The man who married plastic and art is dead.
De Wain Valentine, who was so obsessed with finding the perfect resin to create his sculptures that he developed his own material, Valentine Maskast Resin No. 1300-17, died on February 20 at the age of 86.
As a child in Brooklyn in the 1940s, Valentine loved the potential of Plexiglas and polyester so much that he attempted to bake resin in his parents’ oven, according to ArtNews.com.
His desire to combine art and technology led him to work with the former Hastings Plastics Co. in Santa Monica, California to develop materials that would blend into the shapes and textures he imagined.
Maskast resin was a modified polyester resin developed so that he could cast colossal objects in a single pour.
Not that art studios and established artists have understood its appeal.
It wasn’t until 1964 that an art gallery gave him a solo show, and a 1965 stint teaching art at UCLA got him fired, twice, for teaching students how to use plastics rather than paints.
His pieces are now part of permanent collections, including the Getty Museum in Los Angeles which houses his Gray Column sculpture, measuring 12 feet high, 8 feet wide and weighing 3,500 pounds. the Getty has a 30 minute video from 2013 with Valentine talking about her story and the play.