Author: Nemo Gould

I just got the mechanism working on a new Nautilus sculpture.  Eventually it will be built in to a diorama for the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  I still plan to add a few more tentacles and install a LED behind the eye, as well as a few other small touches.  I’ve found its best to work out the moving elements before getting lost in the details though.

Just a reminder to anyone in the San Francisco Bay area, my new piece “Armed and Dangerous” will be on display at the Exploratorium through the weekend.  There is an outdoor event that is free to the public on Saturday, and I’ll be hanging around from 11-3 just inside the main entrance (where my sculpture is installed).


Super excited to announce my new piece “Armed and Dangerous” just added to my portfolio!



Armed_and_Dangerous-4 Armed_and_Dangerous-2 Armed_and_Dangerous-7


Here we have a giant, mulit-armed, multi-faced, dual-zombie-powered, mercury-activated, electro-mechanical monster!

Please watch the video above for the full experience, there is a lot going on in this one.

Dimensions: 81″ x 92″ x 26″


Radio cabinets, pool table legs, table top, table legs, coffee pots, pipe elbows, bean scoops, panel meters, truck horns, thread spindles, slide projectors, truck wheel hubs, shoe stretchers, serving tray, chair and lamp elements, mercury switch, water valve handles, motors, LEDs, aluminum scrap, mechanical linkages, etc.





A litte while back I did a piece titled “Zip Synch“.  After it found a home I was approached to make a similar piece on commission.  The client was interested in the thematic value of the little vintage film canister cases and he even managed to source another pair for the project.  In keeping with the theme, the base was built using two heavily modified winding mechanisms from a film editing machine.

The resulting piece was titled “The Conversation”.


I’ve begun work on the main element of one of three diorama projects.  This one will soon be an octopus.  Half of the tentacles will be static, and hold the creature in position.  The other half will move (though I’m not entirely sure how yet).

Big thanks to Tal to donating the odd aluminum gear case that I’m using for the head.


Last weekend I realized a life-long ambition: to go on a road trip solely for the purpose of hunting for bizarre treasures!  CTP and I headed down to the San Fernando Valley region north of Los Angeles.  Besides being rather bleak, the area hosts a wealth of aerospace salvage businesses.  To sweeten the trip even more we stopped at the studio of Tal Avitzur along the way, and managed to round out the hunt with a trip to a barn in the middle of nowhere, and a flea market.  I can’t really describe why I love experiences like this so much, but I feel totally charged up from all the interesting things and places we saw (and hauled back).

Below are a few images from the trip.  The final series shows the weekends haul.  Click any image to see it un cropped and full size.


My upcoming diorama projects have compelled me to re-catalog a good deal of the smaller items in my collection.  A lot of this stuff just settles down to the the bottom of bins, and groups of similar objects drift apart into different areas of the shop.  Shown here are items that I’m hopeful will have futures as cephalopod tentacles and sea-floor life (plants and stuff).  Whatever happens, its fun to see all these treasures laid out side by side.


This image may not look like much but it is very exciting for me.  These three cases will soon hold three large dioramas that I am building for the Monterey Bay Aquarium for their upcoming Cephalopod exhibit.  It’s still a long way off, but eventually the Cuttlefish, Octopus, and Nautilus will each be represented.


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.


MercurySwitchHere 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 myselfJeremy MayerChristopher 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 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 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.


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…

Bomber pilot map light