The Beat generation inspired an era that I wish I could have lived through. The 1960s. I wouldn’t necessarily want to experience the rebellious nature of youth nor for the protests and the anti-government movements. Nor would I care to experience the pop art scene with artist like Andy Warhol leading the way or Jackson Pollock and the abstract expressionists walking the streets. But to experience the incredible music and originality from the mid to late 60’s fresh out of the gate would have been amazing.
The Beat goes on…
In 2018, I was asked to design and create a monument to two beat writers; Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. The two were instrumental in shaping the 60’s with their unique writing style and subject matter. I indulged in the music of the 60’s (more then ever) and picked up Kerouac’s On The Road. And just like that I was living in the greatest decade.
A scaled down model, aka maquette, was sculpted at about 1/3 scale. The pose was interpreted from a photograph by Carolyn Cassady, Neals second wife. I was very conscious of creating the close bond between Neal (on the left) and Jack. They were close friends and the photograph depicts their friendship well and I had to pick up on these cues and re-interpret them in the clay. The comfort that these two straight men felt when hugging so close; the slight head tilt to one side, the embrace, their stance. It was all captured in the photograph and I had to pull as much as I could observe in order to create a living and breathing clay model.
Although the project is slow at getting off the ground, partially due to covid, there is still the same passion and drive to have this life size monument in bronze erected for the city of Denver, Colorado- Neal’s childhood home. The city is ready for it, the family of Neal are ready for it and a generation still moved by the beats are ready for it.
For more info about the project: https://denver.cbslocal.com/2020/01/26/neal-cassady-monument-denver/