Creating sculptures that fit Vail’s setting |

Creating sculptures that fit Vail’s setting

Special to the Daily

VAIL, Colorado ” Vail’s Art in Public Places (AIPP) recently installed two, 12-foot high sculptures by Seattle-based artist Andrew Carson in Vail Village, at the top of the Vail Transportation Center near the Visitor Information Center. The kinetic bronze and glass sculptures, called “Bronze Sun Glass Balls,” are on loan to the town for up to two years.

Carson, who grew up in Boulder, hand-built electronic test equipment to measure Chinook winds as a kid. In 1994, Carson revisited the whirligigs of his youth, refining his work with studies in glass and sculpture.

“Since then, Andrew has invented and reinvented his original kinetic sculptures with a series of eclectic and captivating innovations, concurrent with his closest modern contemporary artists, Susan Pascal Beran and James Eaton,” according to his biography. “Andrew personally designs, engineers and prototypes every piece of every sculpture, including the glasswork, hubs and transitions. There are no ‘found parts’ in his work.”

Carson offered to lend the two sculptures to the town so residents and board members could determine whether the artistic style fits Vail’s mountain setting, according to Leslie Fordham, AIPP coordinator.

“Also, this will give us an opportunity to evaluate how the glass will hold up to winter temperatures,” Fordham said.

AIPP has the option to purchase the sculptures during the loan period for $22,500 each, with a 20 percent discount if the purchase takes place in the next year. Those interested in commenting on the sculptures can fill out a card available at the Visitor Information Center, or e-mail Fordham at

Carson recently took the time to answer a few questions for the Vail Daily. More information about Andrew Carson and examples of his work can be found at

Vail Daily: How long did it take you to make the pieces?

Andrew Carson: The design process took about three years with a series of prototypes. Actual construction took about six months.

VD: What was your inspiration for the sculptures?

AC: I was one of the artists who had been contacted by Vail to work on entry art for Meadow Drive. Through that process, I suggested taking my complex design style in a more classic direction with bronze. We drew and built many prototypes over a year long period. All of my work is kinetic and that is rooted deep in my history.

VD: Can you tell me a little bit more about the process to make them?

AC: I cut out over 100 pieces of bronze from raw stock. I welded the pieces to form arms and the body of the sculptures. Nothing is cast. The fabrication process is very labor intensive.

VD: Why do you think they’re a good fit for Vail?

AC: It is about Vail, and it is about the space within Vail. It was important to me to anchor this space and provide points of focus in the plaza. It is impossible for 100 percent of all people to agree on any aesthetic. My goal was to create something that could add fun and interest into the space, and fit well both physically and spiritually.

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