ready-room

Grand Opening of the Ready Room Microgallery

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)
Artisan’s Asylum
10 Tyler Street, Somerville

Hunting Your Own Art

shooting-karla

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.

If I had to choose a single element that makes Astrobots unique, I’d say it was their ability to emote: the personality that beams from big chunks of bicycle parts is what drives me to weld these things together to begin with. Originally I was trying to photograph them as if I was documenting a crime scene: neutral and unbiased. I used to take great care to eliminate backgrounds involving an elaborate setup of pristine white studio paper and strobes. Many hours were spent removing backgrounds in order to separate art from environment. Looking back I see these photographs more in the style of a crime scene–neutral and unbiased, than an honest and real representation of my work in an everyday environment. Away went the cumbersome studio apparatus, and out came the incandescent lights and the portrait lens.

Currently I’ve been shooting under flood lights in my home studio. My desk is a big table my brother made, replica from the television series, Firefly. The background is a curtain I made from some discount material. Sometimes I experiment with some incandescent lights.

Karla-burst

I try to learn something every time I pick up my camera.  Karla was a real leap. She’s got tons of charisma, and I was excited to show off her charms. When shooting Karla I realized I could use my computer monitor as a backlight.

Writer’s Ink is Reflective

It may or may not be obvious that when I create an Astrobot, I’m acting more on instinct than purpose, which I think adds to the whim and the human quality of a robot: in other words, I try not to overthink things when I make stuff. However, I like to spend some time after a piece is made, in order to reflect on the qualities that I’d like to pursue in the next piece. Nothing hones your thoughts quicker than trying squeezing them out the tip of a pen.

Skunkadelic Scrapbook

I need to keep good records of these critters. While the larger class robots tend to stick around for a while, the smaller Mercury and Castillo class Astrobots can leave the nest as soon as the clear-coat dries–particularly the special requests. Sometimes it’s hard to get it all documented before they’re gone. Seeing my work enter into another’s life is one of the joys of being an artist: sometimes you have to write in shorthand and set your shutter speed high as they whisk off to their new lives.

Related Links: Karla

 

I finally got the shot.

Unusual Birthmark

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.

SCUL Calendars: Time capsules of a Bicycle Chopper Gang

Like plasma through the thrusters, so are the seasons of a SCUL pilot

I’ve been designing and producing SCUL calendars annually since 1998, the first of which was inspired from a calendar I saw when I worked as a finisher at Merlin Metalworks in Cambridge, MA. This inspiring tapestry was a promotional calendar produced by President Titanium, which featured glorious images of a single fighter jets in the air, some of which may have even been firing missiles. Each month included some tech specs for captions: something along the lines of ‘The Bobcat-F19 sports a four-by-four por-favor with an output of 6.1 floozeljets, and is capable of trans-sonic loop the loops’. At least it may have well read that—it was gobbledygook to a newly-recruited Herrell’s ice cream-slinger such as myself. At the time SCUL had more ships than pilots, so the plane motif was a perfect fit.

Early SCUL Calendars

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On Night Patrol

Ode to the Titan-Class Astrobot: Discontinued Line. Part one of three: MOBOT

When I first started making things out of junk metal for fun, I thought it’d be only natural to work on a human-sized scale. Over several years, I created three Titan-Class Astrobots. As long as you have never been seriously injured making art, you can say it’s fun making art that could fall on top of you. Just moving the ones I have (which I do as little as possible) can be a monumental pain. Continue reading

Heavy Haulin’

I haven’t owned a car since before Skunkadelia, sometime around late 1999. While almost all of my transportation is me-powered, my art is really heavy, so I’ve had to rent a car for larger shows. For many of the smaller shows I’m proud to say I’ve hauled several hundred pounds in a steamer trunk; sometimes in snow. The Skunkamobile is the latest of several heavyweight cruisers turned pickup-truck. I’d lay the steamer trunk across my full (but not overfull) Wald 157 Giant Delivery Front Handlebar Bike Basket. Continue reading