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The making of a float

From idea & design to construction & parade

The Narcissistine Chapel

By Dan Thompson

I never considered myself a visual artist. In my 20s I had been an actor and director, so I was familiar with a creative process. I also had been a carpenter, and designing and building a structure is utilitarian art. I had made a few elaborate pinatas for my kids, but nothing entitled me to be so bold as to call myself a visual artist except the promise of the Wheaton Arts Parade that "on this day anyone can be an artist."  If I wanted others to believe it, I had to believe it myself.


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Start with a base: A float needs a base that's sturdy but light and with good casters. I used 4" casters. They cost about $9 each. Using new lumber, the two dollies cost about $120.
An Idea: Take a recognizable work of art and give it a modern twist. What could be more recognizable than Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel painting of God giving life to Adam.