Site #1, 1489
Don Kennell and Lisa Adler, DKLA Design
Invincible Cat, 2020
steel, recycled car hoods, hardware, glass eyes
8’ x 12’ x 36’
Fabrication specialists: Zach Greer, Caleb Smith, Joel Sisson, York Moon, Zach Nicholas
Our project for Camden New View is a monumental panther made from recycled car hoods. The sculpture is to be 36 feet long, 8 feet tall and 12 feet wide. It has a steel armature that creates sturdy urban furniture.
“Invincible Cat” a symbolic protector of space. Panthers are rare creatures and hold a mythic place in popular imagination. They are strong and agile, revered and respected. These are qualities embodied in our design. The sculpture engages the imagination of our viewers. The genus Panthera is the only species of cat that roars. How did this creature get here? What does it want from me?
“Invincible Cat” is a magical being, made from cast off relics of our carbon addiction. These materials, once a part of the waste stream of our fast paced global economy take on new life and urgency, becoming a potent symbol of nature as well as the power of imagination and transformation. The artwork becomes a mascot, an opportunity for individuals to create their own narrative about their place and time in the world. We see it as a site for gatherings, playful encounters, and that Instagrammable moment that lives on in social media, widening the conversation about site, community and identity.
Our project addresses illegal dumping by taking materials commonly dumped (car parts) and transforming these materials into a symbol of community protection. Our sculptures occupy space in a way that invigorates the site, turning a place into a location that has purpose and significance for those who come by. It is a way of saying this place is important, this place is full of joy and imagination, this place is protected. Our sculptures acknowledge the value of site, materials, narrative, energy and people. We want to create a situation that brings people together, building community around shared values. Artwork embraced by a community invests the site with human experience and awareness.
As artists, we love the idea of transport. We want to transport the viewer, to spark imagination. We use scale to transport the viewer outside of their daily lives. The idea also relates to Material as we transport rigid metals into something dynamic and alive. When we use recycled materials we further demonstrate the process of transformation by changing something that has been discarded into something with a new life, something that is beautiful and unforgettable. The process of salvaging car hoods is very labor intensive. Visiting junk yards is something that brings us joy because we love history. Stripping the usable metal from the car hood structure is a process that requires some blood sweat and tears. Somehow these experiences make the history more real.
Our artistic practice explores themes of nature and community. We invite the viewer to connect with nature via art. Our designs invite play and participation providing wayfaring and photo moments. We make public art to help the world be a better place. We create sculptures that people fall in love with, that people develop a relationship with. We find that through a relationship with the art, people also find a relationship with each other. When people share their own pictures on social media with our artworks the audience become part of the same story even though they are all experiencing their own story.
Our company mission is to activate public space. We activate space by presenting the viewer with narrative possibilities. We invite the viewer to step into a narrative initiated by the artwork but open to many potential conversations. We use scale, pose and color to make engagement irresistible: that moment of wonder and awe. These participations increase opportunities for social engagement. We view each public artwork as a unique opportunity to link layers of history, ecology and art.