You are here: Home Blog

Michael's Blog

Recent blog posts

Posted by on

Ascension stands 10'H x 8'W x 26'L and is built from 3 tons of forged stainless steel and iron. I am very thankful that it was chosen by The City of Duluth and the GAPC for the Duluth Gateway Art Project through a generous donation from the AGCO corporation. It is situated in the heart of Duluth, Ga. in the roundabout intersection of McClure Bridge and W. Lawrenceville.

My goal in developing a design for this project was to create a piece that speaks to Duluth's history as a farming community, its current values, and vision for the future. Mirroring AGCO as a world leader it captures their spirit of progress and hope for the future as they transform the agricultural industry. 

Images of the model for my proposal.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Plow1.jpg b2ap3_thumbnail_Plow.jpg

I would also like to share a bit more of the process that went into the construction of this monumental public sculpture. It will come as no surprise that I am a tool hound! My fascination with old machines was instilled as a child growing up in a midwest farming community where if something broke "you" had to fix it. Also learning about old cars and motorcycles from my Pop set me on a path to work with my hands. Today, my studio/shop has many pieces of equipment that I use to build my creations.

Ascension began as hand drawings that were engineered for structural code.  From these specifications, I was able to develop a plan to begin the build. First was to oxyacetylene torch cut then roll form four tons of 1" steel plate. This was one of the only processes I did not undertake in my shop, the roll forming took 150 tons on the 10' wide piece of plate. Since there were only a few places this can be done, Cain Steel in Tuscaloosa, AL was a great choice (thanks guys!) These photos shows the plate in their shop and back at my shop.

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSB_20140413-122834_1.jpg b2ap3_thumbnail_DSB_20140413-122835_1.jpg

I was then able to finish cutting, drill holes for riveting and weld the halves together. I brought in a good friend and master welder Rob Babcock from Utah for the welding. Kyle Livingston also helping as the the jack hammer riveter.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSB_20140413-122838_1.jpg 

b2ap3_thumbnail_DS-plate.jpg 

b2ap3_thumbnail_DS-riviet.jpg

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSrivitkyle.jpg

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSwelding_20140413-122748_1.jpg 

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSprocess_20140413-150954_1.jpg  

At this point, I started to focus on the construction of the stainless steel bird body. A framework was made as a template, then shapes were cut using my optical tracing machine with a plasma cutter. The pieces were then forged under my 500lb. mechanical hammer and stamped with pattern dies under my 100 ton friction screw press. The body was then welded and work on the wings followed.

  b2ap3_thumbnail_DSprocess_20140413-150954_2.jpg 

b2ap3_thumbnail_DS-ss_20140413-122837_2.jpg

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSprocess_20140413-150955_1.jpg 

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSstainless_20140413-122700_1.jpg

 The wings were forged, textured and shaped from stainless steel that was later welded and bolted together.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSstainless.jpg

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSprocess_20140413-150953_1.jpg 

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSwing_20140413-122654_1.jpg

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSwingdetail_20140413-122745_1.jpg

The bird was then assemble and I could get my first look at it together.

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSprocess_20140413-150947_1.jpg

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSprocess.jpg

After seven months of construction, blasting and finish work was complete the sculpture was then loaded on a trailer.

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSloaded_20140413-150844_1.jpg

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSloaded_20140413-150845_1.jpg

Installation day brought favorable weather and friends. 90 minutes, two crane picks, and ten bolts later the work was installed!

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSinst_20140413-150824_1.jpg

 b2ap3_thumbnail_DSinst_20140413-150825_1.jpg

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSinst_20140413-150822_2.jpg 

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSinst_20140413-150822_1.jpg

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSinst_20140413-150821_1.jpg 

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSinst_20140413-150820_1.jpg

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSinst_20140413-150819_1.jpg b2ap3_thumbnail_DSinst_20140413-150818_1.jpg

Duluth unveiled the sculpture April 9th. Duluth's Mayor Nancy Harris, council members, and the GAPC, AGCO with president Martin Richenhagen, community members, friends, family all made for a grand day. Thank you all that made Ascension possible!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Ascension.jpg

 b2ap3_thumbnail_Ascension_20140413-122454_1.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_Ascension_20140413-122455_1.jpg

 Special love to Lauren, Rose and Jake 

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSLDRD.jpg

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSJD.jpg

Hits: 7245

I'm please to announce I have been selected to show at the Appalachian State University, in Boone NC.

I have been selected to participate in the 2013 competition of ten selected artists that will present maquettes and supplementary materials, to be displayed in the University’s Visual Arts Gallery. From this exhibition, the Jurors will select a single work to be permanently installed on the University Campus. The commissioned work will be prominently placed in the sculpture garden of the forthcoming Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts.

Posted by on
<p>Michael Dillon, Aileron</p>From his forge in Crabapple, Georgia, about 30 miles north of Atlanta, Michael Dillon coaxes graceful, kinetic forms from enormous pieces of iron, bronze, stainless steel, and other metals. Many of his sculptures allow for some kind of motion, no matter their size: Aileron, which Dillon installed in Nashville’s McCabe Park last year, is a massive, beautiful, curvy construction of two and a half tons of forged iron and bronze, 18 feet tall; its metal feathers respond to the breeze with a slow, swooping horizontal movement. On the smaller end of the spectrum, Dillon’s Avian sculpture depicts the smooth, detailed wing of a bird in flight; a bit of wind or a gentle press will send it spinning 360 degrees. Even his motionless sculptures, like the delicate, wind-kissed Family Tree, often employ studious tapering and bending to imply movement.

Posted by on

Artistry in Motion!

The City of Duluth, Georgia, led by the Gateway Art Project Committee (GAPC) and Mayor Nancy Harris, are very pleased to announce that out of 85 letters of intent from artists all over the country for this very exciting public art project, the committee has selected local artist, Michael Dillon, from Milton, Georgia to design Duluth's first piece of public art. The design will be a permanent piece of original art to be installed in the center of the newly constructed roundabout located at the intersections of West Lawrenceville Street, McClure Bridge Road and Irvindale Road. This historic residential setting is considered a "gateway" into downtown Duluth, and this piece of art is expected to become a significant icon in our City and an important symbol to welcome citizens and visitors alike into the heart of Duluth.

Stay Connected

Facebook