Bees wings and antennas. Not the knees.

Today I was able to get a little extra time in the studio. I was able to cap the bottoms of the hemispheres that I purchased that will be used for the tops of the antennas. I was also able to get all the frame work fabricated for the wings. Things are moving at nice clip right now working between my full time job at the museum and teaching on Monday and Wednesday nights. Getting into the studio is tough but I always look forward to it. 

Yeah yeah, my wife already told me they look like boobs. I had to weld up the holes in hemispheres so water doesn't get into them.  

Yeah yeah, my wife already told me they look like boobs. I had to weld up the holes in hemispheres so water doesn't get into them.  

Got to do a little rolling today to make the framework for the wings. 

Got to do a little rolling today to make the framework for the wings. 

Here's my layout for the wings. Rudimentary but it gets the job done.  

Here's my layout for the wings. Rudimentary but it gets the job done.  

Now that the framework is done I can start skinning it with steel.  

Now that the framework is done I can start skinning it with steel.  

Queen Buzzy Bee progress

Today I was finally able to get into the shop for a few hours. I was able to get the crown for the queen cut out and most of the forging taken care of. I'm hoping tomorrow I can add the balls and some banding around the bottom. Here are some progress pics.  

 

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Finally got the crown done! Still needs to be cleaned up a little and painted but it's looking great.  

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Queen Buzzy Bee scale, proportion, and material lists

Last night I worked on a material list for the fabrication of the Bee. To get there I had to figure out the scale of going from a 6" toy to a 8' sculpture. My scale measurement ended up equating to 3/4"=1'. From there I am able to figure out how much material that I will need to start fabricating. Although working from a computer to figure these things out may be a bit simpler I find it quite relaxing to sit down with a pencil, paper, and a ruler.

Preparatory Work

9/30/2015

Check out this great video that Multimedia Producer Scott Litutchy for University Relations at WVU made of me building one of ten movable walls for the Art Museum of West Virginia University



Since February I have been actively fabricating, designing, and all over wearing many hats to ensure that the new Art Museum of WVU was up and running in time for its inaugural exhibition. Within a 3 1/2 months I built over 10 pedestals and 10 moveable walls with very little assistance. Now that it is all up I can finally have some time to contribute to this blog again. Here are some pics of the build out.  

The frames for the moveable walls. I built a jig using two tables by clamping them together. Metal tabs were temporarily welded to hold the framework into place while they were welded.    

The frames for the moveable walls. I built a jig using two tables by clamping them together. Metal tabs were temporarily welded to hold the framework into place while they were welded.  

 

Plates cut and drilled for the casters.    

Plates cut and drilled for the casters.  

 

With all ten frames fabricated it's time for casters.    

With all ten frames fabricated it's time for casters.  

 

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Build up started. I used 5/8 plywood for the base and then studded it in like you would a house.    

Build up started. I used 5/8 plywood for the base and then studded it in like you would a house.  

 

   

 

 

We aren't planning on hanging anything too heavy on the walls so I backed them with 1/4 plywood which is plenty for painting and small objects.    

We aren't planning on hanging anything too heavy on the walls so I backed them with 1/4 plywood which is plenty for painting and small objects.  

 

Dry run to make sure they looked good in the exhibition space.    

Dry run to make sure they looked good in the exhibition space.  

 

Fresh pedestals waiting for a coat of paint.    

Fresh pedestals waiting for a coat of paint.  

 



Currently I am the acting Preparator for the Mesaros Galleries and the museum for West Virginia University. This summer we have been documenting and recording art works in the archive to a digital format for the universities slide room. 

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The works are so varied in size and weight I have been applying my fabrication skills in designing a more proficient way to photograph the art without trying to reinvent the wheel. I installed a fast track system from Lowes and customized the track system so that we can hang works easier. I also installed a 16 gauge piece of mild steel to the wall so that we can use neodymium magnets, which are small but super strong to photograph prints and art works that are not framed and on paper. We can either crop the magnets out later  or fix them in Photoshop. Utilizing magnets also cuts down on the need to use push pins, possibly damaging the work and it saves the wall behind as well. 

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As we are documenting the work I am also removing the wire system and installing a D ring system in lieu of having to deal with loose and sometimes cumbersome wires. 

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Upgraded the hanging system on this Blanche Lazzell today. 

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Getting up close with Chuck Close. 

 

 

Here's an image after the drywall was hung.    

Here's an image after the drywall was hung.  

 

   

 

 

May the 4th be with you! & other painting adventures!

I was invited to take part in a charity event for the Children's Hospital. This exhibitions was in conjunction with May the 4th be with you so logically it was a Star Wars themed show. Here is my contribution. 

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This was after I prepped the canvas, spray painted, and set my background image.

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Gustav Klimt and Hot Rods started my love affair with gold leaf. 

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You can see I had some cut outs to help me line up my screen.

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Final image.

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New work coming together for a show in Teaneck, NJ. 

Doing a little under-painting.   

Doing a little under-painting. 

 

Adding some gold leaf for the cymbals.

Adding some gold leaf for the cymbals.

Things are coming together.

Things are coming together.

I had originally planned on just doing an under painting and then screen-printing my image on top but it wasn't the aesthetic that I was searching for.  However, I quite loved the fur on the forearm so I chose to keep it.  The juxtaposition between the flatness, or illustrative quality of the rest of the painting, versus the subtle hints of process and print quality create a collage  effect that I find aesthetically pleasing.

Unfortunately I was unable to get a finished shot of my new painting before it went up in the gallery.

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The Grassy Noel Gallery used my painting as a promotional tool for the exhibition. 



Drawing

I currently teach observational drawing at two universities. I enjoy drawing with the class. Tonight we worked on hatching and I banged this drawing out in a couple of hours. It helps the students understand process and  composition. It also helps me work through my own thought process and gives me the ability to contribute to the class in a more visceral way. 

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Two hour class drawing. By yours truly.  

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Tonight we worked on reductive drawing only. Students start out by applying charcoal evenly over their paper then using a kneaded eraser they essentially erase the drawing using reduction methods. Here's what I drew with them.

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I was recently invited to take part in a skate deck show. Here is my submission. I was raised in a Catholic upbringing and remembered that if I had ever become a Pro I was going to have a St. Christopher deck. He is the patron saint of travel. Always thought it was appropriate and sacreligious at the same time due to grinding off the image from doing board slides. Anyway, I did it, 1988 Mike Loop can now rest at ease. 

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Student 3D work and design

Right now we are working on an inflatable project. I made this for an example piece. Originally it was on its side but didn't activate the space as well as upright. All my students said it looked like a sad snowman with a big nose. One of them felt it was necessary to give him eyes. Between three classes I'm looking forward to seeing how all of my students work through this project.  

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Today my students at WVU did a great job in the creation of their inflatables. It's a great collaborative project which teaches team building skills and creative problem solving. 

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WVU

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WVU

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WVU

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WVU

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WVU

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Fairmont State. 

All my students did a great job working with new materials and processes. The great thing is when they get to see their final inflatable projects in all it's grandeur. It's almost immediate how they tell me how much they hate the project to how much they love it. I think for all of them it's the first time working in large scale and the presence their pieces create is always fantastic.  

 

30 September 2014

My Intro to sculpture class really impressed me today during their volumetric wood project. Their interpretations on the project were varied and well executed.  

 

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The Atomic winerack

So in my downtime (haha) I am usually helping out friends.  A friend of mine has a local restaurant here in Morgantown and he wanted a wine rack.  When he told me he was just going to make one from 2x4's and chain link I had to intervene.  Everyone is under budgetary constraints but I couldn't let it happen so I've slowly been building one for him.  When it's complete it will hold 208 bottles of wine if my count is correct.  Here are some progress pics.

Left side detail.


Right side detail.

Loose sketch for the doors.

Doors are started.  They are mirror images so to stay consistent I stacked the doors and built them on top of one another.  This saves time and more importantly allows for duplication. 

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The outline for the lightning bolts are done. Now on to the launch smoke. 

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Side shot. 

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For the launch clouds I simply found a large diameter piece of pipe and welded a keeper, or a catch, and with smooth and steady pressure I made my way around the pipe with my 1/2 inch material. See pic below for end result. 

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Launch smoke is finished. Now to just tie up loose ends, weld it all together, give it a little love with a sander and the doors will be ready to install.  

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To keep this wine rack functional I am skinning the whole thing with expanded steel. This keeps prying hands from steeling the bottles and goes well with the aesthetic of the restaurant. 

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The doors are finally ready to install on the wine rack. Hoping this project will be completed by the end of the week. Now on to paint. 

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Here is a detail view of the doors while I was setting them in place.  

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View after the doors were welded onto the body of the rack. 

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These boards will be stained black and hung vertically in the wine rack. You can see the holes in the boards, the bottle will hang by their necks.  

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Installed and ready to serve its purpose. The wine rack holds 208 bottles of wine. There are deadbolts on each door to keep prying hands at bay. This was a commissioned project by the owner at Atomic Grill in Morgantown, WV.