Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU public art dedication scheduled for Sept. 21

September 18, 2012

Indiana State University, in partnership with Arts Spaces Inc. - Wabash Valley Outdoor Sculpture Collection, will dedicate a new sculpture by Seattle artist Brandon Zebold during a brief ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 21 near Holmstedt Hall.

The sculpture, "ISU Sphere," can be found on the south side of the building, across from another public art piece, John Van Alstine's Via Solaris. Designed specifically for this site, "ISU Sphere" will become part of Indiana State's Permanent Art Collection.

"I generally approach making art in a serious and yet playful way," Zebold said. "My style is a bit quirky. With site-specific work such as the Indiana State piece, I am interested in tapping into the location's history and culture."

Once he received the commission, Zebold began researching Terre Haute and Indiana State.

"I jotted down notes and sketched images in my journal," he said. "Then I whittled the list of possibilities down to what you seen on the sphere."

Zebold, whose work is found predominately up and down the west coast, incorporated many iconic images into the sphere - including the Sycamore tree, the book and torch, stars from the state emblem and a river motif.

"You can see a couple of different things going on in each of the four quadrants," he said.

The 5-foot diameter work is made of Corten steel and resides on a natural granite base.

Zebold prefers to use Corten steel, also known as "weathering steel," because it's commonly used in industrial structures exposed to the weather and elements. As the steel ages and is exposed to weather it develops a natural patina and does not need to be painted.

"You can still see the seams, so it will need a couple of months of weathering to smooth things out," Zebold said. "It will get better with age."

Zebold said the sculpture took more than 800 hours to finish, which includes the time to make a model, which will be given to Indiana State.

Zebold uses models to re-adjust his image sketches to scale.

"I re-draw the images onto the steel, so my sketchbook sketches are very rough," he said.

When it's time to transfer images from the model to the steel, he uses a welder's soapstone pencil and a plasma cutter.

"I try to leave more solid areas to balance out the cuts," Zebold said.

Zebold finds designing and constructing localized, intricately cut sculptures rewarding.

"For all the labor and all the cuts that have to be made, I'm amazed at the finished product," he said, "It's nice to push myself to create challenging pieces."

His artistic career began in drawing, but slowly his work evolved from drawing on paper to drawing on steel, a medium he has worked with for nearly two decades.

"Of all the media I have explored, steel has offered an exciting range of shapes and surfaces to draw on," Zebold said. "Often I use reclaimed and recycled material from scrap yards."

Zebold hopes that people visit the sculpture many times, because they will notice new aspects of the sculpture's design at different times of the year and in different light.

"People can come back to it many times over the years and continue to see new things," He said. "I hope students visit the piece as a freshman and several times while they're at Indiana State."

"ISU Sphere" is the 13th public art sculpture in the Art Spaces collection. Four of the sculptures are located on the Indiana State campus.

Zebold works and lives in Seattle's Central District. His studio is located in a vintage 1920's bungalow where he creates massive steel sculptures. He has his own sculpture garden in his backyard.

He completed a bachelor's degree in visual communications and Bachelor of Fine Arts in drawing and sculpture at Western Washington University. In 1990, Zebold moved back to Seattle, set up a studio and started showing his work in a variety of galleries and outdoor venues. His work has been commissioned by such diverse groups as Bellevue Public Library, Hotel Parisi in La Jolla, Calif., the City of Redmond, Wash., Safeco, and the University of Washington.

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812-237-3783 or  


Story Highlights

Indiana State University, in partnership with Arts Spaces Inc. - Wabash Valley Outdoor Sculpture Collection, will dedicate "ISU Sphere" by Seattle artist Brandon Zebold during a brief ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 21 near Holmstedt Hall.

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