Bunjil the Eagle is the largest three dimensional work that I have so-far created. A commission for the Victorian Education Department, this sculpture is situated at the entrance to the Dulap Wilam Community Hub in Sunbury VIC. An important Creator being in the beliefs of a number of Koori (Aboriginal) groups throughout Victoria, Bunjil is represented here in extruded polystyrene and polyurea.
Here’s a video I made, showing the production process, along with the two accompanying wall murals that adorn the inside of the building.
Regarding the technical details of the sculpture:
The eagle is comprised of approximately 80 extruded polystyrene (XPS) sheets, glued together with Sika ‘Rapid Fixing Adhesive Foam’. I initially used an electric hot foam knife to cut and sculpt the block I had made, but soon realised that it would be a very slow process. So I upgraded, using an angle grinder instead. This made a huge mess, and I had particles of green foam that would condense overnight, so that instead of ‘sleep’ gunk in the corner of my eyes in the morning, I had green foamy masses. This was despite goggles, respirator and face shield.
When the sculpt was completed it was then sprayed with polyurea. 5 minutes later the result you’re left with is an extremely hardy, already solid shell.
If I was do it over again I’d ignore the experts who told me to use an etching primer, which would bite into the polyurea and ensure a strong bond for the paint. Instead of providing a strong bond, it allowed the coating to strip off relatively easy, and I had to strip most of it away and start again. A decent spray paint designed to adhere to metal and plastic is enough. However, a major consideration for an outdoor project is extreme heat. So it’s worth planning with that in mind, where there is the potential for paint to bubble as it’s being cooked by the sun. A decent UV coating is also a must.