Giant George is an enlargement of an earlier work created by Gordon Gund titled George. It was inspired by a pair of Great Horned owls that visited the artist and his wife one summer at their farm in Princeton, NJ. The artist recalled hearing them often during that season, “As I am blind, through other’s eyes I was able to observe the hunting and moving about. One day at dusk we observed as one of the pair successfully stalked a mole moving under the grass near our house.” Gund’s wife, Lulie, named most of his works and named this one after his father who had in the artist’s words, “substantial eyebrows”, a physical characteristic that struck her as similar to the brow of Giant George.
The smooth rounded surfaces of Giant George are characteristic of Gund’s work, which invite exploration by touch. “While with my eyes I can’t see the shapes I create, I feel them over and over again with my hands and the result is in my mind forever. It takes me more time and patience than most sighted artists and letting go is generally felt with more uncertainty. So, it is satisfying to finish something that I have doubted along the way, spent a lot of time on and given a lot of love.”
To make George, the sculpture Giant George is based on, Gund started by sculpting a life-sized model out of clay. A plaster cast was made from the clay model, which the artist further refined and then used for a lost wax casting in bronze. The enlarged sculpture was produced using a sand mold casting.