Neighbourhood Mosaics

My former art teacher/mentor (who recently passed away) had a mosaic on the back of her garage, that she would add to over time. I happen to have a similar space on the back of my garage – hmmm….

The mosaic work that Isaiah Zagar is doing in the Bella Vista section of Philadelphia sure sounds like fun. I get a kick out of the fact that one of his goals is to:

He says he wants his extraordinary artworks to draw travellers into the back alleys of Philadelphia. ‘There they can meet the locals and have conversations that start with “What’s that?”.



Fun Blog Stat

Yesterday this blog received a reader from the twelfth different country, so far (other than the US). Reaching a dozen different countries with no real publicity, other than WordPress and Google search, kind of blows my mind.

Thanks Internet and thanks interested readers. Maybe one day soon I’ll receive a comment that isn’t spam. Looking forward to it.



Aren’t All Museums Like the Please Touch Museum?

I always thought it is a bit tricky, to try and place a dollar value on historic works of art. The reality is, of course, that the majority of works you see in a museum are in fact priceless. So, it stands to reason, that not only is it perfectly acceptable to let your children treat a museum as if it were a playground but you should encourage them to do so.

Stephanie Theodore, a gallery owner from New York, posted the picture on Twitter, with the words: “Holy crap. Horrible kids, horrible parents.” Today she told the Standard the parents had been encouraging their two daughters to play on the sculpture — and refused to back down when she confronted them.

She said: “I was shocked. I said to the parents I didn’t think their kids should be playing on a $10 million artwork. The woman turned around and told me I didn’t know anything about kids and she was sorry if I ever had any.”

You got to love the unabashed sense of entitlement. Should their child fall and twist an ankle or break a leg, we all know who’s fault that would be….


Sharing of 3D Files Without 3D Software

If you have put a ton of work into a 3D model, it seems like you would want to be able to show that off to as many people as you can. There is a new platform called Sketchfab that is trying to fill that need. They seem to be marketing the site as a “YouTube for 3D files”.

They do offer a basic free version of their platform. However, if you goal is to have a cloud based portfolio then you will need, at least, the “.ME” level plan; which is $7 per month.

According to the Forbes item they are planning to add a more robust modeling feature to the site (called Sculptfab). The 3D modeling space is pretty crowed already. I’m not sure if that will help their cause or not. It sounds a bit like YouTube allowing you to edit your videos once you have uploaded them; some people would likely be interested in that. I would think it would be smarter to focus on drawing traffic to the platform rather than competing with the modeling software vendors.

I will have to keep an eye on the 3D file sharing space….



Project to Install Sculpture Along Rail Trail

Saw this item in the Newburyport Daily News:

The Clipper City Rail Trail will receive a $50,000 state grant to install sculptures and artistic murals along the route, state Rep. Mike Costello, D-Newburyport, has announced.

At first blush, this kind of project would seem to have a lot of potential. It sounds like it would be very cool to add sculpture along a rail route. That could make the daily commute much more enjoyable.  In this case, the rail trail is actually a hiking/bike trail along an old rail route. Still, it would be pretty neat to add art to a walking trail.

In either case, my question is how do they protect the art from vandals? The majority of people who walk the train would likely enjoy the added visuals. Although I’m sure some people would want the trail to be kept as natural as possible. However, you know there are some people who would take the addition of art to the trail as a challenge; to see how much “fun” it would be to deface the art.

I think adding art to the public spaces in walking trails and along commuter rail would be worthwhile projects, IF they can manage the vandalism. Does anyone know of some examples of where adding art to these types of spaces has worked well?


Good Use For Excess Soapstone

I first saw this item at Lifehacker. I had heard of doing a similar thing, cooling a drink without adding liquid to it, by freezing small fruit.

Being an artist, my mind of course went to – could I do this with more creative shapes. But reading about alaskantomboy‘s experience I realize that may not be a good idea. Since these are used frozen, anything that makes the shape more delicate could easily fracture and put small pieces of stone in a drink; not a good thing.

Warning!: Avoid dropping them! I dropped them a couple of times and you can either escape with a small chip or they will split in half.


Project: Art in the Dark

Ever since I ran a cyber cafe I’ve thought about ways to merge the visual arts and music. Not too surprisingly, other people have had the same idea.

There are a group of folks in Baraboo, WI who started a project called Art In The Dark. This photo from their recent event shows they have taken a low tech approach to combining art with the music (most likely because it fits their budget).

I had envisioned a more multimedia approach. Paintings projected behind the performers and perhaps selling a multimedia CD with the images and music from the show. Still hope to do something like that one day….


iPad 3D Scanning Peripheral

Another bit of news from CES that caught my eye – a iPad based portable 3D scanner from 3D Systems. The device is still vaporware (due out in the summer) but the company’s video sure gets the wheels turning in my head.

As the news item mentions $500 is not an inexpensive add on. However, if the ease of use and the quality of the output is even close to what is suggested by their video  it seems worth it. Until the wave of new scanners, coming soon, hit the street.

I had not heard about it but apparently they released a windows based scanner at the end of last year. The company video for the Sense is here.


Sculpting With Geometry

There seems to be quite a few people who use math to aid them in their 3D modeling; for their artistic pursuits. Just read an interesting piece, written by David Pescovitz, about the Berkeley professor Carlo Séquin; who has been using math to influence his art for quite a long time.

In the last two years, inexpensive desktop 3D printers have been hyped as a transformative manufacturing and “maker” technology, but these machines started out large, expensive, and clunky, demanding finicky software for designing the objects. Séquin, Wright, and their students developed algorithms to simplify each step: creation and manipulation of 3D objects on the screen, sharing the designs online, and printing better 3D models. For product designers, CAD tools and 3D printers became a boon for rapid prototyping. For Séquin, the technology was a bridge from bits to atoms. Finally, the complex geometries he imagined could be made tangible.

Another quote from the article highlights the potential, to stimulate variations on the theme, when starting from an algorithm:

“Once I have a simple procedural geometric form in the computer, I can change some of the parameters and make 20 or 30 pieces on the 3D printer that are in the same family,” he explains, grabbing various models to illustrate his point or, if one is not in reach, twisting his hands and arms to represent the forms.

Towards the end they quote Mr. Séquin on his outlook on art:

“Art and science really have the same origin,” Séquin says. “They are often both about intense observation and abstraction to obtain a deeper understanding of complex ideas and systems.”


Inspiration Uncorked

There is the germ of a fun idea in here at Inspiration Uncorked. I understand why they are keeping things so structured, since they are open to the general public.

However, what if this were an invitation only gathering; preferably of creative types? What if the focus was less on generating a craft project and more on sparking creative ideas? It might also be interesting vehicle to experiment with various creativity techniques; once you had built up a set of “regulars”. Not sure this is a viable business idea but having a “crowdsource” or “kickstarter” for enhanced artistic inspiration could be handy.


Kevin Mack’s Art

Discovered his work via Boing Boing. He creates both digitally created sculptures that have been 3D printed and 3D renderings of digitally created sculptures as 2D prints. I think that makes a lot of sense. If you take the time to make a nice rendering, to help sell your sculpture, why not sell prints of the renderings.

Here is an example of a rendering print:

Here is an example of one of his 3D prints:

I also like how he adds some whimsical thoughts to the descriptions of his prints. Mr. Mack clearly has a great sense of humor:

There have been no published clinical studies that prove this sculpture can’t grant wishes.

The piece deals with the power and the illusion of boundaries and control. It offers an antidote for the irrational fear of annihilation and void. It contains everything necessary for enlightenment.

The piece is intended to inspire imagination and contemplation of the self.


Kevin Mack’s Shapeways page:

Don’t Stop

Just read nice post by Mark Sisson about some of the great things kids do all the time, that some how gets dropped as we get older. His reminder to stay open to your creative side, seems to fit this blog’s theme well:

We were at a cabin a few months ago with a larger group. One friend is an art teacher and kept the kids absolutely enthralled by building small houses with all the wood, rocks, flowers, and leaves they could find. The result – and his enthusiastic example – were impressive. Unless we’re in a creative profession, we tend to give that side of ourselves short shrift as adults. Exercising our creativity can help us hone our identities as we get older and celebrate new stages of our lives. Other times it just feels good.


3D Printed Pasta?

Saw this item from the Guardian and got a bit excited:

Italian food giant and Dutch researchers working on technology for rapid production of custom-designed pasta shapes

Given the nature of the material I’m not sure just how much more complex a shape can be made, than by current methods.

“Suppose it’s your 25th wedding anniversary,” Van Bommel was quoted as telling the Dutch newspaper Trouw. “You go out for dinner and surprise your wife with pasta in the shape of a rose.”

So I was ready to be amazed. I clicked through to the article and — no pictures of 3D printed pasta  😦

But the company declined to give further details, dismissing the claims as “speculation”. It said that although the project had been going on for around two years, it was still “in a preliminary phase”.


Philadelphia Sculpture Gym

This could be  interesting, the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, sounds a bit like a maker space for sculpture. Unfortunately for me it is located in Fishtown; which isn’t very convenient to my location.

Checking out their list of classes, nothing looks like it suits my purposes. Hopefully they will do well and are an indicator of just how strong sculpture is in the Philly region. I’ll have to keep an eye on them.


Sculpted Egg Shells

I had seen pictures of Brian Baity’s work floating around the internet a while back and was amazed. However, now I look at these egg shell  sculptures through the frame of 3D printing. While constraining himself to working with a thin layer of material (an egg shell), his work shows the power of negative space.

Mr. Baity even manages to add texture to the already thin shell.

Another thing to take away from his work is the choices he makes in the stands he places these sculptures on (just as important as the correct frame for a painting).

I can’t begin to imagine how he transports his work. Insurance on his pieces must be crazy expensive.


Digital Forms

Check out the stunning digital images from Deskriptiv (a German design studio). Quite a lot of their work would be very interesting printed in 3D.

A series they call Kugeln actually looks as if it has been printed in 3D.

Another series called Limm could fit with the idea of using 3D printing to create “paintings”.