Original sketch by Aryn Shelander in discussion with the artist Harriete Estel Berman
Gun from buy back program given to the artist for artwork about gun violence.
Check writing machine was the core of this sculpture.
Testing how to get the gun on the handle.
Working in the studio and adjusting the blood platform so it lays flat
Looking at the drip of blood closer
Blood on the check writing platform looks like it is oozing out of the machine
Bermaid label on the back says that it was made by Harriete Estel Berman
Shell Casings from bullets
Original sketch by Aryn Shelander in discussion with the artist Harriete Estel BermanThe drawing was an attempt to visualize the artwork. Original sketch by Aryn Shelander was made during a discussion with the artist Harriete Estel Berman. This is when it was decided to make a platform of blood for the checking writing machine. I think it adds a lot to the visual impact and immediate message behind this sculpture.
Gun from buy back program given to the artist for artwork about gun violence.This is the original disabled gun from a Pittsburgh gun buy back program. It was randomly selected by Boris Bally and sent to me for making an artwork about gun violence.
Check writing machine was the core of this sculpture.The check writing machine was discovered at a estate sale. As soon as I saw it, I had the answer to what I was going to make with the gun. The chrome edge on the machine, along with the chrome platform and immediate association of guns with money were a perfect analogy.Note that the vertical panels had blank spaces that were perfect for adding statistics about the cost of gun violence.
Testing how to get the gun on the handle.There was endless debate with my in-house critics (my family) about how to attach the gun to the handle. While there were several possibilities I went with my original vision (shown in the sketch.) Turns out it was incredibly easy to attach the gun instead of the handle. In this photo, I am testing how to get the gun on the handle.
Working in the studio and adjusting the blood platform so it lays flatThis photo shows working in the studio adjusting the blood platform so it lays flat. Making the blood platform out of a sheet of red tin (steel) took quite a bit of time and skill to roll the edge so it had depth without damaging the paint on the tin can. (I never paint the tins.) Working on one piece always adds something to the next. If you check out the 10 Modern Plagues I had just learned to roll the edge of the Hebrew lettering. This new skill was perfect for this blood.
Looking at the drip of blood closerThe chrome details and platform on the check writing machine matched the chrome plated gun perfectly. Adding the blood (red paint) added a graphic impact.
Blood on the check writing platform looks like it is oozing out of the machine Blood on the check writing platform looks like it is oozing out of the machine . The little metallic arrow was original to the machine as a way to align the check for printing. The "blood" you see here is paint.
Bermaid label on the back says that it was made by Harriete Estel BermanBermaid label on the back says that it was made by Harriete Estel Berman. Bermaid is a pun on my name Berman - not a good name for an avowed feminist. Since my name ends in "man" I changed it to "maid" referring to the fact that the work is made by a woman, and made by hand.
Shell Casings from bullets I needed shell casings as a final touch for the artwork, yet finding shell cases was a really scary problem. I didn't know where to go, and was very uncomfortable going to a shooting range. Purchasing bullets was out of the question as I wanted spent bullet casings to represent the deaths caused by gun violence. The shooting range for the local and county police would not let me take shell casings off the property. Finally, I found a shooting range and they were very generous.The shell casings were very dirty with gun powder. I counted out exactly 83 and cleaned them all for the finished artwork. For some reason I saved the other shell casings.
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