Through January 14
Creative Pinellas Gallery
The Creative Pinellas Arts Annual’s celebration of Pinellas county arts has been extended through January 14.
This free exhibition showcases Pinellas visual artists working in a wide range of styles and material. St. Pete-based sculptor Don Gialanella creates large-scale works around the country. He shares how he created his witty and eye-catching work, Climate Change Evolution.
Story and Photos by Don Gialanella
The idea for Climate Change Evolution first came to me during an unseasonably hot week last winter. In addition to the overwhelming scientific evidence warning of climate change, it seemed Florida weather was perceptively getting hotter and I wanted to make a statement about it.
The sculpture I designed depicts an extreme evolutionary adaptation to the effects of global warming in the form of synthetic biology personified.
The anthropomorphic running figure portrays a hybridized human with a camel’s head – a creature superbly adapted to the desert. He holds an umbrella aloft to shield himself from the beating sun.
While creating the sculpture I let him evolve organically without too much advance planning – in opposition to all the precisely engineered work I’ve been doing for the past several years.
I felt enthusiastic when I began building the left leg of this passion project. I projected him to be about 10-12 feet tall and that foot was a critical weight-bearing element that was to be the lone support for the whole sculpture.
I made sure to add thick gussets to the foot and leg to make it totally secure. Spencer Vomacka, my assistant, TIG welded all the pieces solidly together.
The figure grew from the leg up, and this progression saw his body and head completed in just 20 days.
The umbrella took almost as long to fabricate as did the figure. The triangular sections and ribbing took some time to cut and form. After several weeks working on the umbrella, he was almost done except for a large base that would firmly support him.
I decided the base shouldn’t be just a round or square plate, but should be as visually interesting an element as the rest of the sculpture.
After more than a week of work on the “abstract buttress” base made of .5” thick stainless plate, the sculpture was nearing completion. The base had to be welded on the top and bottom sides, necessitating tipping the sculpture horizontally to access both. As usual, it was way more work to create the base than I had originally anticipated.
Manipulating the sculpture and the very large and heavy base was a challenge. I built a wooden rolling support skid to hold the piece for welding and to facilitate transport as it was too tall and unwieldy to be moved around on public roads vertically at 11+ feet.
It was a thrill to see the piece premiered at the 2023 Arts Annual Exhibition in the spacious main gallery at Creative Pinellas and hear people’s reactions to it during the opening reception.
And here’s a glimpse at other works on view
by Pinellas County visual artists.
Creative Pinellas Arts Annual
Through January 14
at the Gallery at Creative Pinellas
Wednesdays-Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm
12211 Walsingham Rd,
Largo FL 33778