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Visual Art
Arts and Entertainment Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2016 2 years ago

Studio Space: Scott Joseph Moore

The local artist recently built 50 life-size Labrador retriever sculptures to honor the "superheroes" of Southeastern Guide Dogs.
by: Nick Friedman Managing Editor of Arts and Culture

Scott Joseph Moore has always enjoyed working with his hands. After years of working in skilled labor jobs, like construction, concrete and foundry work, he earned a degree in computer animation from the Ringling College of Art and Design in 2000. But after two years of working in the industry, he realized he missed the hands-on nature of working directly with materials, so he used his experience to pursue sculpting.

"We went back and forth a lot on the front paw and the tail. They had to be just right to make the dog look like it was ready to spring into flight."

Moore recently teamed up with Southeastern Guide Dogs to put his sculpting skills toward a cause he finds especially meaningful. As a part of its Superheroes on Parade public art initiative, the nonprofit organization is installing 50 life-size labrador retriever sculptures around Sarasota, each outfitted in a cape, poised to jump into flight. The dog sculptures will each receive a custom paint job by local artists before being unveiled and displayed permanently at area businesses and iconic locations. 

"It starts with a clay sculpture. That becomes the original model. There's a steel armature with foam clay over it. Then I cover that with paint-on rubber and divide it into sections to make the mold. All the pieces together will make the whole dog."

Moore was the man behind the mold. He worked with the nonprofit to perfect the model, starting with a maquette, or small-scale model, then creating a master mold, from which he could create all 50 dogs.  

"After the sculpture is done, it's put together in sections, and we work to smooth out all the seams so it looks like all one piece."

A week before the initial unveiling event, Moore says he's been honored to tackle the project and use his artistic abilities for a cause he says he respects.

"While I was working on this, I kept thinking to myself, 'What do these dogs really do?'" says Moore. "What they're doing is giving people a way to not live in fear. For people who are blind, it has to be a scary experience, but through these dogs, they can see. They provide people with that safety. It's truly a good cause. After all, we all need a hero."

"The rubber encases the whole thing, and there's a fiberglass reinforcement inside, too. We paint the whole thing in, pour in the casting material, called Forton, then pop the mold off."


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