John Martini’s unique sculpture titled Head2Head consists of two pieces commonly referred to as the Bluehead and Redhead. From a model consisting of faces flame cut into ½” thick steel plate and standing about 16 inches tall, we enlarged the sculpture to its super life sized rendition. The sculpture can be seen just north of the Sloan Avenue exit (exit 65) along Interstate 295 in Hamilton, New Jersey. It sits along the southbound lanes. The larger of the two pieces, the Bluehead, extends thirty feet from crown to neck and is as much as 23 feet wide. The Redhead is a little over 17 feet wide and 27 feet tall. Both pieces are only 6” thick. The Bluehead is estimated to weigh 50,000 pounds and the Redhead, about 40,000 pounds.
Part of our challenge in designing this piece was to emulate John Martini’s artistic mode of slicing through solid steel without requiring the massive, unwieldy and expensive artwork that would result if it were formed from a single piece. Our solution was to design a sandwich of ½” plate enclosing solid 5” thick steel elements with additional ribs to ensure the entire sculpture acts as a single unit. Cuts to create the facial features were formed in the solid parts while the unbroken areas consist of ½” plate and stiffening ribs. The sandwich construction permitted splicing of the pieces with countersunk bolts and reduced the total weight to less than a one-third of what it might have been. The Redhead is formed from two segments and the Bluehead from three segments. Both sculptures rest on a galvanized steel framework that is in turn supported by four, 36-inch diameter concrete piers. In fact, each corner of the framework does not rest on the piers, but is supported by just four, one-inch diameter rods that allow for adjustment.