Visual art teachers work side job together

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In his backyard, Glen Barefoot finalizes the tiki by painting on a wood appearance. This sculpture was designed for a hotel in Sarasota. Barefoot said, “I find the environment a little more positive than I would find in a regular gallery environment.”

Visual arts teachers Glen Barefoot and Paul Barker experimented with styrofoam for the first time. Careful not to cut too deep, they created their very first Polynesian style tiki for a Bak fundraiser, inspiring them to sell tikis outside of the school.

The school asked Barker and Barefoot to create tikis for the fundraiser, even though they originally did not know how. After hours of developing their method with the new materials, they put the new skill to use as a side job

The duo evolved their process since the start. They began with a large piece of Styrofoam that they shape with large creative tools, before moving to small equipment so they can start carving. Finally, they paint details on it to make the tikki look like it’s made of wood.

“You can’t cut corners. You have to make sure you do all the steps well each time,” Barker said.

Barker used to be a general contractor, and Barefoot was a cabinet maker, so they still use the skills they learnt there.

“We have skills outside the normal teaching skills. We’re employable in other words,” Barker said

For almost 30 years now, Barker and Barefoot teamed up on various art projects. They relied on each other for their information and help.

“I don’t think I could share my classroom with anyone else because my desk becomes his desk and his desk becomes my desk,” Barker said.

Barefoot, aware of the dangers of using materials like resins and styrofoam were for the environment, was careful with how he used them.

“I make things on purpose, because I know they’ll stay around a long time,” Barefoot said.

After starting this side job, it brought the duo closer.

Barefoot said, “We get in trouble together, and this is just our current mishap. I’m sure we’ll go on to build dune buggies.”