2. The Creation of the Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Monuments
“Most of the time, prior to creating a monumental sculpture, a small clay maquette is created to work out the composition and details. Once the maquette is approved, the point-up can begin. A “point-up” is where a sculptor or team of sculptors, take a small sculpture (maquette) and enlarge it to the desired monumental size. Having a team work on this, saves the artist a lot of time and effort in pushing so much clay. The monument being created is brought to about 80% of completion, leaving the remaining 20% and details for Scott to finish. This is where the magic happens.
Rarely does a monument end up looking exactly like its maquette. There are always subtle changes that happen going from small to large. As I worked on these two men for six months, I worked on what I call “rough drafts“. I like to bring a monument along in its progression as a whole, rather than finishing one part at a time. Just like working on a term paper in college, there’s the first draft, second draft, third draft, fourth draft, fifth draft. One of the secrets to what I do, is to stop working on a sculpture and let it rest (I stop looking at it). Some pieces rest for over 10 years. But generally, waiting 1-4 weeks is sufficient to come back with fresh eyes. This allows me to see the piece as if it were new, over and over and over. One of my mentors, Fritz White, told me, “A piece is never finished. You just come to a good stopping place.” With Babe and Lou, I rarely rested more than a week or two (and when I did that, it was mostly because I was traveling). They were so fun to work on, I couldn’t wait to get back to them.
It was sad to see them leave the studio. They had become friends.”