I’m very pleased to say that it has been a long time since I’ve had good clean failure in the shop. Unfortunately today I broke my streak. I’ve always said that failure is a necessary aspect of learning and now its time to eat my words. I’ve had this little brass corkscrew figure in the works for quite some time. I’ve just been working up the nerve to build it into a machine using an old wind up record player motor. The trouble with these is that they produce very little torque. I believed I had worked around this by adding a gear box which would reduce speed and increase torque. Unfortunately after many hours of fiddling I have to admit that the motor just isn’t up to the task. The piece will eventually work out, I just have to use an electric motor, and return to the ambition of a spring powered one another day.
If you’re familiar with my work then you know I have a fascination with dioramas. I’ve been meaning to get back to making work based on this theme, so on a recent trip to New York I made sure to visit the Museum of Natural history. I had spent part of the previous day visiting the MOMA and left there feeling pretty bleak. Unfortunately it seems that the more time I spend making art, the less connection I feel to art museums. The Natural History Museum was an entirely different story. The countless fabricated worlds of past and present totally blew me away. Here was a place where skill and artistry were being employed to really inspire and awe the viewer. I was really impressed with the variety of techniques used to create these enclosed worlds, backdrop painting, mirrors, lighting and so on.
Shown here are just a few moments that really stood out for me.
Here is another fetishized mercury switch for a new piece. I have a collection of these things and every once in a while I can’t resist building one up like the jewel I think it is. This one, like so many others spent its life sealed up in a dreary thermostat. Shine little blob of mercury, shine.
Goli Mohammadi wrote a very thoughtful and thorough article about my studio/gallery collective “Lost & Foundry” for issue 34 of Make Magazine. Our combined interests in making, sharing and promoting art are discussed as well as personal profiles of myself, Jeremy Mayer, Christopher Palmer, and Alan Rorie.
The people at Make have been hugely supportive of artists and makers like myself over the years and it is a pleasure to have our story told in their magazine.
Here is a link to a partial web preview of the article:
I’m pleased to share these images of two of my sculptures (“Cycloptopus” and “Doubtful“) on display in the windows at Barneys New York in San Francisco (77 O’Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94108). They will be installed for about three weeks.
I’m in the unique position to find myself performing repairs on a robot penis. Recent storms and high winds conspired to emasculate my sculpture “General Debris” outside his home in Santa Rosa CA. Fortunately the damage was minor and he’ll be whole again in no time.
For those who still have not seen this Saturday Night Live music video (link below), it sums up my feelings pretty well (NSFW)
I’m pretty excited about this little piece. The mechanism turns some cranks inside each of the film canister “heads” causing them to sort of yawn, and grind their zipper teeth. Expect LEDs inside the eyes etc.
I first used one of these canisters in my piece “Head Case #2“.
I recently made the decision to mount a large panel meter in a wooden radio cabinet for a project I’m working on. I wasn’t pleased with how the square edges of the meter clashed with the curved lines of the cabinet though. This image shows some of the steps involved in making the two elements work better together. I’m still debating whether or not to paint the meter with black wrinkle paint, or leave it bare. We’ll see…
Oh yeah, and the “eyes” were once indicator lights, but now have little numeric counters installed. When powered they will display rotating digits.
It’s pretty unusual for me to find myself making multiples of parts. Lately I’ve been working on a figure that will have four arms, so I’ve had to make an exception. Shown here are the individual pieces that will make up the shoulder joints. The motor mounts and cranks will come later.
A short while ago Michael Sturtz gave me a nice old radio. You can see from the “before” image on the left that its face had been damaged. Upon seeing it I immediately worried that it would displace the head I had been developing for a large scale figure I was working on. Well, this turned out to be the case. The radio has since evolved into some kind of Chihuahua / Bat / Monkey creature. I’m currently working on a little machine that will cause the eyebrows to pivot back and forth on their center.
The good people at Recology just sent me this image of my work on display in the United terminal at the San Francisco Airport.
It’s part of a large exhibition of work done by their artists in residence over the years.
“We are pleased to announce that The Art of Recology will open March 16 in the United Terminal at the San Francisco International Airport. The exhibition presents over one-hundred pieces made by forty-five artists during their residencies at Recology. Artwork was selected by airport curators and will be on exhibition through October 27. The Art of Recology is located past security so can only be viewed by those traveling, but if you find yourself flying United soon, allow some extra time to view the exhibition.”
I just finished up a little trophy deer head commission. In a slight departure from similar works I left the original Craftsman sander info plate on the nose. It makes it easier to identify the found object nature of the piece. I’m pleased with how it turned out.
I’m working on a new large piece that I would like to have four arms. This is tricky because it means finding twice as many matching parts as usual. I think I’ve settled on a design I like that I can replicate. It consists of bean scoops, table legs, pipe elbows, coffee pots, and some strange industrial wooden spindle things I cant identify. Ideally the wrists, elbows, and fingers will have a little bit of adjustability so that each arm can have a slightly different pose.
I’ll be giving a free lecture about my work and process tomorrow evening (Thursday, Feb. 28) for the Stanford Design Program. It will be from 6-7pm in building 550 on the Stanford Campus.
Click here, or on the attached flyer for more info.
Assuming I don’t totally blow it I’ll post video when its available.
The other day my neighbor gave me this crazy old bit of medical science. I just love the range of functions on this thing. Finally I can have sinusoidal feet, whatever that means. Just take care not to vaporize them.
CTP gave me these incredibly cool bomber pilot map lights a while back. You can change the output from a clear amber light to blood red by rotating the lens. It has always been my intention to incorporate them into a sculpture as eyes. Its finally looking like I’ve got just the right project in the works to do this. We’ll see…
Here is a pretty cool wide angle photo that Gregory Hayes took several weeks ago for an upcoming article in Make Magazine. In addition to my motorcycle project, if you look close you can see “Mandolinsect” and “Djinn” in various stages of development on the workbench, as well as some other pieces that have yet to be defined..
Saturday was Lost & Foundry Oakland’s open house. It was our best attended event yet! I can’t thank everyone enough for participating, and coming out to support us!
I’ve posted a slideshow of photos here for those who couldn’t make it.
305 Center Street, Oakland CA Saturday Feb. 9 from 6 – 10 PM
Facebook event here.
So, I made these legs a few years back. They were an early attempt for my Minotaur sculpture. The proportions didn’t work out for that piece, but I held on to them in the hopes that some day I’d find a good use for them. Last week I found this old radio and I’m hopeful that I can make them work together.