Here is an update from a few weeks ago. I had talked about expanding my original AR645452222344 prototype into an edition using various metals and finishes, and now here we are with a completed six piece set. Each is an inverse pair using the three main red metals in my Pallet.
Here is the latest entry in my ever growing list of machined sculptural works. Depending on how you count things, this one is #87.
I thought I would end the year working on two major pieces. This piece split off from a design I am currently in the process of building. I began fabricating both of them at the same time as they have a lot of overlapping machining processes, but I was able to complete this one much sooner.
Usually when I post about a new sculpture, I tend to keep my comments very factual and technically oriented. I rarely stray into conceptual territory when talking about specific works because most of my ideas relate to the body of work as a whole, rather than being strictly pinned to any singular piece. I thought I would deviate from this for a change and touch some things I have been thinking about.
I have been showing around early images of this piece, and as is sometimes the case, I have been getting a number of comments about how alien/sci-fi it looks to a few people. This does not necessarily bother me, and I certainly understand why this is sometimes the case. But I'd like to use this as an occasion to talk about this phenomenon, because depending on where you stand, this comparison can be problematic. Not just problematic for me as an artist, but for others who might see the work very differently.
First of all, I should say that it has never been my intention to explicitly make anything that could be classified as art deco, sci-fi, steam punk, or ray gun gothic. Not that I see anything wrong with any of these genres, it is just not the direction that I come at this from. I am quite ok with the knowledge that many people relate to the work in this manner, but I go out of my way to present my work in a neutral way so as not to steer interpretation in any single direction. I am glad that it brings people pleasure to view my work, no matter the context they bring to it.
But as I am sure many artist can relate, being categorized wholesale into one niche or another is never what one wants for their work. H.R Giger being the perennial example of an artist clearly marching to his own drummer, while for better or worse, cultivating a very large, Sci-fi centric following. He no doubt would want to be remembered for more than just his role in creating a few creature features in the late seventies/early eighties.
Part of the dilemma for me comes from wanting to make sure my art is judged on its own merits and isn't mischaracterized, but it is also the case that there persists a bias (in certain circles anyway) that from a fine art perspective, having your work labeled as steam punk or any of its counterparts, can be seen as a largely negative thing.
The argument (correct or not) is based on the assumption that sci-fi themed work is derivative and implies some sort of creative laziness on the part of the artist. That it is either a contrivance with niche appeal or some otherwise less than noble exercise of the mind. Unfair as it may be, it is simply looked down upon by some as being a bit low brow and not to be taken seriously as fine art.
I have a hard time with this, as there are no doubt plenty of examples that test this idea. Given the cultural overlap and genre mixing prevalent these days, I also suspect it would be near impossible to draw a distinct line between what does and does not fit this category in the first place. Assuming one of the criteria is that of the artists intent, whether or not I should concern myself with someone else's value system is arguable. However real the bias may be, I felt I should own the comparisons where they are justified, address were I think my work is unique and test the waters on what the impulse to default to sci-fi comparisons when discussing my work may really be about.
I have a piece included in a wonderful exhibition at the MAD Museum in New York City. The work will be on display until July of next year, so if you find yourself near central park, please stop in and check it out. Show details below.
New Prints and the Arrival of the Drawing Gallery
I've remastered all of my drawings for a new / old printing process. (sorry, but this post is a bit of a long one!)
Those of you who follow my work, know I am constantly refining the details of my sculptures through technical drawings. They represent the first step in translating my conceptual ideas into real life objects and I have posted them in many forms in this space over the years. They are integral to my creative process and serve many functions during the fabrication of my sculpture works.
But one thing I have noticed while making these drawings is that an accurate drawing that one can utilize to build a sculpture is quite often, not a very interesting one to look at. I have dedicated a lot of thought to the task of producing both useful and interesting drawings at the same time. this has led me to try many different approaches over the years, some more successful than others.
This edition of works brings with it the introduction of a new color to my pallet, a marvelous shade of red. Those of you who understand how anodizing works will know that each color requires its own heated dye tank. So while a new color may seem unworthy of much ceremony, It is no small undertaking when considered as an expansion of process, not to mention I am running out of space in the anodizing room for all of these dye tanks.
It has been many months since the last time I completed a work or made a new post. This is all because I have been hard at work on a bit of a departure from my normal sculpture. I have been working on a project that has turned out to be one of the more complex and satisfying things I have ever had the luxury to attempt. It also just so happens to be a rather unique chess set.
I feel I should preface this post by saying that I very rarely if ever take on projects that produce works that have defined functions. I am approached fairly regularly by people that enjoy my work, who are curious if I am interested in making custom furniture or other functional objects for them that would have the same flavor as my sculptures.