Posts Tagged ‘wisculpture’

October 18, 2011

As installed on SIUE campus

This is the Enemy!

It has been a busy autumn! The new season began with a trip to Dubuque, Iowa to repair Sinking of the S.S. Innocence. One of the red “kill pegs” was broken off. I had a local manufacturer roll 11-gauge steel to replace all of the pegs. I then welded them directly to the base of the sculpture. It was one of the most beautiful drives I have been on in a while. I suggest to everyone to include the “Driftless” Region of Southwestern Wisconsin if you are ever in the area.
I began the semester trying to locate a specific machine gun to create an art piece that has occupied my brain for some time now. After much stress, I secured the weapon, materials, and a place to fire it. The first part of the series was in the show “Exchange” at the Mosse Humanities building in Madison.
At the Children’s Museum in town, we finally finished the Rockit! exhibit. It is awesomely stellar! Kids are loving it. One can climb in the capsule and just play while ambient music is playing. For older kids, there is a learning curve allowing one to control the beats, melodies and sound effects to create their own songs. It was a long hard year that included two back spasms and one trip to the hospital for a butterfly bandage and a tetanus shot. De-constructing an aluminum airplane and retro-fitting it to accept a new array of electronics and wiring is a head bumping, finger- slicing hair full of drill shavings type of event. It is very nice to see it installed. I would also like to thank my team: Dan Ganch (fabrication), Nadia Niggli (Graphics), The crew from Sony Creative Software, and Matt from NuVibrations for pulling all of the systems together.
On another note, I have been feeling like Richard Serra lately. (not in the famous aspect) There is a group of individuals trying to get a sculpture of mine removed from a park adjacent to their property. The sculpture was formerly installed on the campus at Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville. It was originally funded through a grant from the Gateway Foundation in St. Louis. After its time was up, I contacted my hometown to see if they were interested in it. Blue Mound is a village of 1200 polite Midwesterners that live in an agricultural community. They had recently formed a park district to manage the swim club and the towns two parks. One park contains the following items: Outdoor theater and covered stage, children’s playground, water fountain, pavilion, WWI canon, bathrooms, sidewalks, gates and landscaping. The other park contains: a scattering of trees, and a stream. I proposed that it be placed in the park that had nothing so that people would have something to look at. It is my wish that others would embrace the park and ask the district to move forward with making it a real park. The little “Madison-esque” world that I live in envisions park benches, some winding trails, park benches, a small playground, and a couple of bridges spanning the creek. But there are some problems. Step one, getting a piece of art in the park happened. There was some talk of possibly getting benches and one neighbor told me that they should have a block party at the park. That was the end of the rainbows and unicorns. A couple of residents started filing complaints that the sculpture was ugly, it was reducing the value of their home, and reducing their income as they stared out the window for hours on end deciding how to get the art removed from the park.
Here is what I think the truth is: There are three housing additions adjoining this park. One is a middle class tract on one side of the park. The opposite side has a back addition of very nice homes, with a small front tract of lower rent apartments with one building including Government Subsidized Housing. Due to proximity and a shared road, the Social Class A and C have learned to live with each other. The complaints seem to be coming from the Social Class B side of the park. I believe that they do not want the park developed, because people may actually come use it. I believe that they see the stream as a moat protecting them from “poor” kids getting too close to their property. They claim that it is a flood plain. Yes, and so is the rest of the area. Central Illinois farm country is one of the flattest landscapes in the nation. We know how to properly develop watershed areas now. Since the stream is actually a field run-off waterway, maybe it would be a good time to use a section of this park as an educational experiment that provides good in a variety of ways.
Last week, I was contacted by the Park District asking if I wish for the piece to stay or go. I contacted them sharing my reasons on why art is good, why we develop parks, how that helps children, families, home values, and such for their Monday night meeting. There was also a presentation by one of the board members based on Scientific Research in Virginia showing social and economic benefits of public sculpture.
The leader of the “Remove the Sculpture” organization emailed me today. It was a 9 point, two page email telling me all of the reasons that they hated my sculpture. Which by the way is a twelve foot tall thumbtack painted green that uncomfortably imitates the surrounding trees. They compared it to living next to a livestock farm, alluded to the possibility of erecting something on their property to block the view or maybe even suing to have it removed. The homeowner’s girlfriend told me in shocking detail about the fateful morning that they woke up and saw ART lingering in a city park!
The angry lady told me that we should spend less time making art and educating people in the humanities and more time raising children right and going to church!
AMEN!

Art Updates

October 18, 2011

It has been a busy autumn! The new season began with a trip to Dubuque, Iowa to repair Sinking of the S.S. Innocence. One of the red “kill pegs” was broken off. I had a local manufacturer roll 11-gauge steel to replace all of the pegs. I then welded them directly to the base of the sculpture. It was one of the most beautiful drives I have been on in a while. I suggest to everyone to include the “Driftless” Region of Southwestern Wisconsin if you are ever in the area.
I began the semester trying to locate a specific machine gun to create an art piece that has occupied my brain for some time now. After much stress, I secured the weapon, materials, and a place to fire it. The first part of the series was in the show “Exchange” at the Mosse Humanities building in Madison.
At the Children’s Museum in town, we finally finished the Rockit! exhibit. It is awesomely stellar! Kids are loving it. One can climb in the capsule and just play while ambient music is playing. For older kids, there is a learning curve allowing one to control the beats, melodies and sound effects to create their own songs. It was a long hard year that included two back spasms and one trip to the hospital for a butterfly bandage and a tetanus shot. De-constructing an aluminum airplane and retro-fitting it to accept a new array of electronics and wiring is a head bumping, finger- slicing hair full of drill shavings type of event. It is very nice to see it installed. I would also like to thank my team: Dan Ganch (fabrication), Nadia Niggli (Graphics), The crew from Sony Creative Software, and Matt from NuVibrations for pulling all of the systems together.
On another note, I have been feeling like Richard Serra lately. (not in the famous aspect) There is a group of individuals trying to get a sculpture of mine removed from a park adjacent to their property. The sculpture was formerly installed on the campus at Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville. It was originally funded through a grant from the Gateway Foundation in St. Louis. After its time was up, I contacted my hometown to see if they were interested in it. Blue Mound is a village of 1200 polite Midwesterners that live in an agricultural community. They had recently formed a park district to manage the swim club and the towns two parks. One park contains the following items: Outdoor theater and covered stage, children’s playground, water fountain, pavilion, WWI canon, bathrooms, sidewalks, gates and landscaping. The other park contains: a scattering of trees, and a stream. I proposed that it be placed in the park that had nothing so that people would have something to look at. It is my wish that others would embrace the park and ask the district to move forward with making it a real park. The little “Madison-esque” world that I live in envisions park benches, some winding trails, park benches, a small playground, and a couple of bridges spanning the creek. But there are some problems. Step one, getting a piece of art in the park happened. There was some talk of possibly getting benches and one neighbor told me that they should have a block party at the park. That was the end of the rainbows and unicorns. A couple of residents started filing complaints that the sculpture was ugly, it was reducing the value of their home, and reducing their income as they stared out the window for hours on end deciding how to get the art removed from the park.
Here is what I think the truth is: There are three housing additions adjoining this park. One is a middle class tract on one side of the park. The opposite side has a back addition of very nice homes, with a small front tract of lower rent apartments with one building including Government Subsidized Housing. Due to proximity and a shared road, the Social Class A and C have learned to live with each other. The complaints seem to be coming from the Social Class B side of the park. I believe that they do not want the park developed, because people may actually come use it. I believe that they see the stream as a moat protecting them from “poor” kids getting too close to their property. They claim that it is a flood plain. Yes, and so is the rest of the area. Central Illinois farm country is one of the flattest landscapes in the nation. We know how to properly develop watershed areas now. Since the stream is actually a field run-off waterway, maybe it would be a good time to use a section of this park as an educational experiment that provides good in a variety of ways.
Last week, I was contacted by the Park District asking if I wish for the piece to stay or go. I contacted them sharing my reasons on why art is good, why we develop parks, how that helps children, families, home values, and such for their Monday night meeting. There was also a presentation by one of the board members based on Scientific Research in Virginia showing social and economic benefits of public sculpture.
The leader of the “Remove the Sculpture” organization emailed me today. It was a 9 point, two page email telling me all of the reasons that they hated my sculpture. Which by the way is a twelve foot tall thumbtack painted green that uncomfortably imitates the surrounding trees. They compared it to living next to a livestock farm, alluded to the possibility of erecting something on their property to block the view or maybe even suing to have it removed. The homeowner’s girlfriend told me in shocking detail about the fateful morning that they woke up and saw ART lingering in a city park!
The angry lady told me that we should spend less time making art and educating people in the humanities and more time raising children right and going to church!
AMEN!

The Countdown…

April 13, 2011

Hello, all!

Wisconsin politics are in the courts now and I have been working on the sculptural installation for my M.A. Show. It will be on April 30, in front of the Art Lofts on 111 N. Frances St. in Madison, WI. I was just getting ready to change venues and order cards, when I finally got approval to shut down the street that night. My cards are coming this week. At least it will be fresh in everyone’s memory. I worked with my fellow artists, Dale Kaminski, and Andrew Sawler on my imagery. I wanted to get the context just right. We chose an image of a 9=year old on a flight line near some jet fuel tanks. Some details were ‘shopped out and others enhanced. We paid close attention to the position of his eyes, and the position of the text. I will just post it. Feel free to critique my postcard. Even Better, come critique my show! It begins at 8:00 pm.

The Myth of Patriotism

I had bounced between a couple of wordier title versions but it began to sound like a doctoral thesis. Leaving “The Myth of Patriotism” is short, effective, and sacrilegious. I want to open more dialogue about patriotism and nationalism. I believe that both are tools for manipulation and power. I often recall the thought that one group’s terrorists, are another group’s freedom fighters. Only with a true discussion can we strip away  layers of the programming that family, friends, community, government and culture as a whole have been applying from the time we were all children. Many of my friends in the military, as well as many family members, would not agree with this but I enjoy a friendly discussion! Logically, nationalism/patriotism does not work out as a productive “ism” in culture. I will leave that alone for now as it is time to go teach then get back in the studio and finish up the mounting system for my feature piece of the up-coming installation.  Peace!

To Mother Earth

December 23, 2010

So, the end of another semester came. I took a couple of days off to get my mind right before submitting grades. Sometimes you have to separate yourself from the emotional connections to be utterly fair. In my time off, I began working with some artist neighbors of mine to build an Ice Bar. This is great back breaking work for anyone looking to unwind at the end of a semester in the snow belt. We began with a simple Art Deco’ish design in their front yard. The other “forts” that I have built for art pieces are usually well planned and thought out- or at least planned to develop in a certain way. This one was was drafted on the back of a pizza box. Ok, so you think we may have had too many drinks and come up with this. You would be correct on that assumption, but probably not on the next. We followed through and received help from a couple of other friends in the last two days. The fort is now, five feet tall (we are building the ceilings at 6ft), we began casting the windows in ice to install over the holiday, the vintage Preway fireplace is installed, the roofs are ready and last, but not least, the bar is installed. After returning from a Winter Solstice celebration, I felt the need to celebrate, I asked my neighbors to join me, and they suggested that we finish the bar first. So, after 2 more hours of back-breaking labor and 11 more ice blocks, we were polishing the top and popped open a bottle of cab sav to celebrate the solstice just as Mother Earth would intend. Erick documented, and I will get some photos up soon. Tomorrow, we will finish the two top courses on the rear of the fort and install the roofs, (reclaimed box-springs) Erick is installing a thermometer to gauge how warm we can keep it without melting it down. We are currently looking for an animal hide for the door. (please do not kill an animal just for this, there are plenty of hides floating around already). Our next step is to install a strand of holiday lights through bottles inserted in the back wall for some mood lighting. My neighbor, Erica, claims that we should build a snowball trebuchet just in case any of our other neighbors become jealous, or the city attempts to raise their taxes.

As far as my other work, I finished the semester up with a half-dozen new pieces. I am only excited about two of them. I will revisit the large scale toy planes as well as more custom tool boxes. The new year will find me working with my friend, Dale Kaminski on a new projection piece that I am really excited about. Enjoy your holiday, whatever that may be and your new year!

Sandy

Recent Artwork

November 18, 2010

Hello friends,

Sorry I have not blogged in a while. I have been very busy working on my M.A. show. Anyway, If you have not heard, there is a small dispute going on in Wisconsin. The Governor has created a false panic concerning our budget. It is actually an attempt to stick it to the working class. If you are unsure, look up the Wisconsin State Debt on the internet and divide it by the population of Wisconsin and you will find out that if each person sent a check for $1237.oo that we would be out of debt. ( not to count the millions that Walker gave in takes breaks to corporations at the beginning of February). Anyway, in an effort to protest both the Governor’s bill and the lack of creative signs, three of my fellow art students helped build this protest sign. Wisculpture Grads, Sam Isham-Shopfh, and Hongtao Zhou helped frame it up, and metalsmith Erica Meijer helped me finish it and march tonight. Hopefully we will have it out tomorrow when the Tea-Party shows up. The cardboard was provided by Willy Street Coop, and Ace Hardware on Williamson. Thanks to all who helped and to all who have been supporting us and the Badger State.

Hello friends,

Many days, I ask myself “where did all of my time go?” I sometimes search around for the answer over and over until, I decide to get images taken of my work. The photographer sits down with me and asks, “What all do we have to shoot?” My answer always begins by telling them that I don’t have much at all since I have been too busy to make art. I then begin to list all projects personal, private, commercial, institutional… then it comes to me: Fuck! that is where all of my time went.

This summer I was fortunate enough to work at the Madison Children’s Museum. The old Museum on State Street had closed while the new larger building was being remade into a world-class children’s museum on Hamilton St. As an exhibit worker, I got to work at the offsite shop on Washington Square. It was a beautiful shop with all glass windows facing the Yahara River where the Wisconsin Southern Railroad crosses onto the Isthmus. As the staff increased (as well as the size of the projects) We expanded to an adjacent space in the same building that could house its own metalshop while building three large exhibits simultaneously.

It is a great job when they hire you and say they are looking to buy an airplane for you to tear apart and build exhibits out of. I began by building small random items that would be used as counter weights for the high flying dairy between the first and third floors. It was kind of a shake down to get me adjusted and gauge my skills. I then began working on a variety of projects that required child-proofing, special anchoring systems etc. until we got the call… Someone located a slightly wrecked Beechcraft trainer that came with extra parts for a Cessna 152. I found my dream job! I felt like I should have been paying them!  We knew the first project. We had met with an architect and the exhibit director and knew that we had to create a learning station from part of the fuselage. It would be called Tinkerer’s Workshop and children would use it to experiment with simple projects that could be taught in a fast paced public setting.  That is all for today. I will provide more images later with exhibits that I helped with. Nothing is actually mine. Almost every project was a collaboration as the Museum hired or contracted over 100 of the best Makers in the area. It was an amazingly talented group to work with and we truly believe that we could have built anything that could be dreamed with our staff of artists and craftspeople. Have a great day! enjoy the winter. My new website should be running as I am finishing this semester. I changed to Adobe and have to learn HTML now. PEACE!