Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Student Design Integration into Freeway Public Art

It is an interesting challenge to begin to explore ways to integrate student patterns into designs for concrete and laser cut metal. The freeway public art project that will incorporate student reflections on community is now at a phase where we need to address fabrication constraints. There will be metal "gateway" pillars and concrete wall patterns at the 101/Tulley and 101/Capitol Expressway freeway passes in San Jose, California built in April 2012. We are using Repper Pro to create the digital patterns from photos for some of the components.

Below are a few student sketches and beginning studies for fabrication. I am hoping that student statements about their designs will also be somehow linked at City of San Jose website.
Renaissance Academy, 6th Grade Student Radial Pattern sampling:
"Tamales" by Alyna C.
"Viva la Comunidad de Mexico en San Jose"
by Vanessa C.
"Cherry Blossom" by Ayana J.
"Nature Awaken" by Dominique

"Hot Delicious Food" by Dung P.

"Our Community of the Sun" by Luis C.

"Las Paletas" by Anayolis R.

Below: rough concept studies for large laser cut metal patterns for gateway pillars. (Yes, ligatures are needed so that there are no floating pieces, but these sketches are simply for concept and need to be refined a lot for fabrication. Designs will be digitally re rendered as vector based files (in Illustrator) and exported as either .DWG or .DXF files (AutoCAD format) for laser cutting.

Each of three panel designs will fall along a theme of either food, culture/celebration or environment/nature. The pattern studies below draw from selected student paper designs and from student digital photo patterns created in Repper Pro.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Surfboard Resin Applied to Food Wrapper Sculpture

I have begun to apply Everclear, a surfboard resin (with UV inhibitors) to the components of the Spring Thoughts sculpture. Man, is this stuff toxic smelling! I don't have a ventilated studio, but the driveway works well enough. The catalyst doesn't work in temperatures below 65 degrees and it is 66 outside so I had to work quickly in the sun. The main flower part I will coat with the resin tomorrow. The will be 38" x 42" and 1.25" deep and will be displayed against white fabric in a plexi glass box in the third floor elevator lobby of John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek, California.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spring Thoughts Sculpture; more process images

Central flower papered with origami paper and food wrappers as of 11/19/11
Leaves papered as of 11/19/11.
Earlier process photo.
Here are some updated process images of the Spring Thoughts sculpture. In these images, the buds and the stems and vine elements are mostly completed. I used Asian food wrappers (Chinese preserved fruit wrappers, Japanese paper chopstick wrappers, origami paper and Chinese olive wrappers.) The leaves and the main central flower are the next elements that will be worked on tonight. I am very happy to be creating art for hospitals again and creating art for neonatal and pediatric installations is particularly rewarding. This piece will be 38" x 42" x 1.25". Previous blog on this piece is at this posting. I will be experimenting with UV resistant surfboard resin as the final glaze.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Student Pattern Reflections on Community

In the past few weeks I have been working with the 6th Grade Students of Renaissance Academy in Alum Rock, San Jose, California. Renaissance Academy Art Instructor, Jesus Guerra, has been very generous in coordinating the class workshops times and in assisting with the computer art lab set up in his room for the digital pattern workshops. The students explored the visual identity of their local community in hand drawn radial pattern designs as well as in digital patterns created in Repper Pro photos they took of their community.

The resulting patterns will be added to the Slot Shelters project in both the library of card patterns for download and as pattern surface textures in Google SketchUp. The most exciting application of the student work is that a selection of these Renaissance student designs may be integrated in some format into the hardscape design of freeway exchange at 101 Tully and 101 Capitol Expressway. This landscape/construction project by the Office of Cultural Affairs of the City of San Jose, the VTA and HMH will be completed in April 2012.

This project was made possible by a generous loan of laptop computers by the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College.
Below are a sampling of the student designs. Student statements about each pattern will accompany the designs.

This photo is of onions on a grill.
This represents my community because when you pass by any market or home it is always the smell of carne and onions.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thoughts on the 100 Cups of Anne Smith

Illustration by Anne Smith. All rights reserved ( )
A week or so ago, I happened to look at a link sent to me by Selvedge Magazine and it took me to the wonderful illustrations of Anne Smith. Her 100 cups illustrations especially resonated with me. She is working on a book to showcase her art and I look forward to being able to purchase it. Each cup illustration on her websites is a lovely bit of visual poetry and I am eager to see all the 100 cups illustrations in her book.

Around the same time I  discovered Anne Smith's work, I was contacted by Rasteriods Design in San Jose regarding a public art project of a fence wrap to go around a construction site of several block in Japantown, San Jose, California. These few blocks were once Heinlenville, the last of six Chinatowns in San Jose. I thought it would be really interesting to invite artists to each paint a cup reflecting some part of history of this area, as many fragments of tea cups and rice bowl were found in the site excavation conducted by Sonoma State Anthropological Studies Center.

It is the early stages of the conceptual ideas for the fence wrap and I think the theme of the designs will take a different turn, but I will tuck away in my mind the idea of cups for future projects. So often in these excavations, the echos of the past lives of Chinese and Japanese immigrants are in the form of pottery shards. Anchoring public art imagery in this site to tea cups or rice bowls both references historical relevant artifacts and creates a theme around objects poetically representing  spaces to be filled with ideas and memories.
Below: Digital textile design I created from a Heinlenville shard fragment of a Japanese rice bowl and below that an image of the fence wrap site in Japantown, San Jose.

Spring Thoughts Sculpture

I am in the process of creating a 38" x 42" floral sculpture commission for a hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am working with Roundtree Visuals on this project. The piece will be completed and delivered by December 1st, 2011 for framing and installation.

Step 2: The original sketch is printed at 100% scale and taped to cardboard. Wire is twisted with an electrician's  wire twisting tool and then it is formed to follow the sketch lines on the paper. Holes are punched through the cardboard  and the wire is tied down in place on the template.
Step 3: The beginnings of the leaves, stems and vine elements.
Step 4: Most of twisted wire form is completed. I am beginning to paper the form.

Step 5: Here is the sculpture, Spring Thoughts, as the wire form is beginnings to be covered with a base papering. I am using Chinese preserved fruit wrappers and will be adding fragments of other papers and food wrappers before I glaze with a two part epoxy glaze from Tap Plastics.It is difficult to see the scale here, but this piece is 38" x 42" large and 1.25" in depth.