Celebrated Artist Tony Sheets' Three-Dimensional History of Art Installation Takes Wing at John Wayne Airport Retail Center

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Sheets' large, colorful castings made from resin-coated foam depict the evolution of flight from the bi-plane to the Space Shuttle and throw various shadows throughout the day, creating a unique visual impact from sun up to sun down.

“I wanted to create an installation relevant to the area. The aircraft design and manufacturing industry has had a long and distinguished history in Orange County and has made a significant impact on the entire world.”

An eye-catching three-dimensional art installation, designed by world-renowned artist Tony Sheets and mounted to the south wall of the Corinthian Way retail center in the John Wayne Airport corridor of Newport Beach, has been formally unveiled by Sanderson J. Ray Development, owners of the center.

The colorful installation, which depicts the evolution of flight, was commissioned by Sanderson J. Ray Development, owner of the Corinthian Center located at MacArthur Boulevard and Corinthian Way. Sanderson J. Ray Development’s partners include Chase O. Sanderson, Jr., Michael D. Ray and James “Walkie” Ray. The Center tenants are La Salsa, Fuji Grill, Darque Tan, Emerald Cleaners, Jamba Juice, Quiznos and Staples.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the design, Mr. Sheets commented, “I wanted to create an installation relevant to the area. The aircraft design and manufacturing industry has had a long and distinguished history in Orange County and has made a significant impact on the entire world.”

Sheets continued, “The best way to enjoy this art is to turn left from MacArthur Blvd. on to Corinthian Way, just before you pass Staples, while driving north toward the airport from Newport Beach”.

“I have known Tony and admired his art for many years,” said partner Walkie Ray. “Indeed, he is a friend and naturally comes to mind whenever the opportunity presents itself to enhance the visual aspect of our business.”

The Center’s south wall was specifically designed to display public art, and over the years Sanderson J. Ray Development has commissioned two other works.

Initially, the architects and designers at Sanderson J. Ray assumed that only painted, flat installations would work on the Corinthian Center wall. However, once they were able to obtain approvals by the City of Newport Beach allowing them to encroach 3’ into the building setback, the decision was made to bring on Sheets to design the stunning three-dimensional image that creates an extraordinary visual impact.

Sheets says that light is what makes sculpture exciting, and the 3’ depth of the sculpture along the southern facing wall location gets the most sunlight, creating form and changing shadows throughout the day

Says partner Michael Ray, “Tony is a true professional and understands the technical and logistical details of public installations. He has handled four previous commissions for us in Costa Mesa and Irvine, all with striking results.”

Located practically right under the shadow of John Wayne Airport, the installation includes scale-sized engineering/aeronautical drawings and five aircraft that appear to be flying “out” of the wall, depicting the evolution of flight from the bi-plane to the Space Shuttle.

Tony Sheets is the son of noted American artist, Millard Sheets, and grew up surrounded by many talented artists who would allow him to work in their studios from a young age, enabling him to learn many of the processes of art. These artists also gave Tony a firm understanding of the "business of art" which has served him well throughout his career.

Sheets’ work incorporates various sculpting materials such as cast and fabricated metals, copper repousse’, cast stone, poured concrete, applied sand and cement, as well as resins. He has completed over 52 sculpture and mural commissions since 1972. The scale of his work has ranged from tabletop sculptures to large sculpture murals that cover an entire building wall similar to the installation at Corinthian Center.

For the past thirty-two years as a successful designer, painter, sculptor, metal worker and teacher in his own right, Sheets has completed sculpture and painting commissions in California, Arkansas, Hawaii and Texas.

In addition, for the past 5 years Tony and his wife Flower have spent their summers in the Claremont/Pomona area while creating exhibits for the Millard Sheets Center at Fairplex for their September Fairs.

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Editor’s note: High resolution images available upon request. Tony Sheets and the Sanderson J. Ray partners including Chase O. Sanderson, Jr., Michael D. Ray and James “Walkie” Ray are available for phone, television and radio interviews by contacting Lynn Selich at (310) 968-4678; (949) 723-1352 or LynnSelich(at)roadrunner(dot)com.

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Lynn Hackman-Selich
Sanderson J. Ray Development
(310) 968-4678
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