Back in May the friendly neighborhood chopper gang infamously known as SCUL received a transmission from Soniya Tejwani, the Museum Educator at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, inviting us to participate in event called B.Y.O.B. or Bring Your Own Bike night, on May 15th from 6-9 p.m. While typically we ride on Saturnights, we were excited to travel to a system we had never chopped, and to be involved with something as grand as this event was an offer we couldn’t pass up.
“Astrobots are made to be strong enough, and cute enough, to have the potential to live forever”.
This was the mantra for creating Astrobots. The experiment is to make keep these beautiful little pieces of steel from being melted down as long as possible. In order to do this, it needs be cared for.
Sunni represents a major shift in Skunkadelic philosophy which stood for eight years by incorporating the relatively delicate material of glass into the work. Sunni is the vanguard for a new line of Astrobots called Nova Class: a bot that blends light with steel. Articulation of the torso, neck, and wrist offers a wide spectrum of body language. Hand-painted gold enamel racing stripes by Boston fine artist Cortney Leigh Cox.
- Mercury-Class Asrtobot #225
- Designation: Mace Skunkadelia
I created Mace to be a heroic Astrobot. In this particular instance the inspiration presented itself in the form of two pieces of 4130 chrmololy steel aero-shaped tubing scraps from one of Paul Carson’s experiments: a set of bicycle fork legs. These leftovers were to become the mighty calves of Mace. Building around these pieces urged me to scale up to something larger than my comfort zone, which is perhaps why I see so much heroism in Mace; poised as if ready for anything; equipped, fingers outspread and ready, eyes on the horizon, and outfitted articulated wings, just in case. Bold and meticulous racing-stripe work by Cortney Leigh Cox. Mace’s spirit calls for bold lines, reminiscent of TRON, meticulously hand-applied with durability in mind.
As some of you may have heard, I’m transforming the upper-half of my studio space at the Artisan’s Asylum in to a microgallery: to be called the Ready Room. Please join me in celebrating my new level of commitment towards sculpture and art in a celebration, and see my newest never-before seen works. Warning: this is a fifty foot space, so things will be crowded to say the least. I will do my best to accommodate!
Wednesday, September 17th from 7-9 p.m.
The Ready Room
Space 16 (behind the SCUL fort)
10 Tyler Street, Somerville
September 3, 2014 // 05:00 PM EST
It’s 2:00 AM in the morning on a Sunday in Boston, and I’m watching a gang of bike hackers climb a 25-foot bandsaw once used to cut lumber for sailing vessels. We’re in a desolate section of the Charlestown Navy Yard, where the massive Tobin Bridge looms overhead like an approaching supercell.
For the past four hours I’ve been riding around with a mutant bike outfit called SCUL. Every Saturday night between April and Halloween, this colorful band of makers, artists, and all-around bike nerds embarks on a nightlong, citywide journey to the many squares and narrows of Greater Boston.
It’s just shy of 22:00 (or 10:00p.m. in civilian time) and Fort Tyler is humming. Pilots are running ships through pre-flight checks, the navigator and tail gunner are intently hunched over a large tactical map, and the flatscreen readout on the wall slowly ticks towards 22:15. “Launch T-Minus 00:14:30” it reads, in blocky digitized letters. But we’re not, as much as pilots would love it, in the hanger of the Death Star. We’re at the Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, the main base of operations for the chopper bicycle gang SCUL. SCUL rides the streets of Greater Boston (or the Greater Boston Starsystem) every Saturday night without fail, on modified bikes complete with lights and sound.
SCUL’s leader, Fleet Admiral Skunk, started the gang in 1995, after he’d rode with some other Boston-based bicycle gangs. Initially he was considering the theme of the gang to be knights in shining armor. “That didn’t leave room for a lot of creativity though,” he says. “With space you can do pretty much anything if the universe you’ve created allows.” One aspect of SCUL’s universe is the pilots’ (or riders’) nicknames. Most in SCUL don’t know each other’s real names, and no one knows Skunk’s civilian identity. To everyone in the world, he’s simply Skunk.
My Holliston High School teacher and great mentor of mine, Marjorie Picchi, once told me “once you think a piece is done, it is halfway done.” For me this fact has been a great measuring stick for my works. However, completion of the piece is merely the first of three hurdles every artist has to clear–the second and third being documentation and reflection.
Crime Scenes vs. Candids
It took several years for the loathing I had for shooting my own work to transform to a passion for photography. Improvements in technology was a great help in getting better images with less cost. Yet the real joy came from when I stopped taking static neutral shots of sculpture and started to take portraits.
Working in raw steel is pretty monochromatic. I love going big with color whenever I get the chance.
Today was the Seven Cycles Holiday party: Bowling, pizza, and local brews in Somerville. It also happened to be our fearless leader’s birthday.
I discovered this unusual birthmark on roof of the mouth of my cat, Bootsy Tiberius Khan, only two days after I put him in the basket of my trusty bicycle pickup-truck (aka the Skunkamobile) to take him home from the shelter: yet this is the first time I’ve managed to be lucky to be holding the camera set up correctly in order to catch him at just the right moment.