The Snake Charmer

1991, Aluminum, 8’ x 10’ x 4’

Similar to the Viking, the Snake Charmer serves as a larger than life sculpture meant to aesthetically fill a room, yet functionally fit through an ordinary sized door. For this to occur, my trick of binding the separate elements together at one point hinges on the use of a through bolt. Usually I hide the trick, but in this case, it’s visible and serves as an integral part of the design. I fashioned the limbs to be weapons of war: a saber and bow. The original design in maquette form also had a long spear, but I removed it during final construction because it made the overall composition too symmetrical.

Visually, I based the sculpture off the Hindu practice of snake charming, where music and motion entices a King Cobra to dance for entertainment. A running theme in many of my metal sculptures embodies the concept of an ‘object in motion’. In this piece, the Cobra’s hood elevates and fully extends as if preparing to strike, intensifying the elements of danger and sound.

Fabricated out of aluminum, this sculpture represents one of the five principles of metal that when struck the metal rings out sound. This piece produces its own distinct, audible vibrations. The combination of the separate elements and scale, along with the implied motion, danger, and sound, creates the ‘character’ of this piece. Although a static object, Snake Charmer appears animated. The surface of the metal is buffed in swirls, mimicking the coiling of a snake.

The mythology behind this particular sculpture is as follows. The Snake Charmer became so powerful and feared that the greatest warriors across the globe united to defeat it. The toll was high, as many lost their lives. The warriors separated the three elements from each other and hid them across the seven seas. While the location of each piece disappeared in time, the knowledge of the elements did not. To this day, many a fool hunt for these powerful weapons, seeking to reassemble and reanimate the Snake Charmer. Woe to any and all that succeed.