August 22, 2019

Life-size sculpture of powerful female icon ‘Dyanna’ unveiled in Somerville


FEATURE IMAGE — Rafi Properties

Art continues to fill Somerville’s neighborhoods with the installation of ‘Dyanna,’ a 650-pound, life-size Astrobot, designed and built by local Somerville sculptor, Kirk Tegelaar, more commonly known as ‘Skunk’, of Skunkadelia, at the Somernova campus.

Fabricated at non-profit maker space, Artisan’s Asylum, Dyanna is a 6-foot titan-class robot made by welding together repurposed steel and old machine parts creating a heroic, powerful yet endearing female figure.

Rafi Properties, LLC, owner and operator of Somernova, announced the installation on Aug. 19.

“Somernova is a platform for entrepreneurs to create and be bold. The consistent drive to innovate and break the mold is an integral part of entrepreneurship. In order to foster creativity, people need environments that encourage experiment and testing,’ said Collin Yip, Managing Partner of Rafi Properties. “Dyanna is a symbol of Somernova’s spirit and culture — a place for fearless self-expression and exploration.”

Rafi Properties, owner of Somernova, commissioned Skunk to create an outdoor sculpture to represent the spirit of the Somerville campus. Comprised of objects such as a steel scuba tank for the cranium, MBTA garage door springs for legs and a swivel ball from a 1962 Land Rover Station wagon for the jaw, Dyanna is the largest Astrobot built to date by the sculptor. The female sculpture was installed at the entrance of the innovation hub’s courtyard on Aug. 20.

“The notion of creating an object that has the potential to endure and influence other minds for hundreds of years is particularly resonant with me. It is my job as a sculptor to create a figure that expresses the positive aspects of humanity,” said Skunk.

“Working with Collin Yip has reminded me that an artist needs to stretch outside their comfort zone if they are to create something remarkable.”

Dyanna was fabricated with the following parts: Four CNC tool holders, scuba tank, vintage motorcycle tank, antique truck swivel ball joint, two Bridgeport handle wheels, two tool holders, acme threaded rod, axe heads, railroad spikes, bolts, bicycles, MBTA garage springs, antique wrenches, antique lathe belt gear, two lathe chucks, two beam connectors, two spindles, steel tubing, motorcycle clutch plate, large gears, nuts, washers and bronze.

Tegelaar, more commonly known as Skunk, has been creating whimsy from steel scraps since 1996, beginning with founding of the sci-fi fueled, friendly bicycle chopper gang SCUL, then evolving his family of endearing and emotional Astrobots. With a very strong background and passion for art since he was a kid in Maine, he learned to be ‘one with the metal’ at Seven Cycles, machining, welding, and finishing custom titanium, steel, and Ti/Carbon bicycle frames. In 2005 he left production to become the in-house graphic designer for Seven. Skunk is a proud and happy member of the Artisan’s Asylum maker space community, where he’s been teaching a challenging and rewarding monthly TIG welding class since the Asylum was founded in 2010.

Rooted in the neighborly vibe of Somerville’s Union Square neighborhood, the Somernova campus sprawls over 7.4 acres and is comprised of 300,000 square feet of commercial and industrial space. It’s home to a culture crafted by a unique tenant mix from 3D printing (Voxel8) and nanotechnology (N12 Technologies), urban rock climbing (Brooklyn Boulders), the largest clean-tech startup incubator in U.S. (Greentown Labs), a non-profit maker-space (Artisan’s Asylum), a brewery (Aeronaut), and more.

‘Dyanna’ is the first of multiple artistic and experiential collaborations planned for the Somernova campus.

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