By Matt Herrington – Collegiate Staff
Every year, ArtPrize provides an opportunity for artists to share and express their ideas, and inspire others to do the same.
ArtPrize artist, Travis Emmen, 44, of Plymouth, Idaho created a piece for those very reasons. “My Favorite Thing” is Emmen’s first entry into the competition, and depicts a lifelike boxer dog staring intently at a nearby ball. Constructed entirely out of steel wire, the large-scale sculpture provides a look into the personality of dogs in action.
Emmen loves the personality of boxer dogs. The name of the entry comes from how
Emmen recognizes these dogs getting overly excited about even the smallest things. He hears them in their head saying, “My Favorite Thing,” every time they play with a ball or are having fun with something or someone. The happiness and expressiveness these dogs show was something Emmen found amusing, and he wanted to capture those feelings within this sculpture.
Since high school, Emmen has loved making art. Taking every opportunity to expand his creative abilities, he has become well-versed in forms of art such as drawing, ceramics, pottery and most recently, blacksmithing. Currently working as a blacksmith, Emmen has carried over the talents gained from his profession in manipulating metal into creating “My Favorite Thing”.
Given the detail required to make steel wire look like the natural shape of a boxer dog, there were many times over the course of the piece’s creation where Emmon struggled with knowing what move to make next.
“The biggest thing to overcome was the thought that I could do it. There were a few times where I would spend a day building, only to realize that I didn’t like it, had to cut it off, and start over again the next day,” Emmen said.
However, Emmen’s passion for art is only matched by his patience while creating it. Through attention to detail, the construction of “My Favorite Thing” took just roughly a year to create.
“It took just under 400 hours of patience to put it together.”
He is inspired to create art simply because he enjoys the expression of the medium, and witnessing the reactions of those who see what he’s made.The experience of being able to share his work with others and receiving their reactions is fun for him.
“I get pleasure building it,” Emmen said. “And I enjoy everybody’s reaction even more. Whether they like it or not, I enjoy their reaction.”
Emmen also commented on how he believes the sharing of art has the ability to inspire others to go on and express themselves in a similar fashion.
“This is my first wire sculpture, and somebody else could see it and say, ‘Well I’ve never done that before, I want to try it.’,” Emmen said.
Art has the ability to inspire others, make them laugh, and make them think. With a piece such as “My Favorite Thing”, Emmen wanted to share a peek into the emotion of boxer dogs, as well as show others the power of hard work and creativity.