Frank Holder, Artist, Sculptor of Foam
May 14, 2018
Frank Holder Curved Form No. 2
Frank Holder is one of the most innovative customers we have at AeroMarine Products. As an artist, he was already accomplished at metal work, painting, sculpture, and mixed media before he chose to use our urethane foam in a new and unexpected way.
Frank Holder Curved Form No. 7
Mr. Holder has a very impressive background in botany, dance, and as a choreographer. His creative background really comes through in his art, which is full of movement, flow and elegant organic shapes.
Frank Holder Blue Dance Form. This piece sways gently in a breeze.
I visited with Mr. Holder in his colorful studio in Greensboro NC in early March of this year. Outside and inside the studio there were lovely metal sculptures from when Mr. Holder worked in metal, before switching to other sculpture mediums. It was too cold to be working with AeroMarine Products’ expanding urethane foam that day. So, the projects I saw at Frank Holder’s studio were beautiful two dimensional paintings using acrylic paint in a glaze medium.
Current Frank Holder works in progress, acrylic paint in a glaze medium.
AeroMarine Products’ expanding urethane foam is a pourable material is used for flotation and insulation. It is usually applied on boats, in coolers and refrigerators, as insulation and soundproofing in homes, and as a water tight, lightweight filler for many applications. In other words, our two part polyurethane foam is not generally used in fine art. Mr Holder has developed and perfected several techniques for using our urethane 2 part pour foam in sculpture that none of us at AeroMarine Products had ever even considered. Based on Mr. Holder’s work, we will soon post a how-to blog and a video showing how to utilize his unique techniques that he so graciously explained to us.
A brief explanation of Frank Holder’s technique: Using foam board (he prefers blue insulation foam 1 or 1.5 inches thick, cut to 4 feet by 6 feet) covered with an inexpensive plastic drop cloth as a work surface, he pours the mixed foam (about 32 ounces) out in a straight line. By lifting and tilting the foam board he’s able to achieve a fairly even shape. The foam will expand and, at just the right time (still warm, slightly tacky, but not coming away on a gloved hand when touched), Mr. Holder will start at one end, lifting and bending, very gently, the still pliable foam. If possible, he’ll have an assistant working on the other end of the foam. If no assistant is available, he will bend the foam with the flat of his hand around his arms, body, or props like a five gallon bucket cut in half. Once the foam is shape desired, he just has to hold it in place until the foam until it cools and finishes curing. Fortunately, the foam cures in 15-20 minutes.
Once the foam shaped is cured, Frank Holder uses a paddle drill bit and a bread knife to further refine the shape and create more negative space. He finishes with Bondo applied by hand and sanded smooth followed by paint and clear coat. It is clearly a very involved process. However, Mr. Holder says the material lets him know where it wants to go.
Frank Holder Foam Organic Turning Form, a piece in progress. This piece twists and turns in the wind.
Mr Holder hopes that, by sharing his technique, he can inspire other artists, especially young artists, to use this incredibly fun way to sculpt with foam. It’s not the easiest way to work with a material but he says half the battle is learning how to work the foam and it’s limitations. Hopefully, we will be able to cut down on the trial and error for people by sharing his hard earned knowledge!
Frank Holder Curved Form No. 3
You can see all of of Frank Holder’s amazing art on his website,
You can also follow him on Instagram, @frankholderart
We will post a how-to blog and a video of Frank Holder’s technique on our AeroMarine ProductsYouTube channel soon!