Archive for September, 2009

27 Sep

September 28, 2009

Blog 4

Good morning, friends. Sorry I posted so late. It has been a hectic week. Wednesday through Friday, I worked in my studio. I got a lot done. My ejection seat has the base and sides all glued up and stands on its own now. I am currently sifting through my junk collection looking for details that I can use once it is painted.

I had an order of Legos show up Friday to finish my gun for the MaMoPCA show on the seventh floor. That goes up October third. Pieces are starting to come in. Contact Joe Leroux or myself if you want in. Hopefully, my student loan will pay out this week and I can begin ordering Legos for a life-size missile that I have been working on. I need approximately eight hundred bricks to build it.

On October 17th, I will be conducting a performance at the Lab space in the Lofts. It will be “Human Battleship.” I was shooting for a bit later to no avail. I have since ramped up my efforts to full power. There are walls to be built which I began cutting lumber for this past weekend. I have completed two game piece objects and have began to test paint and cleanup for the concrete floor. My partner, Angie has been scouring resale shops for gray sweat suits. I hope I get good documentation as this is pretty labor intensive for a thirty to fifty minute performance. It will be a great time though! I still need eight more players so please email me if you can participate.

Friday, My family and I went to Appleton to see Aris Georgiades’ show and listen to his lecture. It was a great time. His work is one of the reasons I wanted to come to Madison in the first place. I could not believe his C.V. The Art Director spent eight minutes just hitting the “highlights” of Aris’ resume! His slide show was very enjoyable illustrating not just the professional studio and installation shots, but also great documentary images of work in process and aged shots. Angie was unable to stay for the lecture as our two-year old, Reyah wanted to give her own lecture in the auditorium.

07 FJ Cruiser

Sunday, I spent about three hours filming shots that I need for a performance piece in my non-static class. I have some previous filming experience from my first college and was reminded quickly as to the intricacies of directing children on a set! It was pretty entertaining. We would set up a shot and call “action” then one of the kids would walk in front of the camera or toss a toy that lands in the shot. We had six children and one dog on each set. I need to check close on my daily as I think that one clip as a black lab tail flicking into the bottom of the screen. I lost my cell phone on Sunday while the kids were playing at a pumpkin patch. When Angie returned, she informed me that it had been charging in my truck all day. The video camera was dead and I plugged it in to the outlet in our Landcruiser and turned on the AC power. The camera turned on for about seven seconds then died. My truck’s battery was dead now too. 2 dead batteries! I caught Ang and her sister before they left to the shoot location so that they could jump the truck. Our oldest daughter, Asyntha came up from Missouri for the weekend to visit and help. We unloaded the props and equipment at our first location and set up for our first scene. My daughter left in the Landcruiser to practice her driving skills with her aunt. As we cued the camera for the first scene, it was dead again. Ugh! Angie ran after the truck but could not catch them. We decided to play until they returned. My camera was not taking charge on the truck circuit so every shot was made tethered to the outlet in the back of the truck.

I was working with Dale last week on another video that I am using for a projection in a group piece. It will end up in the Seventh Floor Gallery next month. It is a war projection. I have no idea if the piece will be successful. It is different from how I usually work. We will see. 🙂

Friday, My family and I went to Appleton to see Aris Georgiades’ show and listen to his lecture. It was a great time. His work is one of the reasons I wanted to come to Madison in the first place. I could not believe his C.V. The Art Director spent eight minutes just hitting the “highlights” of Aris’ resume! His slide show was very enjoyable illustrating not just the professional studio and installation shots, but also great documentary images of work in process and aged shots. Angie was unable to stay for the lecture as our two-year old, Reyah wanted to give her own lecture in the auditorium.

As I went to pick up wood at the lumberyard, Saturday, my mom sent a message asking if I could build a new dog house for our family dog, Georgie. I told her no problem. I was getting kind of bored this weekend and needed some more blood sweat and tears to top it off. It was my own fault. I could have talked her into just repairing the roof and patching a couple of corners or even building a copy of her old house. Instead, My daughter and I designed a modern piece of canine architecture. This seemed like a good idea Saturday evening. By three Sunday, as I was removing a roof joist for the fourth time, I began to question the idea of claiming that I had permanent nerve damage in my right arm and would never be able to lift a saw again. By six in the evening my nephew was finishing insulating inside the house and we got the roof on. I have to admit, it is a pretty pimp doggy-domicile. It has an angled roof cantilevering into a porch with a dormer projecting from the opposite angle with a working window vent for the summer time. We sided some of the walls with tounge-and-groove recycled from the old dog house. I wanted to keep some of the original smell as she freaked out the last time she had a brand new house. I also reused her front door to keep it familiar.


emons airplane

Now, the original plan for the weekend was to drive to my hometown to pick up stuff to bring back to Madison. So, after a four hour drive early Saturday morning, a one and a half hour wait at a shopping mall for my daughter, a three hour tour in the lumber yard, an hour trip to haul lumber twelve miles (don’t ask), meeting with my in-laws to unload stuff out of their car, getting them a hotel, making it to the bar for pizza and the Cardinals game, getting up early to track down tools to build a dog house, surviving the video ordeal, and pre-cutting wood for the battleship piece, we finally began loading the truck for our trek back north. We actually loaded up a sculpture that I had been working on this summer to bring to the studio as well as my welding table. So, as I was writing this blog, We had the interior of the Landcruiser stacked to the gills with stuff, gifts, more stuff, a baby somewhere in the backseat. The trailer was in tow with another two thousand pounds of art stuff. We were being blown all over interstate 51 as we tooled along at sixty miles per hour watching the lightning and checking updates for the tornado watches issued earlier in the evening. I bet I rest very well tonight. Thanks for reading! Log in next week for more adventures of The man that could build stuff.

Week 3 Critique

September 21, 2009

20 September 2009




Good day folks! It has been another enjoyable week.  My family and I are finally settled in.  Everything is out of boxes and somewhat organized.  There are a couple of missing items but at least I have two rolls of duct tape and a hammer.  Got some work moving along in my studio.  Speaking of, it was nice to have everyone on the Friday meet over to visit. The studio visits were a great idea. I have enjoyed getting out and about to learn where people are making it happen.  Patrick’s print demo was amazing. I don’t believe the texture and detail that he is getting from his processes.  Creativity soars when there is such a mastery of processes.  It allows a person to get totally into the piece as the technical skills are second nature.

            A couple of other notes before I get to the art of critique: My family and I went to the Willy Street Fair Sunday afternoon. There was such a great spirit there. We all dug it. We donated to the W-street garden and got some free bulbs so that we can have some of our own fleurs next spring.  Our two-year old, Reyah enjoyed all of the live music and later we had an early meal at the Thai place. It was delicious! If you ever go to their restaurant, I recommend the Chicken Patay. On the walk back, I realized that I missed my small group meeting. I felt bad about it. It was the first weekend that I was in town. I have now enlisted my phone alarm to send a message every Sunday at 4.


            On to Critique: As many of us have come to expect, Elkins switched back and forth several times telling us that critiques inform the student well and that critique are of little help to the student. He told us that many artists judge too quickly during a critique as well as they take too long as students nibble around the formal features.  I sometimes wonder if it would make more sense to begin at the end of an Elkins chapter and read each paragraph working my way forward. I understand his point that art is unclear to teach. I guess that I sometimes want a more confident opinion from a writer.

            Now to experiences: I have always enjoyed critiques as a way to step away from my work at get some reaction on how it reads to the audience. I will share a couple of quick critique experiences that I have had.  My “best” critique was probably in an advanced drawing (contemporary mark making) class that I had with an amazing professor, Brigham Dimick.  I did work on folded paper airplanes, which I still use in various forms in my work. We had to do a site-specific piece and I installed an eight foot long wood framed plane in the engineering building adjacent to the Art & Design building. Skinning and sealing time led to an all-nighter at the art building. As people showed up to their studios the next morning, I recruited some people to help hoist the piece up to the ceiling beams.  The hangers that I had pre-cut the night before were too short and so was my time. I burst into action “flying” to The Home Depot to get more anchor cable and crimps.  Time was up when I ran into building and dropped the supplies off with my cohorts. As I left, I was tired, sweaty and still freaking out because we had not yet located a pair of cable cutters.  I ran back into the art building searching for a decommissioned stairwell that another student had installed in. It was a horrible critique for both the class and the student as they told her it looked shoddy and like it was installed at the last minute (which it was on both accounts). As I nursed a Red Bull, the student rambled on defending her work when the instructor decided the crit was over. Hoping to see outside pieces next, we took off through the building.  At the front door we realized that it began pouring rain. The instructor decided to post-pone all outdoor crits for the day and go directly to the engineering building to see mine. Ugh! As we walked in, the piece hung proud just like the angle of my hand as I described it too my friends. As for them, they were walking out of the building with a 24 foot ladder and a bucket  of tools as the class entered. It turned out critting very well and I got great feed back and ideas for future pieces.


            My worst critique was probably my BFA review with my instructor and art director my last semester. Long story short, I had 15 pieces set up on display (another all-nighter) for my final review. The faculty enjoyed two of the pieces more than everything else and decided that I should produce another 8 pieces to go with them- one week before my show! I spent an hour after class walking through the woods trying to figure out what had just happened. I worked the following seven days sleeping only taking cat naps on the couch in the studio. It all ended up really good. I was thrilled (then celebrated at the “art” bar and slept for 15 hours).

            My wildest critique was in the advanced drawing class with Professor Dimick. I had been commenting on the violence of world religions and had two pieces that one or two classmates found offensive.  One was a wooden alter-piece displaying bible pages (real ones) that folded themselves progressively into an airplane that was flying out of the alter-piece. The other was a wall-projecting piece of two fighter jets. One was an F-16 made from bible pages and the other was a MiG-25 made from Koran pages.  The crit lasted for an hour as the class and instructor engaged me in an all encompassing debate. Some classmates debated each other, some with me. Overall it was a great crit. The entire class was highly involved and I received more feedback than ever.

      It should not take a provocative display to get feedback, I don’t think. The critique process should be used as a tool where everyone is involved and on both sides of the podium. Crits that do not go well when people wait around for someone else to begin talking. If people are willing to discuss your work then you should not hesitate to discuss theirs when they are in the hot spot. And rule #1 in critiques: do not try to over explain your work to make up for lack of effort. If the piece is not really complete, just tell us that you are still working on it. Don’t ramble about Post-Contemp crap unless it fits logically into your body of work.

     One last note:  3rd year sculptor, Joe Leroux and I are putting together a show called Curator Killas. It will be in the display case on the 7th floor by sculpture. (also known as the Madison Museum of Post-Contemporary Art, or MaMoPCA). Call ads are up at Humanities. Contact one of us for more information. 🙂



            That is all for now, Everyone take care and I’ll see you in class.



13 September 2009

September 14, 2009

13 September 2009

F22 paper


Wow! What a crazy week! I spent last week going to meetings, working in the studio, looking for jobs, and looking for a place to live. It was a pretty tall order but everything seems to be coming together.

Everyone is welcome to my studio. It will be featured in the tour this Friday when we go to the Humanities Building. My studio is in 7331 at the end by the tool cabinet. It is a charming little work area with modern amenities featuring a sink, coffee pot and my own ventilation system. It is a cross between an antique store and a back lot workshop. My Grandfather was a master craftsman and a lot of my work space hearkens back to when I was a young’un spending afternoons in my Grandpa’s re-purposed Victorian cottage shadowing his every move. Of course, our studios are always a work in progress and I still have some tasks that need completed soon. Some of my tools remain scattered between St. Louis and Madison at various family member’s garages. Later in the week, I brought alot of my pieces that I have been working on to my studio.

Work this week was fun. I am enjoying art more than ever as I have embraced some truths that help inform my work that I used to steer away from as I doubted their validity as art materials. I built a realistic handgun from Legos that I am enjoying. By the way, Joe Leroux and I are working on a mini-show for the display case outside of 7331. It will feature guns made from various materials. We still are ironing out the details. Keep an eye out.  Most of my ideas come from an instruction, sign or observation that is considered too acceptable to contridict.  Warning signs, government instruction publishments and tolerated children’s behaviour are good examples. I also built a paper airplane this week from flight maps and technical data as a study for a projection piece that I am working on this semester. Lastly, I have been working on a child’s ejection seat. It has been enjoyable mocking it up this week. After finally getting my Woodshop class, I will begin this week cutting out the actual parts to assemble it. I was riding around the East Side looking for thrift stores when I stumbled across the perfect infant seat setting on the curb for free! It was one of those lucky and productive days that we love to enjoy.


Eject seat mock up

My context is most general meant to pose facetious cause for societal problems. More on that later.  As far as getting my work out there, I have been applying to shows, gettting about three per year. I am working on my website and making alot more connections to show at. Sometimes my work is public.

I spent some time looking for work this week and that kept me pretty busy. Maybe not pretty, but definitely the latter. I met a guy that did his BFA at UWMad and worked out at Truax field. For random bonus information: he even did the same exact job as me. So, we had a lot to talk about and he had some good information on who to see to get a day or two each week out at the air base. I am also applying for Work Study. We will see what works out.

So, most of the week, I was house hunting. My partner, Angie would update me daily on postings and I would look at each property, search the neighborhood for other rentals. This became a daily exorcise. Since we have a two year old (Reyah), we wanted a nice neighborhood with a yard, nearby park and bike trails. We actually had a stringent list of requirements including proximity to campus and the airport as well as Laundry, house with character, no vinyl siding, near bus route, driveway, free street parking, close to a pub, etcetera. Finally, on Thursday, we were offered a lease on a cool single family, brick house in the Atwood neighborhood. Frickin’ awesome! I was worried that we may have been too picky, but the wait paid off. No more crashing on peoples couches or sleeping in parks! We began moving in Sunday. Such a great feeling.

Our little brick house

Here is some more bonus info: When my lease expired in June, we decided to move in with Angie’s Mom and Step Dad. I was actually pretty nervous about it and had to think it over for a couple of weeks before finally moving in. One month after we moved in, her sister got divorced and moved with her two children back home! Woah! We then had 2 men, 6 females, 9 fish, one turtle and my oldest Daughter who comes and goes at will living in a 3 bedroom ranch with one bathroom. Using the facilities was like going to a barber shop and pulling a number. It will be so nice now to take a leak indoors, especially with Wisconsin winters.

So far this weekend, we have driven 1100 miles. At the time of this writing, I was in the passenger seat trying to type on my laptop as we bounced down the highway with our trailer in tow. My partner and I drove in shifts as we have not had much sleep through the weekend. Our Sunday trip included Angie’s sister who followed us in a pick-up truck. Two hours in to our trip, the pin that secures the tilt mechanism on trailer broke flipping the trailer bed in the air at sixty miles per hour. We quickly decelerated in the middle of the interstate as the rear of the trailer drug us to a stop in a shower of sparks. Luckily, the straps held and we suffered no losses. After her sister, who had been following behind us calmed down, we found some wire and made repairs and were back on the road. Three hours into our jaunt, we realized that someone packed the piece of paper that had the code to our key lock to get into our new house. We maintained our heading, searching through random boxes at each pee stop. We found numbers for the owner and property manager and left messages despite the fact that their offices closed at noon on Sunday. I began drifting in to that distinct uncomfortable line of logical thinking where one considers the most affordable options available when breaking in to your own property. The side door had plate windows, which may or may not have allowed enough reach to the door lock. The basement window seamed a viable option as it could be boarded up easily until we could replace it. As I was contemplating the removing the wooden brick moulding, the manager happened to check messages on his office phone and texted us the lock code.

On a different note, I really enjoyed the informal meeting last Friday. It was nice to hang out and see peoples’ studios. It is crazy to see what different folks do in their space. Marina’s studio was amazing with it’s Zen-like ambience, performance stage and work and relax areas. I felt at peace during my visit. Dale’s space looked like a mad-scientist laboratory. I totally dug (as most people) the electronic sound machine that I can never remember the name of. He has cool toys and some serious skills. I would like to work with him on a project sometime. Dale is pretty sure that I am stalking him now.

On that note, thanks for reading. See you all soon. 

Jason Ervin Sandberg

September 7, 2009

Chillin' in Costa Rica

First Seminar Blog

Welcome to my first blog posting! Though technology is an amazing thing, I am still pretty old-school and would rather converse in person. Posting electronically does make it easier for a group the size of ours. For every hour I enjoy surfing the internet for books, vehicle parts and clips of pole-dancing accidents, I spend another hour fussing with some new program, resizing photos and trying to get Widows Vista to read my Mac files. Hang with me here and we might investigate some interesting stuff.

Starting with my bio, I have two children, been in the Air National Guard for 18 years and am a career student. I am a sculptor. grew up near Decatur, IL in the geometric center of the state. I spent a lot of time customizing cars and making art. I found in school that artistic talent would get me out of study hall which was a much better option as I usually ended up in trouble in a situation like that. I got in with the Drama Club and began painting every back drop for every play and dance that the school had. During proms, it even got me out my normal classes. Art was a positive action that helped me out many times in life. The Principal, Gordon Eckols, who looked like the eagle character off of the Muppets, thought that I was a ne’r-do-well and stuck me in “special needs” study hall my senior year since I had no college plans. The term “special needs” is a P.C. term for the name that it was usually referred to. It was a place to let everyone realize that they were A) not smart or motivated enough for college, or B) not good enough for the basketball team. I actually just needed motivation.

One day during study hall an Air Force recruiter came to speak. She talked about working on jet aircraft and traveling the world. She also said that they would pay for college at a later date. Just my luck! As an adventurer from my first day in Cub Scouts, the Military seemed like a fine solution. I rocked the ASVAB tests, qualified for many technical areas to get a promised position in Aircraft Maintenance. My mother claims that she told me to go to college when I got back from training, but we still dispute that to this day. Senior year came and I was off! Basic Military Training in San Antonio, TX was first, then I traveled to Denver, CO for six months to learn about the weapons systems on the F-16 Fighting Falcon. This was honestly one of the best times of my life. I got out of the small town that I grew up in, got to meet different people and learned how to study. My memorization and test taking skills improved dramatically during Technical School as I did not study much in High School. I lived in dorms with my classmates and got a taste of college. During the Flood of 1993, I traveled all summer eventually ending up in college dorms as a state worker. By five years out of school, I still had not started college. I had traveled to half of the American States for free but still not settled enough to study.

During this time in my early twenties, I had a daughter with my at-the-time wife. She is a great person, we were just young. Together, we started a business that earned pretty good money customizing cars and painting signs. I “lucked” into a decent paying job at an automotive factory where I tried buying every toy that I wanted. I was working sixty hours per week at the factory, twenty five at my own business, and still helping my friend farm a few hours each morning during the harvest season. After burning the candle at both ends for so long, I learned relationship lesson number one: You have to actually see each other from time to time for it to work. Hmm. I had been working with an engineer at the factory for a couple of years. I was hired as a line worker but was doing technical drawings and renderings for this guy, he told me to quit the factory and go back to school. Great idea! I ended up taking a management job a short time later at the factory and within a year, came home and told my wife that I put in my two weeks notice. She freaked! I began making signs full-time and going to college part-time. Within a year or so, we got divorced. I began working on a degree in graphic arts. I figured that it would make me employable. I landed a job for a beverage company. Greatest job ever! I spent my days making ads, meeting with brewery reps, planning promotional events, printing and hanging banners, drinking on company tabs, etc. Much of my work at this time focused on advertising. Making palm trees, designing costumes, and building trade show displays took most of my time. I geeked out for a while and built some Star Wars costumes that you can check out Comrads on . Since I had a job, I decided to work on my Air Force Degree. At this time, the military began deploying more frequently. I had been in school for four years and did not even have an Associates Degree yet!? Ok, I slid out of a couple of deployments (and a couple of sales meetings) and hammered down on school. I soon had my AAS in Aircraft Maintenance, and an AFA in Studio Arts. I was now motivated to dive into a university. After a couple of tries and three deployments to the Mid-East, I got in to Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. I landed in America on Friday and had an apartment by Sunday, and started class on Monday!

At SIUE my work became really focused. Drawing on my experiences in the Air Force and my childhood, I began to develop a cohesive body of work dealing with children and violence. I will finish up exploring this work at UW Madison and probably delve into something new. Most of my work is wood and steel. I sometimes use concrete or paper. Pieces that I create are many times constructed “government style” using lots of rivets brackets and over-engineering. I take frequent jabs at defense contracting practices that are hidden deep in my pieces.

SIUE was a great experience. I told myself that I would finish my BA and that would be enough school for me. Turns out, I had to apply to BFA just to prove that I could rock it out even though I was not going to graduate school. After watching all of your friends start going off to school, one wants to find their own new experiences as well. I was sitting in Iraq for my second tour and decided I would apply to Graduate School. I was motivated and ready to go! Soon after application season was over, I severely injured my back on duty. I won’t go into that here but being unable to work for nine months is hard on the savings account. So, I am at a point now where I am totally motivated for Grad School, and trying to find a creative solution to getting settled into a new city.

This is a good lead in to my hopes and fears as I have been employed for only four months before I moved here. Right now, my greatest fear is destroying our family while in school or destroying my Master’s education. I want both to work out in the end.

Enough about my life, Ask me if I was unclear about anything, We just covered a lot of ground in a short time. Check in next week and we will have some amazing things to talk about. We will talk about ideas and the future! With any luck, our group can slowly chip away at some amazing realizations with our art and make an impact on others. 

Hello world!

September 2, 2009

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