As I begin to write about this project, you must understand you are seeing the tip of the iceberg. And though Hemingway asserted that all good writing should simply be the tip of what was a great dearth of material which he described as the rest of the iceberg, Hemingway does not live in the time of blogs. So you must understand I hope to write a good deal about how this project came to be and why it is so significant. In the days and weeks to come, I shall put forth more and more material, and thus, the hefty berg part of the iceberg – that is what I am calling the bottom big part of the iceberg, the part that’s under water – will come more and more to light. As of now and as you see this post, you will not have that. But soon enough you will. I expect as well this post not to be read by many for some time. Thus, when you read this, probably there will be that great dearth of supporting material, and you can read to your heart’s content, if you dare, about why the ape project is so significant. And yet…
If I left out all the supporting material, the “berg” part of the iceberg, you would still have the art. That’s what really matters. We all know that. Another way to say it: You would still have the archetype. And that is what is so significant anyway. My life won’t necessarily relate to you…oh, well, yes it may. But the archetype for sure will.
My life…the backdrop upon which this project stands, is significant in that it gives weight and breadth to the Ape Project. And, as so far as the project has yet to reach full manifestation, or manifestation of any sort, it is worthwhile to spend some time with the artist and understand the whys and hows regarding monumental copper ape sculptures.
But before we go any further, I will briefly describe the tip of the iceberg, which is the essence of this first post on the matter of copper apes. My proposal is to place several large, human-size copper ape sculptures, created by me, Beau Smith, sculptor extraordinaire, in major cities in the US, beginning with California, and in California, beginning in the misty and ever enchanting San Francisco. LA would be next. We can’t forget LA. For many reasons the apes must quickly get themselves to LA, one reason, but not the only reason, being that Hollywood plays a big factor. But let’s not get sidetracked with that. Let’s not get all goo-goo eyed with Hollywood. Not yet. That day will come. But not in this post. We yet have a mission…for Beau Smith apes to populate the globe.
There is every reason for this to happen in the new and exciting world this 21st century has brought us to. But again, this is but my first post, and I really must delineate the bare bones of this awesome (sorry for using that word, but here it felt necessary because the adjective here harkens to the older use of the word, signifying incredibly large in scope) project. Let’s get back to the bare bones aspect of this project. Can it really happen? That might be the first question. Does this guy have any idea what he’s doing? Is he pulling my leg? What’s going on here? All relevant questions. So let me take a moment…
For the past 25 years I have been sculpting large human-sized copper frogs, and sometimes making a fairly decent living at it. These frogs are in many public places. They are in many public collections. But even more they are bought by individuals for the home, or rather, for the outdoor landscape or perhaps the garden of one’s home. That is, my sculptures are in many public places, but my chief sales and what has kept me going all these years are residential. Does that mean apes should go in homes as well? The focus of this project is public and is meant to cause a stir. (I hope.) That will happen as more and more apes find their way into the cities. Yes, some may pop up rurally. But the cities is what we are after. Especially the major ones.
One might begin to have the suspicion and perhaps insight that I am doing this for myself, this Ape Project. That I am after fame and fortune. (A worthy aim, though. Would you not agree? Certainly you would if it were you who would become rich and famous from “the ape stunt”.) To that I would say this is a major benefit. Yes. I am very happy for that to occur. But it is not the reason to make this project happen. On a small level, yes, it is a reason. But there are bigger reasons for The Ape Project to happen. Are you familiar you Buckminster Fuller’s “honey money bumbling” concept? The bee is making honey, but in the process pollinates the flower. Many activities which are to further oneself can be significantly helpful for other reasons. On the way to creating fame and fortune for myself, I do something important for the world. That is the way I see it. Honey money bumbling at work.
I am the vehicle through which this project would happen. I am here and have arrived here in my own unique circumstances. I am myself unique and all the more unique because it is my job to be that way. I’m an artist. I am the man for this job. So I have the vision. But I am also the man to realize the vision. Or begin to, at least. God told Noah to build an ark and Moses to lead his people out of Egypt and into Israel. Am I now saying that God is speaking to me? But please… Vision has its aspect of being a divinely informed message. That is all I am harkening to. Don’t put me in Bellevue. Yet, anyway.
I do wish for you to understand that I am a visionary, and that my project is beautifully visionary. Not only that: The Ape Project celebrates the mystery and magic and evolutionary power that is transforming our world and propelling us into a reality where our dreams can be realized and our suffering can end. Humanity must evolve. And so we are. In other posts I will talk about the symbolism of apes and apes taking over and all that. For now I imagine you can see the obvious: Apes are a symbol of human evolution.
How to get from frogs to apes? This again I must save for another post. Suffice it to say that I have the ability, because I have made frog sculptures all these years, to produce monumental public figurative whimsical sculpture, and to do it affordably and yet produce great art. In other words, I’m the man to fill this world with copper apes. A hundred years from now people will associate these apes with the time in history when humanity made a great leap in evolution and brought forth what is now popularly and somewhat tongue in cheekily called “The New Age”. Maybe they will know Beau Smith. But definitely they will know all the tons of ape sculptures in the cities because my sculpture is permanent as anything can be permanent. My monumental sculptures will be around. And there will be a lot of them. Apes…from one end of the planet to the other. It will be a planet of Beau Smith Apes. That’s my vision. And the point here is it can be done. I have the technology…to quote the show “Million Dollar Man”, another piece of popular entertainment from my youth. Planet of the Apes being of course the main piece of popular entertainment, given the subject of this post.