Yesterday the New York Times ran an article by Trevor Tondro about the fabulous home of Jonathan and Wendy Segal in San Diego. The impeccable taste of its owners was demonstrated by the placement of two of my smaller pieces: “Psychos-O-matic” and “A Head for Numbers” (Works by Dan Jones were also shown but not credited). Its always a joy for me to see where these pieces wind up, especially when its in homes as lovely as this.
I’m super excited to be able to share final images and video for my series of Cephalopods commissioned by the Monterey Bay Aquarium! The pieces are destined for the upcoming exhibit “Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes,” opening April 12, 2014. These pieces will help tell stories about the impacts that pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction have on these animals. The project has truly been a dream come true for me and I’ll be sure to post images of the pieces once they are installed among real seacreatures in April. I will also be displaying these pieces briefly at an open house event in my studio Saturday March 15th. Stay tuned for details to follow.
In the mean time I’ve posted details of each piece individually: Cuttlefish, Octopus, and Nautilus here on my site, and put together a quick video overview of all three (above). Below is a very cool little video that the Aquarium produced about the making of the pieces as well as a few teaser images of finished pieces:
My piece “Nowhere Fast” was just featured in American Craft Magazine. It’s always a shame when a large piece like this one (6 feet tall) is slipped into a montage with smaller work. It makes it even harder to judge its size. None the less its nice press.
Finished up a pair of new masks in time for Halloween! They are both hammered from flat sheet aluminum, a relatively new technique for me. The glowing eyes on mine are glass taxidermy “Albino Antelope” backed with tiny LEDs. We were referring to ourselves as “Fallen-Angel investors”, but later settled on the simpler “Devils Advocates”.
Wired.com just posted a nice video about a project I played a small role in recently. The task was to create a large gravity powered mechanical sculpture that would display political messages and ultimately stamp dollar bills with slogans (that’s literally the shortest summary I can come up with, watch the video for a better explanation). My job was to produce a mechanism that would cause a cascade of money to fall from a politicians mouth, and then retract. I can’t take any credit for the great paint job, just the behind the scenes stuff.
I’ll be showing a piece along with Mark Galt and Benjamin Cowden tonight (6-10PM) at the California Academy of Sciences. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, tix are $12. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend checking it out. They have a terrific aquarium, natural history dioramas, and all in a pretty terrific building.
Working on a mask from sheet metal. Part of the motivation in my motorcycle project was to pick up some new techniques that could be applied to art. I’m not thrilled with this piece so far, but I can see the possibilities opening up.
It seems that the folks at Google changed their logo to honor “Little Nemo in Slumberland” today. Fun fact: My parents named me after this wonderfully surreal cartoon and not Jules Vernes Captain Nemo. Fun fact #2: In latin, Nemo means “He who is without name” or “anonymous”.
Mounting solution for gauges. The temp gauge is the original stock one mounted in a random vintage housing I had laying around. Pure luck that it fit so well. I just had to black out the face and apply colored stickers to indicate the temp range.
Early stages of motorcycle fairing.
It would be a stretch to say I’m getting “good” at this, but I’m at least beginning to see how it works. To me, a new skill is only enjoyable once I’ve reached the point where I can improvise with it. Up until now I’ve felt totally at the mercy of what the metal was willing to do. Now at least I feel like I’m gaining some control.
So, the bike project needed headlights. I came across a set of projector headlights from a car. Once free from their plastic tombs I set about building mounts to fit them to the bike. The result looks pretty good, and I think they have enough adjustability to function well. Next up, front fairing…
I definitely underestimated the difficulty in my tail light concept. I had planned to simply back the slots with strip LEDs. Turns out these are nowhere near bright enough. The solution was a hacked pair of LED car tail lights. Same light source, but each cell is encased in a tiny reflector cone which greatly increases the visibility (and they were pre-wired for two brightness levels). Needless to say the original plastic housings were not eager to play nice with my aluminum tail shape. Bandsaw, belt sander, zip ties, and some custom brackets and I can finally call it a success.
I had to make a funny overhead support arm to help hold my TIG torch for this project. I’m really glad I did too, taking the cord weight off the torch makes a huge difference in getting consistent welds.
So, I haven’t posted anything in a while but I’ve had a good reason. The image here may look a lot like a motorcycle, but it isn’t. Well, it is, but it’s a lot more. It’s a first step towards breaking my total dependence on found objects for source material.
Waaaay back when I first started making things in metal I went with found things because I didn’t have the skills to make the shapes that I wanted to. This project represents my first attempt at building forms from sheet stock. It’s a steep learning curve, but I’m beginning to see the way it works. I figure that by the time I build all the body work on this motorcycle (the tank is coming along nicely) I’ll have developed the skills to apply this technique to sculptures. I’ve had a lot of false starts, and a lot of material has wound up in the scrap bin, but stay tuned, things are starting to flow now.
Thinking of going with an old airplane theme for my bike project. Feeling pretty good about this plan to join two upside down windscreens to make a fairing that looks somewhat like a bomber nose. Bear with me if I change direction, it’s still early.
I’m excited to have finally begun my motorcycle project! I was given a Honda CX500 in poor condition as a starting point. My plan is to rebuild the tank and body work from aluminum sheet. This is a process I have always wanted to learn but have little experience with. To get over the vertigo of not knowing where to begin, I’m roughing out design possibilities with styrofoam. No telling how many attempts it will take before I eventually get a form worth translating into a metal pattern. Bear with me, this one may take a while.
Yesterday I made the mistake of saying “I kinda want to build some models of shapes to make patterns from. Maybe out of styrofoam, but where am I gonna find a huge chunk?” Then Jeremy says “Oh, theres one on the curb a block from here”.
So now I am the proud owner of a huge block of styrofoam. I had to whip up a 13 volt hot wire cutter to process it into manageable pieces. Next up is a smaller, more precise cutter to do detail work.