Florentijn Hofman loves toys and he has lots of them. The artist from the Netherlands uses them as models for his works, such as this mini gorilla. His latest project is a thousand times the size of the toy, and about fifty meters tall.
So what I'm actually always searching for is the right skin on the right object at a right situation. And we copied all the designs on A4 paper, and we cover it on this inflatable, on this huge monkey, yeah.
His sculptures are above all enormous, like this gigantic penguin; or his best-known work, an enormous rubber duck. In 2009, he installed the ten-meter-tall figure in Japan, then sent it off around the world.
I thought, "Wow, if I enlarge this, and throw it in public space, it looks like this giant baby or child is flowing around with these toys." And to be honest, I am this baby, this child, who flows around his toys around the world. I had this Japanese businessman, and he bought one rubber duck of this in Japan, in Osaka. And he had a wish to fly on and above the rubber duck, a man that's sixty-five years old.
Hofman earns a good living from his works, even that the costs of producing them often add up to five-figure sums.
I like this factor that this surprises people. You normally...you do your thing during the day; you go to work; you have an appointment; you go to your family or friends. And in between, I try to grasp you to get you out of your normal daily life, and, well, to let you stop and look.
Hofman studied Arts at a small university in the Netherlands. In 2002, he made his first over-sized work. Every model is the result of painstaking research and countless sketches.
So it starts with the drawing and then modeling. So before you start making it at the location in concrete, I know the sculpture from top to the bottom. But funny enough, I made big sculptures, but it always starts with this small model.
Florentijn Hofman designs the pieces; technicians and craftsmen build them on site. The Steel Man is ten meters tall. It's been standing in Amsterdam since 2011. His sculptures dominate cityscapes often for just a short time. Many are just temporary like this inflatable bunny in Rotterdam. It's thirty meters tall.
Even though Hofman develops the ideas for his works on his own, he always assembles them with a team. Four assistants are helping him with this latest project.
It has more value if people work along with volunteers. People adopts the project, and it starts with this, you know... To bring a sculpture in public space, you need people to spread the words. And if you have like really positive, and highly focused people around you that work along with you, the project becomes...it increases and then becomes better.
His big monkey is finished. It took four days to stick on all the sheets of paper. It was unveiled in Rotterdam over the weekend. But as is often the case with Florentijn Hofman, it will only be there for a limited time.