Bison Somewhere in Time

   by Alejandro Angeles for Somewhere in Time (2015)

My project started with a sketch and some anatomical drawings of a bison. From there, pieces of basswood were cut from larger pieces using a saw. Using wood sculpting tools, a belt sander and sandpaper, blocks of wood gave shape to the different pieces that would become the legs. The aluminum wire along with the wood dowels were cut to form the spine of the bison, and wood craft sticks were cut to different lengths to finish the spinal cord. Other sculpted pieces of wood served as a foundation to create the main engine part that would tie the spine, legs and other pieces together. The head was first sculpted with modeling clay and later recreated with a foam core with a layer of Premo clay to add finer details. The horns were also sculpted out of Premo clay. The hair of the bison was created by deconstructing the burlap pieces, cutting them to size, gluing them to the cloth bag in different sections, and then layering them onto the main body of the bison. Aluminum and plastic accents were cut, formed and glued to the legs and other parts of the body, and the panels on the legs were created by cutting and hole punching pieces from the cardboard mirror. The internal engine parts were made using sculpted wood and aluminum wire pieces, and the ribcage was made by drilling holes through the spine and by cutting and bending aluminum wire around the engine parts. Finally, the whole body was painted black and then treated with metallic paint accent colors to complete the look of the mechanical bison. The stand was made with the plywood disk, and it was painted and finished with resin for a high gloss look.

The inspiration for this project came to me during a visit to the local zoo, when I started wondering what would happen if all of the animals were lost due to reckless human activities. The reason so many animal populations are shrinking is because they are being hunted, their habitats are being taken over for profits, and there is little intervention and support to stop the decline in their populations. More and more animals are being added to the endangered species list, and soon they will only be found in captivity or they will be gone forever. My hope is that somewhere in the near future, people will see the importance of the animals and their habitats as they did in past generations, and that they will try to save them before they are gone. Hopefully we can all come together in the name of change so that the animals can thrive along with us, or we could end up with only the memories and pictures of the animals that we had the opportunity to save. I chose the American Bison as a subject because this animal once came so close to extinction, and after a huge effort to save the Bison, they are now thriving once again. Hopefully we will see a collective effort to do the same for all of the animals that are so close to becoming extinct.