2008 bronze, concrete, steel 77” x 37” 30” available
Royal is a bronze & steel sculpture that explores Phelps' personal history as well as the concept of a resume. When seen in person or in a video, the figure in the sculpture appears to twist and follow the viewer as they move around the sculpture.
In the early 1980s, Phelps designed and built science exhibits at the Oklahoma City science museum Omniplex. One exhibit he built was called Reverse Masks which demonstrated how a concave (negative) shape can trick the mind into perceiving it as a 3-D positive form that appears to twist and follow the viewer. He never imagined that it would be thirty years before he incorporated this into artwork.
“Royal” is modeled after Phelps’ family typewriter from his youth. He found the LC Smith typewriter during a visit to the old farm house on Roberts Island, in the California Delta.
The concept of “Royal” is that the page of a resume is a self portrait, thus the page rolling out of the platen is literally a figure. Though modeled from a LC Smith the piece is titled “Royal” reflecting the slight exaggerations often seen in resumes.
The typewriter is primarily fabricated steel with some concrete, wax, and gold leaf elements. The figure is cast bronze.
An optical illusion is achieved with this sculpture in which the figure seems to turn toward the viewer as they move. Still photos can’t convey this effect but it can be seen clearly in the video link.