There are the monsters in our imaginations, lurking in the shadows and haunting our dreams. But for children facing cancer, those monsters can be all too real.
To help these pediatric cancer patients take control, painter/sculptor Kent Caldwell, 28, came up with an art project that resulted in the exhibit “Forest Monsters,” set for Jan. 8-26 at the Sahara West Library, 9600 W. Sahara Ave. It will feature 3-D printed figurines created from the children’s designs.
“As I’ve gotten older, I realize how special it is to be a kid,” said Caldwell, a Summerlin-area resident. “I was fortunate and had a worry-free, really great childhood, so I thought, ‘These kids deserve that, too.’ ”0
Caldwell, who performs with Cirque du Soleil as a Chinese Poles specialist in “Mystere” at Treasure Island, worked with the Cure 4 The Kids Foundation and the Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada to find five children ages 8 to 15 to help him with the project. Each child came up with a concept drawing and worked with Caldwell to further finalize it until they liked the look. That was followed by painting it in watercolors and adding final details.
Initially, the exhibit was to have been downtown, but those plans fell through. When she learned the project was being done through a children’s cancer organization, Denise Alvarado, gallery services coordinator for the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, said she made room for the exhibit at Sahara West, using space opposite the bookstore.
“Even the way he said it, that he didn’t want to (have to) break his promise (that there would be an exhibit), tugged at my heart,” she said.
The monsters featured are varied. One looks like a cyclops with multiple arms. Another resembles a birthday cake gone awry. There’s also a bat-like monster and one whose skin looks like tree bark. Another has the look of a rhinoceros.
“The youngest was really gung ho,” Caldwell said. “He did this really amazing drawing (of the cyclops), and he didn’t think it would be good enough. … I think his drawing was more amazing than my sculpting of it.”
To make the monsters three-dimensional, Caldwell used ZBrush, a computer program that allows one to build 3-D images from a base of polygon-like cells. Full Spectrum Laser, 6216 S. Sandhill Road, then used 3-D prototype printers to create the figurines in a resin material.
Kirsten Miller, 12, is affected by common variable immune deficiency. She has a port and receives infusions at the Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada, 3121 S. Maryland Parkway. Her mother, Whitney, said the project allowed her daughter to have the freedom to paint whatever she wanted.
How well did the final product portray her monster?
“It was beyond what she saw in her head,” Whitney Miller said. “When she saw it, she was at treatment, and treatment days are long and blah. But then Kent walked in with her sculpture, and she was, like, ‘Ahhh, oh my God.’ And she got to play with it.”
The beauty of 3-D printing means the children get to keep the originals, and subsequent generations of the pieces can be auctioned to help the cancer organizations.
An artist reception is planned from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 7 at the library. For more information, visit kentcaldwell.blogspot.com or call 702-507-3630. To see more of Caldwell’s work, visit kentcaldwell.com.
Contact Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2949.