Free Stamp

Willard Park, Cleveland, Ohio

Background History

This sculpture was commissioned in December of 1982 by the Standard Oil Company of Ohio (SOHIO) (later by BP American, Inc.) The base of where the sculpture was created was an area made of concrete which reminded the artists of a stamp pad. Clause Oldenburg was the mastermind (artist) behind this fabulous work of art. The "Free Stamp" was installed August through October of 1991. The overall process of this sculpture took nearly 10 years.

Artists Statement

Oldenburg states that his sculpture is used to reflex both its surrounding and its context. He says that all of his sculptures are made personal to him as well. He said he loves to work with variations in scale, a wide range of materials, and to use familiar objects. As he creates his sculpture in his studio he thinks about the best placement for his work. This thought process consists of many drawings of surroundings with the sculpture drawn in. The sculpture ended up in Willard Park in Cleveland, Ohio which is surrounded by office buildings. Oldenburg suggested this area was yet a huge office culture area. He believed the word FREE would stand out and be comparable to the word Liberty, the message he wanted to relay to people. Challenges took place along the way, including the 10 years the process took, along with the fact that the placement company switched in the middle of the process to conclude the installment of the Free Stamp.

My Opinion

I really think this sculpture is creative and was worth the time and effort. I really like how the word FREE was selected as the word on the stamp. This word could have multiple meanings and relate to different people in several positive ways. I really like the position of the stamp placement as well. The angle creates a cool use of line and the color red really pops. The smooth texture and the shape also really helps the sculpture pop and stand out among its surroundings. Overall, I love this sculpture created by Clause Oldenburg and really appreciate his work even if some of it is many miles away.