If Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo were alive today, they would incorporate into their work the major symbols of our time and culture, says San Francisco artist Adam Reeder.
According to Reeder, who is also a big tech enthusiast, those symbols would definitely include the iPod.
Yeah? Art in the classical tradition is all about glorifying the gods and the human form. Would Michelangelo's "David" wear earbuds?
"Why not?" asks Reeder. The 33-year-old, who recently graduated with a master's in sculpture from San Francisco's Academy of Art University, has attempted to wed classical sculpture with modern themes.
"In Greek mythology Pan is supposed to dance to his flute in the woods," Reeder told CNET News. "In my sculpture he's still dancing but it's to an iPod."
Reeder also created a satyr who has passed out, but not after a night a night of Bacchanalian partying. In the character's bronze hand is a video game controller. The artist calls it "Sleeping Gamer."
"Technology has changed the context but not the nature of humans or art," Reeder said. "Classical sculpture is typically very serious and everyday people come in and they're kind of ready to be bored. Then, they see this and say 'Dude, this is great.' That is because this is going right from me to people who like technology. Instead of art buffs, I want it to be geek to geek. This is our world."
Reeder acknowledges that he's also having some fun with the classics. One sculpture depicts the god Zeus "calling down the thunder" only instead of a lightning bolt, he's calling with an iPhone.
Still, the artist makes a point of noting that when it comes to the sculpting he's dead serious. He does all the work himself, from the hiring of models down to the bronze casting. He said that because he sculpts fast he can do a life-size piece in about 50 hours (see a video of Reeder sculpting). He charges from $40,000 to $80,000 for an original life-size sculpture. A portrait bust in bronze goes for between $4,000 and $5,000.
He's convinced that his art will appeal to tech tastes in Northern California.
"I just sold Sleeping Gamer," he says, "to one of the Gears of War (video game creators)."
Reeder's work is on display through August 31 at Academy of Art University's 79 Gallery in San Francisco.