Working out of a repurposed warehouse in Raleigh, North Carolina, artist and designer Thomas Sayre has been creating public art installations for decades in sites around the world. From Thailand to Turkey and in a number of North American cities–Calgary, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Denver, Durham, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Portland, Raleigh, Tucson, and his hometown of Washington, DC–Sayre has been commissioned to reflect through his work the distinctive identity and history of each place.
“My artwork is also part of a larger spiritual pursuit of balance,” Sayre explains. Through a process he calls “earthcasting,” Sayre explores the differences between forms made by nature and those made by humans. Using heavy equipment to dig complex molds in the earth, the artist then pours in colored concrete that echoes the hue of the native soil. When the concrete has cured, the sculptures are lifted by crane to stand in bold relief against the sky. Each of these dramatic pieces speaks in multiple ways to the people who encounter them daily.
Earthcaster will document Thomas Sayre’s evolution as an artist—from his earliest challenges as a dyslexic child to his recent receipt of the North Carolina Award for lifetime achievement in the arts. The film will also document all the stages of his earthcasting process during an upcoming commission in Portland, Oregon. The producers have already documented the development of a piece he created for the foothills town of Lenoir, North Carolina, with the enthusiastic engagement of the entire community.
Interviews with colleagues, friends, family members, and everyday citizens in the cities and towns where Sayre’s work is displayed will also address larger questions about the value and significance of public art in the chaos of the digital age and what Sayre’s work might teach us about ourselves, our communities, and our planet.