DiPasquale met with Nancy Creech, veteran Festival director of 18 years of the 32 year old organization and former city councilwoman. They looked at the site, talked around budgets and two weeks later he submitted the winning clay model to the Festival’s sculpture committee. His was the only entry that interpreted the 16 foot height requirement for the Neptune figure as from the waist up. Thus the mass alone of the sculpture far exceeded the competition. And as it turned out, so did Neptune’s attitude and classical/modern treatment.
The Design and the Site
On the sand, with the sea, sky and beach as backdrop, the site real estate commitment by the city as well as the bronze and rock base height and size specifications by the sponsors were unique in modern public sculpture presentation. And the private funding was also unique, raised entirely within the Festival’s community of participants.
Budget and Production
The China Connection
Three bidding factories produced a six foot clay model from the maquette and e mailed photos. DiPasquale chose the one who had the closest style and anatomical understanding to his Neptune and 25 workers began the full scale construction of the 80 ton clay Neptune.
The sculptor made 3 trips to Ningbo; the first to detail the six foot clay mid-model and supervise and instruct detailing of the full scale clay model. The second was to do the same with the animals and supervise the maquette casting and the third was to approve the full scale bronze casting and welding. In the end, it was necessary to rely on daily e mailed photos to approve the finished metal work.
Bigger Sculpture Bigger Problems
DiPasquale was able to make the larger Neptune’s anatomy real to the betterment of presentation, but 30% more bronze at twice the cost meant Zhang could not afford to put any stainless steel structure (3 tons were needed) inside the 8 tons of bronze castings. It also meant DiPasquale had to hire an additional team to weld and finish the installation in the US.
Emailed pictures of the larger and finished full scale clay Neptune spoke to all involved and fortunately the contractors and engineers volunteering for the Neptune Festival were also motivated to increase their contributions of time and materials. The success of Neptune’s landing as a gift from the Festival to the city of Virginia Beach translated into success in fundraising and sales of the sculpture model editions. It means everything got paid for.
The first, ‘The Making of Neptune’ was produced by Central Virginia’s Public Broadcasting production of ‘Virginia Currents.’
The second is Neptune: Making of the Myth produced by Paul Michels of Coastal Training Technologies. This 42 minute film won first place at the New York City Film Festival in the Educational Documentaries in 2007. It is available for purchase through the Neptune Festival.
About the Statue
About the Neptune Festival
Virginia Beach Neptune Festival
The Artist’s Intent
It was also an opportunity for the sculptor to stretch classic Italian Renaissance sculpture into the 21st century. Trained in abstract constructivist and figurative sculpture, DiPasquale intends Neptune to attract his audience on an emotional and a formal level. His largest bronze work to date is also the largest bronze sculpture presented in Virginia since the Iwo Jima monument in 1945. Paul claims it as his greatest success, “It has exceeded my expectations as public art.”
For more information on this sculpture or others at this site, the sculptor can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.