Monday, October 17, 2011

Steve's Desk

I was studying this great photo of Steve Jobs at his desk and noticed this (click for enlarged view)

photo by Diana Walker

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

This is what makes it all worthwhile...

I just finished reading two wonderful emails that I received this morning from some clients, and I feel compelled to say that the best thing about making art is the experience of sharing it and meeting people.  There are some really nice people in this world, and I have met many of them through The Mobile Factory.  Thank you so much!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The John and Yoko of Modern Art

Today marks the 76th birthday of one of the great artists of our time, Christo Vladimirov Javacheff - more commonly known as "Christo".

I first became aware of Christo back in the late 70's after seeing the wonderful documentary "Running Fence" by the Maysles brothers. If you have no idea who Christo is, I suggest that you begin with this film because it really gives you a sense of what his work is all about.  A Christo piece is usually a temporary installation such as a fence, banner, or drape constructed on top of a particular structure or landscape. The sculpture seeks to interact with its environment by hiding certain features while highlighting others, and dynamically changing in response to changes in  environmental conditions. Often, these sculptures are quite expansive in size and require careful engineering to be produced.

For example, Running Fence was an 18 foot-high fence constructed of white nylon fabric supported by cables and steel posts that followed 25 miles of hills and valleys in Northern California on its way to the Pacific Ocean.  From a distance, the fence caught the rays of the sun throughout the day creating a beautiful ribbon of light running along the contours of the landscape.  But the physical sculpture itself, as beautiful as it was, was only one element of the piece.  When you watch the documentary, you begin to understand that Christo is really using his art to engage with the public in the broadest possible way; from early concept, through funding and regulatory approvals, design, construction by volunteers, maintenance, and disassembly, you learn that his work is all about how people interact with art and the artist.  And when you watch Christo get up in front of an audience of ranchers, city officials, and concerned citizens to defend his project, it is impossible not to fall in love with his energy, sincerity, and dynamic personality.  And he looks like an artist should look.

photo by Wolfgang Volz

And if that is not enough to make you love Christo, then I will point out that his relationship with Jeanne-Claude, his wife, is one of the greatest love stories in modern art. Born on the exact same day in different countries, they met at the age of 23 when Christo left Bulgaria to live in Paris as a refugee.  They met and fell in love, but Jeanne-Claude was engaged to another and her parents did not approve of Christo and insisted that the marriage plans be carried out.  They probably did not know that she was already pregnant with Christo's child on the day of the wedding.  After only one week, Jeanne-Claude left her new husband and fled back to Christo, never to leave his side until the day she died in 2009.  Working as a team, they created some of the most unique, dramatic, and inspirational art of the 20th century.   

photo by Andy Carvin via Flickr

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thinking Tool

Olafur Eliasson: "Thinking Tool", 2010. 
Mirror, sunglasses (2 halves/complementary colors). 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Big Red Thing

Few cities have identified themselves with a work of art as much as Grand Rapids, Michigan has with Alexander Calder's sculpture, La Grand Vitesse. Commissed in 1967 and built with funds awarded as the very first "Art in Public Places" program of the National Endowment of Arts, the city has identified itself so closely with the sculpture that it even uses iconic images of it on the city street signs.

Here is a really nice website that showcases an abundance of submitted photos taken of this great Calder stabile and the many ways that the citizens of Grand Rapids enjoy it.  Definitely worth checking out!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bach - performed by a wooden ball

I think that is the best rolling ball sculpture that I have yet seen.  Take note of the method used to create the proper timing for the musical piece.  Very well done and worth watching!


Friday, March 25, 2011


Here's a video of an interesting architectural model created by Rasmus Svingel, produced while he was a student at the Aarhaus School of Architecture in Denmark.

Experiment process model from Rasmus Svingel on Vimeo.

Rasmus describes it as "an investigation of space and program diversity through movement".  The concept for the model was originally created in a digital computer program and then "processed into an analog model".  Rasmus explains that the model is his attempt to study how a structure might adapt to changing needs necessitated by climate, space, etc.

My first impression was an appreciation for the design and beauty of the model, as it resembles some mobile ideas that I have been working on.  When I opened the video to see more, I was delighted to find that it is in fact a beautiful kinetic sculpture - using a series of carbon fibre wires and rubber bands to produce movement.

Be sure to check out more of Rasmus' designs in his online portfolio.  He has some wonderful ideas, and if his career in architecture doesn't work out, I would suggest that he would have a bright future as an artist...a career transition that happens more often than you would expect.

Rasmus Svingel online portfolio

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dan Grayber

Dan Grayber's sculptures look like something you would find in a mechanical engineering lab at some university, or perhaps in an R&D department at Caterpillar, Inc. The abundance of springs, cables, chains, pulleys, thread forms and structural beams painted in yellow makes them highly interesting to look at.  All of them use the physics of compression, tension, leverage and friction to provide mechanisms for the self-sufficient support of each sculpture within its environment. You'll find them wedged inside glass domes, clinging to corners, and stuck into vertical walls. 

I really love how these sculptures first captivate you with their mix of complex beauty and industrial workmanship, and then puzzle you as you try to figure out how all of the pieces function together to make it work.  The punch line comes when you begin to wonder what would happen if a cable or a spring failed, or a rubber pad slipped, and all of the potential energy in the piece was suddenly liberated.  I had to chuckle over one comment that Dan made about one of his sculptures having some "issues with gravity"

Good stuff.  Be sure to check out Dan's website for more....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bongue Amplifier by Studio Toer

I don't quite understand how this "Kinetic Amplifier" works, but I love the way it looks and moves!

See more, including a video here, at MoCo Loco