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Leo's Buddha

Gregory writes:   

Here's a Brief synopsis of Leo's project:     

The idea for the project was sparked in him ever since the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark".  There was a scene in the movie where they are hacking their way through the jungle and they come upon an ancient overgrown statue "Covered in Vines" (see Chadwicks song! [there's a link at the bottom of this page-dc), of a Buddha Head or perhaps some other deity, and the sense of wonder that created was striking - old culture, mysterious religious practices, belief systems expanding beyond that area, etc.  That really piqued his interest and over time it finally jelled in him to come up with the project to re-create that sense of wonder on his ten acre property in the heartland of Southwest Wisconsin.  He came up with a basic concept of how to build the understructure for the head but dismantled that first attempt when it didn't feel right.  Basically, he ended up building a wood frame work on which was applied various types and layers of construction foam board.  He then carved and shaped the foam to obtain the desired rough form, cut out about 1,500 circles which were glued to the head to create a style that he has seen in many sculptures of the Buddha and then sand sculpted the foam for a final look.  The next step involved applying a product called Thinset which is a concrete type of mortar, trawling it on and creating the final sculpting touches.  At this stage it was ready for the final touches of various layers of paints of varying colors to end up with a patina that mimicked aged antiquities we commonly see.  When all was done the 400 lb. finished work was driven through the town of Dodgeville, WI on the back of his flat bed truck and ceremoniously plotted down in the "jungle" behind his home - forever a reminder of the impermanence of civilization, beliefs, cultures and the ongoing quest for understanding our life on planet Earth.

Leos adds:

Oh Goyo.  How you do go on lad.  My inspiration and overall feeling about the project were much more pedestrian than you paint here (but thank you for picturing me with such grand perspective).   The place and the direction he faces was always a given.  There was never any question that he should be anywhere else in the yard.  The whole project took me a year and a half to complete but when I slid him down the hill on a plastic tarp and put him in place (which took less than 15 min.) that was it.  I've not moved him since.  There was tedium sometimes in the building process but it never felt like work.

From an FYI standpoint we're on 4 acres, the guy weighs about 200 or so and the outer shell is Insulcrete which is brush able and made for going over Styrofoam board (Thinset is for feathering  on slab concrete).  

Here is my explanation of the "knobs" and a short intro to the process but not sure my efforts are ready for prime time just yet.

I Googled 'Buddha Head' and got a myriad of possibilities for hair, facial expression, head shape, color etc.  I have been using my Buddha bust at home for my stepping off point and have had to bob and weave a bit to accommodate weight considerations, material availability and cost.  We have both gone through some changes together during this process. The hair has been the most interesting of all.  A majority of the likenesses
of B seem to depict a fairly nappy headed visage. Knobs if you will.  I was going to use 2 or 3 inch Styrofoam balls cut in half and applied to the main structure but $250 was the best I could come up with.  I ended up using a 2.25 inch hole saw and left over scrap Styrofoam.  In retrospect the scale may be a little small (3 inch probably would have fit a little better) but the material was perfectly suited for the application.  Now all that I need
to do is pick the proper color combination of greens, gray and brown, do some careful sponging and clandestinely slip him into the woods.