After the passing of Andrew Yokoyama, Cathy Yokoyama decided to memorialize her late husband in a unique and positive way. She is responsible for the ideas that led to the construction and installation of a sculpture celebrating Andy’s life. This idea became reality when the public art installation titled "A Life's Ride" was installed in December of 2012. Artist Terrence Martin created the one ton-sculpture of a bicycle to also function as a park bench. According to Mrs. Yokoyama, a large portion of the sculpture was made out of old farm equipment from their farm in South Port. A plaque fixed onto the piece informs us that Andy was a West Sacramento resident, farmer, and bicycle commuter. Like Andy, I frequently ride a bicycle. Consequently, I frequently pass this art piece. If we explore the installation process, we will discover how the process benefits the surrounding community. In addition, the monument itself is an excellent representation of public art.
If we examine the creation of this sculpture, we can see how this sculpture represents art. Many skills are required to produce art. Imagination, patience, motivation, and energy are some essential elements of art creation. Webster’s dictionary defines art as,” something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.” This definition perfectly describes Martin’s sculpture. We could argue about the beauty of the piece but important ideas and feelings do exist because it is a commemorative piece of art. In addition, the imagination and skill that went into creating this piece of art is undeniable. To look at fragments of old farm equipment and see a massive unassembled bicycle requires creative vision, imagination, and ingenuity. This is the essence of art. The ability to visualize something in your mind and then create it out of physical bits and pieces is a skill that takes time to master. I believe you cannot and should not try to rush art. This particular piece required more than conventional art techniques. Welding was another skill needed to manufacture this piece of art. Sturdy fabrication was needed to ensure the piece would be safe to display in a public place and function as a reliable park bench. Patience along with a steady hand was also crucial to the creation of this artwork. The elements that went into its creation designate it as art but its placement makes it public art.
The sculpture is certainly considered public art because it is placed right alongside the busy river walk in West Sacramento. It is also located at the foot of the Tower Bridge on the opposite side of Old Sacramento. The bridge is a main thoroughfare for bicyclists commuting to the Downtown area. This area also appeals to sightseers and visitors on a daily basis. The location allows the public to enjoy the sculpture but its location isn’t the only detail that makes this sculpture public art. The installation of this piece required the effort of many individuals. This public art piece, like many public art pieces located in city parks, had to be approved by city officials before its installation. Heavy equipment and planning was needed to install the one-ton sculpture. The plans to install the sculpture/bench were coordinated by Carol Davis, a friend of the Yokoyama family. The efforts of Mrs. Yokoyama, city officials, family friends, heavy equipment operators, and others make this installation project truly a public undertaking. Therefore, it remains public art that adds to the environment.
It is easy to appreciate how the presence of this sculpture enhances the public space it occupies when you think about who is exposed to it. As stated before, the sculpture is next to the river walk. Many people use the river walk on a daily basis. The sight of the unusually large bicycle has the ability to inspire conversations. Many people talk about the big and obscure bicycle. Because it also functions as a park…