Lin Evola is a conceptual artist who doesn’t work in a traditional medium. Instead, she sticks with her guns.
Since 1992, after the Los Angeles riots, Evola has sought to reduce the number of weapons in the world literally by melting them into large monuments, calling her work the Peace Angels Project.
“What would I use to elevate people’s consciousness? What would I use to give beauty and inspire, that would turn to love and powerful, positive affectation?” says the San Francisco- and Los Angeles-based artist, 69.
On May 31, she received 10 boxes of destroyed weapons from the San Francisco Police Department, the first contribution from law enforcement that will go toward her 1-million-weapons-goal to build a 62-foot globe monument in the Bay Area. Although the exact location hasn’t been determined, she hopes to complete it in four years.
Plans are to make it primarily using the core of a nuclear missile for its stainless steel. A translucent globe, with a peace symbol inside, will sit atop layers of square bases, with statues of humans placed near the edge. And a 100- by 100-foot labyrinth path made of gun metal will be underneath.
“The Bay Area is about taking the destruction of humanity and tipping it on its head,” says the Chicago-born artist, whose 13-foot “Renaissance Peace Angel” sculpture stands in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City. “We have spent so much time in the Bay Area building the future. So this monument, I’m very excited about it because it’s all about the future.”
The Peace Angels Project’s arsenal comes from donations by local law enforcement as well as military and government agencies. Using decommissioned or destroyed street weapons, landmines and remnants of nuclear missiles, Evola — who has worked in real estate and finance and earned a master’s degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1990 — collaborates with metallurgists, recycling companies and foundries to extract the proper metals and shape the sculpture.
Calling herself a symphony conductor, she emphasizes how Peace Angels is more about building meaningful connections than mere sculptures: “Any moron with a blow torch can make something out of piece of metal. It isn’t rocket science, What is difficult, though, is to create those relationships,” she says.
She arrived at her 1 million weapons goal after doing research and realizing that she could “circumnavigate the globe several times with nuclear missiles and keep going.”