Outdoor sculptures are vulnerable to deterioration from environmental effects such as weather, pollution and neglect. Exposure to acid rain, bird and animal droppings, and decomposing leaves are just a few examples of the uncontrollable risk factors outdoor sculptures face.
Debbie Bakel is a patineur specializing in indoor and outdoor aluminum and bronze sculptures, and she who works with foundries, cities and over 200 individual artists with pieces all over the world. She cleans about 500 sculptures per year and until recently, like most modern patineurs, typically first applied a sealer and then a wax coating. This method also usually requires a sculpture be washed and re-waxed on a yearly basis.
While cleaning the city of Sheridan, Colorado’s, collection, an artist recommended Debbie investigate working with Nyalic as a protective coating instead of the traditional lacquer and wax finish. She was hooked from her first Nyalic test on a faded sculpture that she saw come back to life with new, vibrant colors.
Soon after she was commissioned to patina artist Lorri Acott-Fowler’s aluminum 14 foot sculpture “Peace,” and Debbie applied Nyalic as the protective coating. “Peace” was installed in New York City, and one year later Superstorm Sandy roared through. The sculpture was caked in so much dirt and debris that no colors were even visible. The sculpture was taken to Debbie's studio in Colorado for cleaning and restoration, and based on her experience with lacquer and wax, Debbie thought she would definitely have to re-seal the entire piece. She started cleaning the sculpture with soap and water, and as she describes "I was blown away. There were only five small areas that needed touching up and the rest of the piece was good to go. It was unbelievable."
Debbie now seals all aluminum sculptures with Nyalic, and recommends the protective coating to colleagues who work with industrial outdoor sculptures.
She praises the one step application process with Nyalic's aerosol cans. To ensure Nyalic reaches every available surface, Debbie advises that fellow patineurs slightly warm the sculpture first, so the metal expands to a slightly larger size than what it will be when it sits outside. When the sculpture cools, Nyalic flexes, doesn’t crack, and is in position to protect every corner and crevice.
Debbie says, "sculptures are made out of many different materials, and Nyalic is a good application for all of them."