Sculpture class displays final projects on the grass

Maryann Kopp

Several Bakersfield College art students displayed their own inflatable sculptures on campus in front of the Fine Arts Building April 26.
Art professor Rebecca Edwards assigned this project, allowing her students to only use plastic and duct tape with the minimum height of each sculpture being as tall as their classroom ceiling.
While the preschoolers from the Sand Dollar Room and the Starfish Room of BC’s child care center watched, several of the art students worked to keep their sculptures inflated with bits of duct tape and ingenuity while others took pictures.
There were five sculptures altogether, each unique from the others, despite having been made from the same materials.
There was a giant replica of a rubber ducky, which stood at about 18 1/2 feet tall and was 15 feet from bill to tail. In lieu of traditional, fluffy feathers on top of the head, there were several black spikes, creating a duck mohawk. The eyes were large X’s, made from red duct tape.
While BC student Henry Garcia had come up with the actual idea, he had two other students, Lindsay Martin and Eddie Rodriguez, in his group to help actually create the ducky, which took about three weeks to construct.
Rodriguez blamed the untimely deflating of the ducky on the “poor structure.”
To the right of the giant duck was a 16-foot tall light bulb, a “60 million watt light bulb,” according to student and light bulb co-creator Charlie Werner.
Much like a real light bulb, the wattage was indicated at the top, circled by a small joke that read: How many sculptors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Alongside fellow students identified only as Rob, Stacey, and Emily, Werner said it took about 12 hours to construct the bulb, with he and Rob (the mind behind the initial concept of the bulb and the mathematics, according to Werner) putting in about six extra hours.
To the left of both the duck and the bulb stood three letters Tomika Strobehn, Rex Sercena, and Connie Stebbins all worked together to create LOL, which stands for “laughing out loud.” The trio was going to initially spell out LOVE, but, according to Sercena, “There was no love in the group, so we gave up on that and started laughing.”
With varying levels, the first L stood at 9 feet while the O stood at 7 feet and the last L was 6 feet. It took the group about 15 hours to complete.
At the very front of the displays stood a 12-foot long hotdog, the masterpiece from the collective efforts of students Tom Shimura, Chris Waldrum, and Natasha Stebbins, who came up with the idea of creating a huge hotdog. Altogether, it took them about nine hours to complete the 3-foot tall project, complete with red and yellow duct tape zigzagging the top.
“The hotdog has three chambers,” explains Waldrum, referring to the one chamber for the actual hotdog and the two others for the bun. “The chambers had to be interlinked with tubes. There was some intricate engineering on this hotdog.”
The last and largest sculpture was a 6-foot rabbit coming out of a 14-foot hat – making it a grand total of 20 feet high. Jeff Norton, Christian Vazquez, Jamie Phanachone, and Victoria de la Rosa all had a hand in making this happen, and were all needed to help keep the giant inflated.
Norton, who conceptualized the creation, explained that the hat itself had a tube where the air pump could connect to inflate it. The rabbit also had a tube that had to be threaded through the hat for the air to reach and inflate it.
Edwards was “dying to do this project” partly because while “this project has been around a while, it’s the first time it has been done at BC.”
“This project is fun and it attracts attention to the art department,” explained Edwards. “You start out with something small, and the students have to decide, as a group, what they’re going to create. Then they have to make these larger than life sculptures and have to make it work as a group.”
While the sculptures were only on display for a few hours, many were able to see what several BC students are capable of doing with very few resources.