Giant rubber duck floats around the world

CNC report from Holland
Added On July 7, 2013

The well-known lovely Giant Rubber Duck has captured attention around the globe. The creator of the duck tried to entertain the world by a tour named "Spreading joy around the world".

CNC correspondent have an exclusive interview with its creator, Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman and explored the story.

"This is a small duck, and the one behind me is a little bit bigger. But imagine the same iconic Duck, but then a version of 54 feet tall. I am of course talking about the giant inflatable duck that visited Hong Kong for a month, leading to a real Duckmania.It is time to meet the maker of the project, a Dutch artist who has his studio here in Rotterdam."

Giant Rubber duck is well-known worldwide, but it seems only a few know the artist who create it.

"Well I think everybody can recognize such a duck. I also have such ducks at home and my kids play with it in the bath. So I think everybody recognizes it and that makes it very acceptable and funny, everybody laughs at it."

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman has a big studio near the harbor in Rotterdam. But many passers-by are not aware of what is going on behind the doors.

And the person CNC spoke to, sure knows to explain why the Rubber Duck project is so successful worldwide.

"Well the rubber duck actually connects people in the world by floating on the waters of the world, so the waters of the world are our global bath tub."

And while most of the people seems to know the artist mostly from this project, Florentijn has created many other art works in many places of the world. Enormous creatures in colorful shades, always placed somewhere outside.  

"I have a big imagination,and from my childhood onwards I created big things and I painted big before my art college and during the art college I made big works in public spaces, while other students stayed in their studio and created smaller things, I bought a map of the world in those days and I stickered many home made small rubber ducks, all on this map of the world, so I already had the idea it had to go anywhere."

The history of the Duck is linked to the emergence of rubber manufacturing in the late 19th century. So the design of the popular icon is almost 200 years old. And therefore critics of the Rubber Duck project might say that this work is not very original.

"People have been making pyramids for ages, or big sculptures, that is not new, but what I do is showing people daily life objects in a strange or in a different situation, so it changes perspectives on them, but also on the site. I think that is what my work is about, I want people to look and observe again, because we tend to forget to really observe daily again, because we rush from place a to b, and we eat, we drink, we work, we get up and you know, and I like to pace them down and let them observe again and have some fresh input.

Almost every art work Hofman creates is supersized. The Rubber Duck, for example, is 26 meters high and weights 600 kilo. There is a reason why Florentijn chooses to work in large scale formats.

"The good thing about scaling up works like I do is that we all get smaller, the world gets smaller, but we all get smaller, so it doesn't matter that we are 1.60 or 1.90, your ego is gone if you are in the surrounding of my projects and that makes you free again you know. Free to observe, to think, to wonder about life, about things."

Normally, the Dutch artist only makes site-specific works, which he never repeats, somewhere else. The Rubber Duck project turns out to be the expectation to this rule. It has been running for more than 12 years now.

"Because every time, as a yellow catalyst it shows something else on the site, on the location where it is. It shows political issues, it shows beautiful backdrop, or nature, or problems, or positive things, or you know. I think, and I said that 12 years ago, this project should be running forever, because I want to make the world a smaller place and connect everybody to each other, we are all one family of course, and as long as the world needs this, it will continue."
`Since 2007, the bigger brother of this adorable duck has graced the waters of several cities across the world, including Sydney, Osaka, Japan,France,Sao Paolo, Brazil and Amsterdam. Its next stop is Pittsburgh.