Pritchard Park; Asheville, NC

Architectural details from the S&W Cafeteria:

In developing a sculpture design for Pritchard Park, my first concerns revolved around matching the design to the site.  I considered scale, color, and surrounding architecture.  I decided to incorporate Art Deco elements into my design in reference to the many interesting Art Deco buildings in Asheville.  In particular, the S & W Cafeteria building is a significant presence, adjacent to Pritchard Park.  I studied that building and others, noting common motifs.  I settled on a few elements—a spiral, a zigzag, circles, and a plant-like shape—to develop into three-dimensional forms.

The gecko came into the design whimsically and unintentionally as I was considering possible titles that would emphasize the Art Deco motifs.  The gecko added a playful, contrasting element to the abstract forms, so I proceeded with it.  While geckos are not native to Western North Carolina, the form can easily be seen as a lizard or salamander, referring to Asheville’s natural surroundings.

I chose brushed aluminum as a material for both aesthetic and practical reasons.  It contrasts well with the red of the brick walls and the green of the holly tree behind the site.  That contrast and the reflective quality will allow it to stand out in a visually busy environment.  Reflective metals are also common to many Art Deco designs for buildings and other objects.  Finally, aluminum is a highly weather-resistant, durable material.  If the surface is scratched or painted, it can easily be re-surfaced.

My aim was to design a sculpture that could be experienced and appreciated on several levels.  It includes simple abstract forms, historical references, and an animal form.  It’s height allows it to be seen by passing motorists.  It offers different views from each angle to pedestrians who walk around, or even through, it.  I hope that Asheville will enjoy “Deco Gecko”.