The Three Feathers
A commercial developer group invited me to propose a a way to utilize an unused utility pole on a property at 410 SW A St. in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas. The initial request was for a sign to identify the place.
Signs come in many forms. One example is a publicly visible object that uses language and type to advertise a place. Another is an object that conveys meaning symbolically - where the form itself says it all.
The Three Feathers represents the latter. The idea for the sculpture was a response to the pole's physical presence. The tall thin shaft of wood lent itself to a very simple gesture - by adding three feathers it becomes a massive arrow embedded in the earth, marking the surrounding area, creating an implied center, and becoming a first landmark for the city's Arts District.
I elected to design the feathers like traditional neon signage, approaching the object in the vernacular of mid-American roadside attractions -- a self-conscious spectacle. The neon gives the object a torch-like appearance after dark and it functions like a beacon of light in the darkness, visible glowing from blocks away, and washing its surroundings in a red-orange glow.