Dave Jones - Seal

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Natimuk artist and animator Dave Jones loves to explore the ecosystem and ecology of areas and get people thinking about their local marine life. When he created the Seal sculpture for Warrnambool he wanted to connect the centre of the city with the sea.

The three metre high steel work which seems to emerge from the pavement of Liebig Street was designed on a computer as a flat pack of 3m steel panels that would later be folded and welded to make the shape almost like folded paper. Dave said there were many triangles in the design and it required a lot of thinking particularly when the flat panels arrived and were reassembled using his original roadmap on the computer.  He chose weathering steel for the Seal because of its chemical composition and the patina it would develop.  He said it was very much his intention to embrace the rusting process, not fight it and do something with it the developing mottled brown colour that has a nice parallel with the patchy brown of seal fur. “I really like that about public art and what it can inject into a place - to re-imagine the space and catch people by surprise,” he said.

Seal’s journey from the workshop to site was also a piece of ingenuity, as Dave drove the sculpture loaded on a big trailer and drove it cross country through country back roads. People took photos of the sculpture stuck at traffic lights and loaded it onto Faceboook, creating some buzz before it arrived and was eventually craned into position. “By all accounts, it seems to be something that people enjoy interacting with, there are always lots of photos of people playing with it; but  my favourite things is when people have made a hat or a scarf or dressed it up in some way that is really a sign of success,” he said.

Dave came from a film and animation background and initially worked with projections and in live theatre and puppetry, using visual storytelling to create something visual that put a message across. “I like to change mediums and when there is an element of the unknown something  I haven’t done before that brings out my best work:  it can be working with a new material, a different setting or a different group or people something new that makes you think outside your previous experience,” he said.

Top: Dave Jones' 'Seal' in transit
2nd +3rd from top: 'Seal' progress shots
Bottom: Seal in Liebig Street. Photo by Callan McDuff