Suwanee artist Drew Dylan was 7 years old and living in Fort Benning when he witnessed his first total solar eclipse.
“I remember thinking, ‘This is so awesome,’” said Dylan, now 54, whose class made little pinhole viewers to watch the solar event.
“The notion that the moon could block out the sun in the middle of the day was fascinating.”
He had already created a series of drawings about the Apollo mission. “I was very much into the whole space thing.”
Decades later, Dylan, a software engineer and jewelry designer, drew on that day for inspiration for his first public arts project — “Eclipse” — a sculpture of a solar eclipse that stands between 10 and 11 feet tall.
The sculpture, made from weathering and stainless steel and acrylic, was created as part of Suwanee’s fifth “SculpTour.”
“Eclipse,” as well as 17 other pieces by various artists, are on display through March 2019 in Suwanee. His piece is located in City Hall Park on Buford Highway. Others are in various places throughout the city.
Dylan hopes his sculpture helps fuel enthusiasm about the the coast-to-coast Aug. 21 “Total Solar Eclipse 2017.”
The sculpture rotates 360 degrees while the angle of the upper disc and coronal ring can be adjusted using the tilt wheel located about halfway up the spine. This allows it to line it up with the sun for a daytime eclipse.
The body of the sculpture has nine vertebrae (one for each planet and Pluto), and a stainless-steel spinal cord that passes through the tilt wheel.
The timing couldn’t be better.
On Aug. 21, the U.S. will witness the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in decades.
The commission has accepted only a few pieces based on their renderings.
Dylan said he will receive a $1,500 stipend, split in two for the project.
“None have been quite this large, and certainly none had been interactive,” said Toni Shrewsbury, Suwanee’s special projects coordinator.
Most artists usually submit photos of existing sculptures; however, Dylan submitted a rendering of a piece that he wanted to create.
“We’ve never really gone out on a limb like this on a piece we hadn’t seen,” said Shrewsbury.
The art was selected in January, “and at that time, the upcoming eclipse wasn’t even on our radar, but it’s great timing.”
At the end of the exhibit cycle, people can buy the pieces.
Dylan isn’t too worried if “Eclipse” doesn’t sell for the asking price of $11,000.
He’s already thinking about a design that will allow the sculpture to reside at his home or he may donate the piece.
He also doesn’t plan to miss this eclipse. He’s trying to find a place along the path of totality.
“I’m hoping people will go out there and get their pictures taken with my sculpture and the eclipse in the background.”