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Bucky on Parade feature: Christy Grace

May 30, 2018 By Parker Schorr


Christy Grace stands next to her creation, Celestial Bucky, one of two statues she designed for the public art project Bucky on Parade. CREDIT: CHRISTY GRACE

This summer we will feature a weekly Q&A with an artist who created one of the Bucky on Parade statues on UW’s campus to understand their artistic process, their inspirations, and why they love Bucky.

Bucky: Celestial Bucky (By Observatory Overlook)

Artist: Christy Grace

What is your history as an artist?

My history as an artist starts when I was very young, with an artist dad and crafty mom. I was never bored because I could create worlds of my own on paper and canvas. Throughout school, I took almost every art class I could attend and paid my way through college by decorating cakes and painting faces at parties. Once I graduated with a degree in graphic design, I did some internships but then started to follow my dreams of being a full-time professional artist. Around the time I moved to full-time art, I was not feeling very well and my husband and I were having trouble having a baby. It turns out that I had stage four endometriosis, a chronic illness that causes pain, exhaustion, and sometimes infertility. My art became a journal and a catharsis to help me through. After two surgeries and a few procedures, I had the miracle of conceiving my daughter, Eliana, and her birth and life inspired me to chase being a children’s book illustrator, along with a showing and commissioned visual artist.

Grace’s daughter Eliana plays atop a blank, 6-foot-tall Bucky Badger statue. CREDIT: CHRISTY GRACE

What inspired you to come up with this take on Bucky?

Celestial Bucky is inspired by my general love for the aesthetic of space and nebulas and the idea that people should dream big, never stop reaching or learning, and should always stay curious.

What idea or message do you hope people get out of this piece of art?

I hope people take pleasure in the colors and the holographic glitter and then feel inspired to create and express themselves.

The blueprint for Grace’s holographic Celestial Bucky. CREDIT: CHRISTY GRACE

What was the process of creating your Bucky like?

Celestial Bucky was the second Bucky I had the honor of working on (the first was BioTech Bucky). I only had a month for him but had the process all ready to go. I started with a layer of spray paint. I had intended for there to be more of the fluorescent spray-paint tones but that paint turned out to be thinner and froze in the can before I could get very far. This changed the look a little from the original color scheme but I rolled with it and hand painted a lot of the clouds and nebulas. I added metallic, fluorescent, and glow-in-the-dark paint, and then topped it all off with applications of holographic glitter. Because of taking care of my almost 3-year-old, and working on illustrations and commissioned work, painting Bucky was a midnight labor of love.

Of the other Bucky Badgers created, which ones do you like best?

It is very hard to choose favorites because they are all so amazing! Visible Bucky is so multi-dimensional without using any added elements, just paint. The artists did such precise detail with realistic highlights and shadows, I really appreciate the effect. I adore Bucky’s fur on the many variations that artist Dan Gardiner painted.

A close-up shot of Celestial Bucky before Grace finished the paint job. CREDIT: CHRISTY GRACE