Some projects are so technically challenging that artists aren’t in a hurry to repeat them. This is the case for a massive one-of-a-kind door created by the Haas Brothers, currently on view at the stand of New York’s R & Company at Design Miami (through December 10).
“That was the hardest thing ever,” Simon Haas told artnet News. His brother and artistic partner, Niki Haas, first sculpted the seven-foot-tall piece in epoxy and then had it 3-D scanned. A CNC machine did much of the work to create the finished black walnut version, but a robotic carver can only do so much.
“It’s very rough, then you go through meticulously with a chisel,” said Simon. “There’s a lot of hand work.” Each design element is carefully measured with calipers to ensure that it perfectly matches Haas’s original design.
The door features two unique compositions: Eden Ahbez Walrus on the recto and Octopus Bubble Buddies on the verso. The latter is an especially daunting tangle of intertwined tentacles. “Niki was really into octopi for awhile,” Simon said. The piece is also inspired by the Beatles, a childhood favorite of the brothers, specifically their songs “I Am the Walrus” and “Octopus’s Garden.”
The work also draws on their early artistic roots working with their father in architectural stone carving during their teen years. “We both had our fill of carving growing up, but when we have a chance to do it now, it’s really fun,” Simon said.
He recognizes that a piece this large and this quirky requires a very specific buyer. “I want somebody to have an interior courtyard, and have this door go into their house,” he said.
For those of us lacking a courtyard, the brothers also have more manageably sized works, such as their tiny “Fairy Berries” and “Micro Beasts,” tiny sculptural creatures that look like they’ve been pulled from the pages of a Seuss-esque children’s book.
“We have an ecosystem in our studio,” said Simon, who creates the ceramic “Berries,” carefully applying layers of colored porcelain. The “Beasts” are Niki’s domain, delightful fluff balls with metal feet. “He is the life force animal part, and I’m the plant kingdom.”
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