When the last election threw sculptor Jeff Glode Wise for a loop, he decided to do something about it.
What he came up with was to pack two bronze sculptures – Moonhead Man and Movumundo – onto a Rocket Ship trailer hitched to a 1948 Buick Roadmaster and follow the same route he and his brother had ridden on bikes in 1968.
The self-described “traveling art carnival” will be Wise’s way to get people talking – to him and each other.
“The inspiration for it kind of happened after the election. I was like, ‘Man, what just happened here?’” he said. “I really felt like I wanted to talk to other people ... and find out what they’re thinking about and how this all kind of happened and what other people’s worlds look like.”
Along the way, Wise is planning to find a suitable community in which to leave Moonhead Man and Movumundo.
“I don’t know where the statues are going to end up,’ he said. “I don’t have any preconceived notions about that. Somewhere along the route is where I will place each of the sculptures. It just depends primarily on which communities really embrace what I’m doing. My intent is to place the sculptures on the return trip so that I have the sculptures the whole way.”
Wise said that in his perfect vision, someone would ultimately buy the trailer and donate it to a school system so it could be used as a sort of traveling art exhibit for kids.
A Kickstarter campaign to help finance the trip, which all told will cost about $50,000, will start Tuesday. Wise said he likes using that platform as a way to raise money because there’s give and take between people. In this case, supporters will be able to buy small pieces of art, T-shirts and more to help with the project.
“I think Kickstarter is really amazing that way; that it’s a way for artists and filmmakers and other different sorts of people to raise large sums of money, but doing it through large amounts of smaller transactions. I call them transactions because it’s certainly not donations,” he said. “We’re certainly hoping to get some donations, which would be great, but the thing with Kickstarter, too, is you have to create a product or services that you can sell to raise money.”
The trip is expected to last about a month, with layovers of two to three days in particular communities, and Wise said he will be blogging throughout the journey. “The blog will be a very active part of it. We’ll be posting daily – daily videos and things.”
One of the major parts of the project will be a people’s choice sculpture competition. Wise said he will give out sculpting clay along the route and teach people how to make very simple sculpting tools to get them started.
“I might come into a café in town and start talking to people … so it’s not just kids I’m hoping to get,” he said. “All kinds of folks – old folks, young folks, anybody, and encourage them to make a sculpture and then they’ll take a picture of it. We’ll have people vote online for their favorite sculptures, and then we’ll have those cast in bronze.”
Wise will also be giving presentations in schools along the way, and hopes to engage kids in a project where they build their own visionary cities, and ultimately, get to network with children from other schools.
And it’s all in the spirit of getting people to come together to talk.
“Particularly with the internet, it’s so easy now to really create these artificial bubbles that we live in, so we’re never having actual discourse with people who have different viewpoints,” he said “I just really think it’s important that we start reversing that trend and actually have conversations and things with each other.”