Thursday, June 07, 2012

Coney Goodies: Sculptures Of Iconic Coney Structures

Wonder Wheel Sculpture by Herbert Hoover

The Coney Island Summer season of 2012 is well under way.  Within the recent years the look of Coney Island has been changing.  Some call it a progression towards a new and shiny Coney Island while others miss the way it was just a few years ago.  But fortunately, what has stayed are its iconic structures that will always define Coney Island well into the 21 Century.

Wonder Wheel Sculpture by Herbert Hoover made of microlite plywood

Two of these structures and their uniqueness have been captured in beautiful microlite plywood sculpts by local artist Herbert Hoover, who loves creating cast metal jewelry and sculptures.  The Wonder Wheel replica stands at 14 inches and is about equal that in width. It boasts 16 intricate cars.  Though they are fixed, Herbert Hoover, who does go by that name (his friends call him Herb), says he may do a kinetic version of the Wonder Wheel sculpture with moving cars in the future.  Though that would surely be an engineering puzzle, he says.
Parachute Jump by Herb Hoover

Herbert has also paid homage to Coney Island's other iconic structure; the Parachute Jump.  Another wooden sculpt, which stands taller at 18 inches. He calls this not only a Coney icon but also a quintessential Brooklyn figure.

The Parachute Jump was first created for a special annual alumni dinner at Brooklyn College as a centerpiece for their event. 

Herb was later asked by the College to do more centerpieces for them.  He then constructed the Wonder Wheel sculpture along with a replica of the Manhattan Bridge.  Herbert didn't just create one of each of these magnificent pieces, but several of them that were auctioned off to benefit the college.  Thirty centerpieces were bought at an auction in a single evening.

His passion for sculpting started with replicas of edible items.  He started with a pewter saltine cracker.  Later that grew into creating sculpts and casts of more snacks and other various food items in pewter and sterling silver.  He said he has now expanded to doing custom requests, some of it food others not.

Wonder Wheel model in construction

When asked about his inspiration and how he started sculpting, Herbert told Kinetic Carnival, "My first wooden sculpture was a rocket, it was inspired by the airplane kits I made with my dad as a kid. Designing the Wonder Wheel and Parachute Jump took about a week each and building one takes about a day and a half. It was a pretty difficult process, some parts were tricky to figure out how to make and some parts were tricky to fit together - but most of it is just assembly time because the pieces are all symmetrical".
Wonder Wheel model in construction

The Wonder Wheel and the Parachute Jump sculptures have been placed on Etsy, the Ebay for art. For an additional price, Herbert can illuminate the structures with LED lighting to make it an electrifying and dazzling centerpiece for any Coney Island, Brooklyn, and New York lover.

[More images can be seen at Herbert Hoover's Flickr page.]

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