... constantly working out the details...

... constantly working out the details...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

why are bar maids are called wenches?

So, this past saturday After heading to the Grand opening of Hamiltonian Gallery We decide to retire to the black cat. This bar is the old staple for kids who either want to be hip, and don't know where the hip place to be is, or maybe are getting a little too old for the bar, but still wish they were cool. I belong to the latter group. I think. The bar is split into two levels, one for national touring acts Upstairs, And a bar with a small room in the back for local shows. The shows there are generally good shows, both upstairs and down. In fact, this is the place i probably go to see shows in DC most often. I know that DC is expensive, I know that times are tough, I know that old is the new new, and crappy is the sheik good, but this bar is guilty of one of my all time pet peeves. This is the fact that the bar maintains a low brow motif, Torn couches, sticky tables, bare bulbs, crooked pool tables, misfits on the jukebox (actual jukebox also, which is cool. not the digital download in your pants type), All the general characteristics of a Dive bar, with two exceptions, Price and attitude. The cheapest beer is a 350 PBR, Again not bad for DC, but not congruent with the atmosphere either.
Either way, once you get passed the distinct smell of aging hipsters and lavishly priced PBR draft in the place, the shows are generally good, and there relatively fewer conventional idiots there than in around the Area. plus it is Right down the street from the velvet lounge, where you can party to the tune of natty boh for pennies on the dollar. ( i do not know what that means.)

So here is my dilemma. I Consistently tip at the bar, not a lot, but consistently. I don't order complicated drinks. beer, whiskey, highball, tequila chances are pretty good that as a bartender serving me, you wont need your shaker. I wait patiently, I dont flag the barman or wave a 20 at him/her. all in all I feel like i am a pretty good bar customer. Or i did, until this weekend.
Here is the order

4 tequila, (It was a friends Birthday) one PBR draft. Total 31 dollars. In my pocket, 32 dollars.
The bartender fixes the drinks, and i gave her all of my money. I didn't ask for change, and she put the single on the bar, so i slid it to her end, and told her it was a tip, which she replied that it was not, and slid it back to me.

Fuck you.

First off, yes, in fact it is a tip.
Second of all you filled 5 glasses with liquid, and 4 of them were tiny this took you 30 seconds.
Third, Don t play blue collar bitch/white collar snob with me lady, I went to art school, I fucking know the rules to that game.
What the fuck is this, you probably make more than i do as a fucking bartender anyway, just because you need a fucking mortgage to pay for your shitty sleeve tattoos is fuck it, lets not make this personal.
Third if you want people to come in and order champagne and tip you with a fist full of jewels, don t work in a faux Dive bar which attracts artists, musicians and vagrants such as yourself. Get on some Philip Pirrip/Oliver Twist shit and move to georgetown.

I might be wrong here, but I feel so right.
Comments and questions.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


So Also, in a late review, Conner contemporary had thier grand opening ceremony last week. The work seemed ok, although there were too many people to really make an assesment of the space or artworks. Brandon Morse had a new video piece in the show, which for me was the highlight. I am a bit biased about this, as I studied under him in graduate school, but realistically The piece was really reallt good. I wont ruin the work by going into a conveluded description, but there is a beautiful balance between rivalry and cooperation in the motions of the piece. Go see it.

Also on board and noteworthy in this exhibition, work by light installation artist, Leo Villareal I hear he has a commission for the underground walkway between the east and west wing of the national gallery, so congratulations on that. this time he has several large wall pieces in the main gallery, as well as one outside in the new courtyard. The work is interesting and exciting (although my favorite part is that they dry walled over the cords which power the works.

There are the works by regulars from CC there as well, Erik Sandberg and Nathaniel Rogers round out the paintings quite nicely.

The only thing lacking was, of course the sculpture, The work there seemed in appropriate for the space, and I am personally excited to see what and who the gallery and its artists take on to utilize their new environment. The new space is huge, One of the biggest in DC, and looks like it is dying to be filled.

thanks also to the people who got me into the show, and to DC police for being out in unusually large numbers that night.

Next up. Music!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


So this is what i was talking about.


this is a link to the K├╝nstlerhaus Bethanien website essentially, this is an alternative nonprofit in berlin, to the best of my assumption, which was saved by artists from demolition in 1974. I believe that the story goes...

A bunch of artists were squatting in this hospital campus, and it was up for demolition, they said, no, no (nein)
we want to turn this into an artist residency and gallery center which hosts dozens of artists each year, galleries, films, music, studios, workshops, the whole nine yards. and if we work hard at it it will kick so much ass that when other artists see it it will make their heads spin.

and they did, and they did.

the place is great, I would seriously consider cutting off one of my fingers to host an iron pour there.
It is huge, the work is awesome, the space is enchanting and inspiring. The downside, they are very secretive about hoe to get involved with it, (not that they need my help) and it seems difficult for american artists to receive grants for projects.

Either way, if you are going to berlin anyway, please go and check it out and support them, and if you are from Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Spain or Hungary get on the stick and land a residency.

i think that norway has one open for textile artists right now.

here it is.

Ok next Back to DC

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

back from space

So, Long time now posty, well, I have been gone for quite a while. What have I been up to, Oh many many things.

To start, I finally received a Degree in something, what might you ask, well, Art!, yes beautiful, interesting, relatively useless art! And where to go with this art degree? well hopefully somewhere. We will See.


Does this degree legitimize anything that has been posted on this site, ever?
Well no, it doesn't, but the site was created as a part of my MFA studies, and now that that is over, there are plenty of other things that can be done with it.

Ok so the where have i been part.

I have been in merry ole England, casting metal, and muckety mucking with some of the greatest muckety mucks on that side of the globe. Here is information on the 9th annual USUK Iron symposium, which was great. Although the budget was tight, the people were good, and i think that our hosts might be getting close to recuperating most of the money that they personally lost in the ordeal!


This was truly a great time and much thanks to all the artists on both sides of the atlantic who made it possible.

Next Berlin,

what a great city, my favorite that i have ever been to. I am ready to move there.

More on that later this week


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sigmund Freud is a hack.

So what is so sexual about this work? Though it is difficult to directly put your finger on, (no pun intended) there are elements that are mysteriously erotic about these works. Many of the elements vaguely imply a nebular round shape. Flopping and sagging over time, the shapes come to a point defined by a co centric smaller circle of similar, yet rougher often darker materials. Some forms are long ovular shapes, which stand on end when activated. at other times the work seems to fold in on itself, creating fissures, and enveloping voids, becoming more and more entangled in itself. These elements combine, interact with each other, through inflation and deflation, undulating, bouncing and shaking, in a slow almost rhythmic cycle. The cycle, remarkably runs in three phases. Upon initial interaction the work stirs, slowly coming to life rising and swelling, until at last things come to a head, the work is at its maximum turgidity, and is in full bloom. this climax lasts until the stimulus ceases, and a third phase of slow, steady decent in action begins. at last, the piece returns to its original state calm and peaceful.

Although this is not what any of the work claims to be about, it is an interesting coincidence. nothing concrete, plenty of suggestion. Like the idea of personal space, it invokes the question of the viewers relationship are we reading into the sculpture, or is the sculpture intended to read this way.

The Work

Enough talk, here is some more visuals for you

Personal space

The idea of personal space is confronted in this body of work through the same interaction as the other concepts presented. In each piece the work begins innoculously laid out on the ground, harmless and non-invasive. As the cycle of the work progresses the pieces grow and consume more realestate, meanwhile rising to an imposing height, and pressing out against the viewer. At this point, the viewer would make a choice, continue interacting with the work or walking away, leaving the piece to its own devices. Is this interaction all one sided? Are viwewers leaving the sculpture based on an invasion of privacy, cramped space, or threatening imposition? Is the sculpture declaring its own space? in the case of the more mobile sculptures the changes in orientation and position add to the idea of art chasing away its appreciates. The sculptures are almost parasitic in the sense that they require concious interaction to become themselves while taking up more space than can be tolerated.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

the Dark ages

Just for fun, before i started uding Rhino to draft these projects, I was doing the math longhand in a notebook. here are some shots of that process.

This is the image where i used the formula for elipses to define the profile curve of an elipse which was 3x4.

Once i had the coordinaates for various points along the curve, the distance formula is used to calculate (surprise) the distance between them.

From there the diameter of the elipsoid shape is determined at said points along the lines. and from that a circumferance ratio for lattitudes parrallel to the equator is determined.
These ratios are used with the desired dimensions and number of gores to create a model templates . here is one for a piece with 16 gores which is 1 meter wide at the equator and 1.3 meters long. (a 3:4 Parabolic measurement)
Show your work.
the fun part about all of this is the fact that the texts that i used to research this loved to use the phrase basic high school mathematics dictate that ...

kind of a blow to the ego, but at least feel prepared for the SATs now.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

take your ball and go home II

So why include the viewer, who invited them to the party? As the activation of sense in the visual arts becomes less and less about visuals, and the world of high definition, surround sound, blue ray, blue tooth, interactive wireless interface, home theater, Ipods, Digital animation, netflix, youtube, movies ondemand, IMAX, Satellite television Radio, HD radio, gives a thousand other reasons not to leave your couch, complacence gets easier and easier. What was once entertainment, becomes decoration. Involving the viewer and giving control, creates a more intimate experience with the piece. essentially attatches someone to what would otherwise be an inatimte object. Removing the implied vestibule around the traditional gallery object counters the alienation brought on by the sterile environment of the gallery space. "Yes these pieces were made for you, in fact, they are worthless without you."
In these pieces in particular, the fact that the viewer breathes life into the work alludes to a relationship of nurture, a solicitous concern for the condition of what one has taken part in the creation.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Take your ball and go home.

The observer has a critical role in these pieces, without the viewer, the piece is really just a pile of material and somewhat simple wiring. At this point it is difficult to say where exactly the viewer comes into play, and how, but the viewer will have to make choices about the level of involvement that they have, and those decisions will ultimately control outcome of the piece.

Several interfaces were considered, and may be enacted. from a motion control system, where the viewer is noticably a part of the piece, and controling it though thier actions. The movements that they make and the time that they spend with a piece will control the volume and mass of the piece itself. A timed cycle originally persented itself as an obvious solution to the problem, but it removes the level of control from the piece in the end. Esentially the viewer becomes a finger operating a light switch which inevitably turns off.

So if motion, how about a direct control, that way there is obvious viewer control and freedom to exit the piece at whatever time things get out of hand for the viewer.

The pushbutton switch, something that a "volunteer" can operate, that will momentarily activate tha system, as well as de activate when the viewer becomes complacent, intimidated or just plain bored with what is happening.

A thermostat, which only activates sculptureal system when enough people have assembled to see it.

Lights shounds colors and rumors there isnt much to report on until any of it becomes factual.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The tao of sub suburbia

In all of these peices there exixts a cyclical time based element in which things inflate and deflate. This cycle, though only to be set off when the viewer approches references the taoist principles of balance, force (tao) and the struggle between passive and aggressive action.

The balance of form, precision set off by imperfection, the simple made complex and vice versa are instantly apparent uppon approach of the piece. As the work comes to life, a pattern arises, not overly bold, but obvious in its intentions. this pattern is followed by the hand to create the form, and mutilatyed by the hand in as quick of a fashion. The triangle and the circle, The two simplest of shapes are combined and multiplied. The multiplicity, again thoug elegant in its individual aesthetic becomes moot upon viewing the piece asa a whole and appreciating its basic reference to the sphere. This is how the simple arizes and dominates the complex, allowing balance to overcome chaos and disorder.

The force of the approach, though intimidating on first impact, becomes nessacary in order to fully appreciate the silence. In other ways, the cyclical currents inside of the pieces reflect this inner chi provided by the viewerits currents are what actually shape the sculpture. The air in all its delicacy is the driving force behind this work it becomes the penetrator. in the same way that a rock will split a stream, the force of air threatens to split the seams of these sculptures. In the end this force is subdued, calmed by the abscence of action on the part of the viewer. The wu wei. The art of doing nothing. As the weight of the fabric and iron begin to pull and down on the fabric. The once powerful air pressure, now static, is overcome by gravity. The overcoming of this synthetic force is in and of itself as poetic and beautiful, if not more so than the act of inflation.

The constant struggle between passive and agressive forces I dont know what to say at the end of this part, i feel like if i go any further in ths the metaphor and emphasis will start to border on hyperbole. The pieces inflate, they deflate, one hand washes the other, tree falling in the woods, water crashing over a stone, ying, yang, chi, chai, rock gardens, power yoga, tae bo, cheech and chong etc etc,

Monday, March 10, 2008

The material

In general in my work, i am often presented with a material and objects are created from that material. I believe this body of work is separate from previous works, in the sense that the idea to work with sail canvas came to me, without any specific pieces In mind. While the transformation has been relatively smooth to go from steel and wood to a softer material, the transition was not without its hiccups. the initial idea was to have more of a patch worked feel to it where seeming imprecision yielded a formulated shape or form. after several experiments with this I came to the conclusion that this just doesn't happen. this was when i started to turn towards computer aided design to create the shapes.

The use of sails specifically came quite naturally to me, Being from around this area, and having a father who was a marina worker, the use of nautical equipment seemed appropriate. I have always tried to maintain a transparency and truth in my materials, both in a geographical sense and functionality. In the sense that most of my material has a local relationship and simplicity in its function.

Sail fabric, being both familiar and readily available in the area, presented itself as a solution long before i had any particular body of work in mind that related to it. In the beginning the idea of using the fabric for what it was and using wind and currents to activate kinetic sculptures seemed like the right direction to head, but nothing came to mind that didn't seem so obvious.

The Idea to inflate came about during sketches, I suppose partly due to a play on words evolving into a sort of kitchy relationship between sails and air. I have done the most on my part to avoid exploiting this sort of literal/figurative problem, but it makes me happy to know that it is still there.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Process III

The swatches of fabric are cut from sail material. in this case either Dacron, Nylon or a kevlar/mylar laminate. each material has Its own sets of properties. because most of the products are made from thermalplastic materials, they are best cut with heat, so as to reseal frayed edges as the material is cut. as the material is cut out, the pieces are laid out and attatched using a thin double sided mylar tape, known as basting tape. this tape helps to reduce puckering along the seams as well as create a more air tight seal along the seams. In the case of laminate materials, a differet type of tape is required. The frailty of the mylar used in the initial factory lamination makes straight sewing this material fruitless. Mylar is easily ripped and the kevlar weave pattern in relatively loose, giving the fabric its signature transparancy. The combination of these traits often leads to tearing seams in a sewn laminate material. To combat this problem, sailrites have come up with a special basting tape made of high strength Dacron Canvas for laminate sails. This tape holds the fabric togeter for stitching, but also provides a tightly woven layer of material to stop a running split seam.

The materials pieces are sewn together one by one to create a gore based pattern, defining either a round or geometric faceted form. Velcro is used to create a sort of service hatch in the side of these particular pieces, to aid in the installation. a blower port is attatched to the side of the pieces, and blowers are attatched to a motion sensitive electrical system which causes the pieces to inflate and deflate.

In some cases, Cast iron weights are added to the pieces to work against the force of the blowers. a

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Process II

Once the models have been built and the surfaces unrolled and defined as developable two dimensional shapes, the transition into reality is ready to begin. The first step in going from Ideas to reality is transforming files for the shapes of the surface from a file in 3 dimensions to a two dimensional vector based doccument. this is usually done using either architectual programs such as Auto CAD or Adobe Illustrator. Both programs allow for maintaining the scale of the drawings done life size with the 3-d programs. Illustrator is generally easier to use, and allows for the combination of patterns for economical printing. The advantage to keeping a file in Auto CAD is that it allows for real dimension resizing, that is to say that in CAD, As i resize one element of a sculpture, the program feeds me information about how the changes affect the remaining elements in the piece. In either case, the files are then sent to a large format plotter style printer and printed out as actual scale templates.
These templates, are cut out and marked to label the shape, section and dimentions of the shape they are a part of. For the sake of consistancy, and durability, the shapes are traced onto a heavy board such as masonite, MDF, Luan plywood, or OSB. The added weight of these panels offer consistant shape and durability to function as a multiple use template, but also forces the material to remain flat while the shape is copied from the template. These templates are cut and traced according to the size and number of sections in the shapes.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Thesis I (process) DIGTAL BABY!

The process for these pieces, involves sveral mediums and practices from modern 3d modeling through processes thousands of years old. Working to make a consistant body of work, I often start with drawings. As is the style with much of my work these drawings are done using Scrap materials, construction paper, paint, the works.

From there, the drawings go into a 3d modeling program to be built virtually. the programs i am currently using are Google sketchup, and Rhinoceros 3D this is an image of one potential shape done in Rhino at a half render.

This file is created by creating and adjusting curves in the program. then creating a developable surface over the two curves. the developable surface is important. The main Idea for using modeling programs is to allow the computer to do most of the math for us. In the early stages of this project, the shapes of the curves were done longhand using a combination of calculus, algebra, simple trigonometry and a several conic equations.

it is impossible to define a round shape from flat surfaces without distortion. A true round shape is comprised of what we call complex curves, or curves with multiple orientations. in the surface of a typical ellipsoid, there are curves which theoretically can run in an infinate directions, but for the sake of simplicity, we consider the three directions of x,y, and z, respective to a cartesian space. even though three sounds relatively simple compared to the prospects of infinity, Because the material we are using is essentially Two dimensional, we have to make our shapes comprised of a two dimensional shape as well.

This method is applied to common materials such athletic equipment, the soccerball is based on a formula laid out by mathematician Buckmeiseter Fuller, A baseball cap is composed of six triangular sections, to the slightly less Common fabric patterns in sails, hot air balloons, parachutes. and even the steel patterns used in the construction of water towers, containers, bouys, the hulls of ships etc etc.

From here, once the shape is created using simple curves (defined by a grid pattern flexed in one dimension. in the case of this example longitudialy.) the patterns are created by unrolling the remaining curve. creating a shape like this from our first image.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Meat Market

So here is a brief overview of the 2008 CAA conference in Dallas. There is no Bohemia. everyone gets dressed up and applies for jobs, the world of academia is as cold and stiff as everyone described. There are good eggs and bad eggs though, It is fun to differentiate between the folks who are obligated to be here and the ones who came for the party. At times i find myself being part of the sea of dazed graduate students, flowing in and out of the interview tables, finding out that there are thousands of people exactly like them, and that their MFA is almost as useless as their BFA.

Although this was somewhat what i had expected, actually it is exactly what i had expected it to be, the element is still daunting. Good news for the week, I have received a fellowship with the hamiltonian gallery in DC, and will get two years of representation and some cash and hopefully a little guidance. just nice to get a little light in what otherwise could be a dark tunnel.

more to come.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

advances in society

I am writing this from a free internet terminal in the dallas fort worth airport. I think it is pretty ccool that this exists.

The stainless steel keyboards are pretty cool too.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


So, this is my new plan: Pending approval, I am going to compose the written part of my thesis for MFA on this site. The various issues i feel I am dealing with will be addressed in a sort Of public Forumn, Open for comment and critique. The vast majority of the thesis will be represented, as you can guess by the actual work tangible artworks, which will be on display sometime in mid april in the University of Maryland Art Gallery. As I go along, Hopefully you will be updated as far as my progress is concerned, with both philosophicals as well as technical concerns, adjustments and breakthroughs. Images, diagrams and process information all should be included in this process. As a part of my community, I ask that you respond accordingly to the writings. be mindful however that things you say might make it into a final publication.

Why blog this thesis? I began this page three years ago as a means of writing Reviews of DC area exhibitions for Jack Livingston, as a means of fufilling the requirements for graduate colloquium. Over the past three years I have used it to promote events, review exhibitions, communicate thoughts and ideas, document work, and transmit information about myself To The U.S. while studying in Estonia. The long and short of it is that incidentally, this website has served as a loose record of my graduate research.
In general, I feel that the work I am currently making is a changing and evolving product. While I am working two new pieces to complement the existing ones, the launching points are as much in a state of fluxus as the pieces themselves.

What runs though the mind?

I feel as though these pieces have a very taoist Passive/aggressive feel to them more than anything. The Idea of wind supporting the material, and material conquering the air.

The viewer is an active, even if unwilling participant in the sculpture, the piece exixts without them, but potential is only recieved through thier prescence.

As we forage into the age of the Iphone, unlimited suvailance, Google, photoshop, Auto cad, and hybrid synergy drive, has the value of handmade work evaporated? where is the videotape? where are the sculptors chisels? what happened to all of the darkrooms? Is our reliance on technology ruining our curiosity? Why should I make anything by hand anymore?

There is something undeniably sexual about these works. Why would this continue to come, Is it something inherent in the forms, or vise versa? or... which came first, the taboo or the desire?

what else?

to be continues and spell checked at a later date.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

Where have you been all these years


again it was my birthday this week. I am not feeling old necessarily, but have am realizing every day that I am not young any more. I have been pretty busy working out a thesis for my MFA, but have been working fairly diligently and believe i am on the right path. As usual, the writing is the hardest part for me. I write at roughly the same level as a third grade boy, mostly hyperbole and unsubstantiated rhetoric. As a result, the more I apply for grants and the such, the more writing I have to do. I have been fortunate enough to hang out with several folks who are pretty decent writers, and having them edit and revise my work has been a valuable resource so far.

Currently you can see my work at Woodman Studios, 1414 woodman Ave Silver spring, MD

Or at the Museum at the mansion at Strathmore, As a part of the WSG show "Hand Made"

Coming up in February, I will be showing at washington Square as part of the Sculpture NOW! 2008 exhibit, Maybe, if they get over thier size restrictions.

Also amidst all of this, I am trying to figure out the rest of my life, I currently have resumes on the table at over 30 academic institutions, Several galleries, Grants and god knows what else. If you are interested in Getting a resume, let me know.

So as far as what else i may be doing, look for pictures coming soon, right now it is all iron bread and inflatable sail fabric sculptures.

good times good times.