Archive for the ‘Sculpture’ Category

3D Printing Pen Works Like a Manual 3D Printer

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

This is amazing!  Also, is an amazing blog to follow; they have blogged a free-form 3D printing pen that uses a single plastic filament like robotic 3D printers.

Forget those pesky 3D printers that require software and the knowledge of 3D modeling and behold the 3Doodler, the world’s first pen that draws in three dimensions in real time. Imagine holding a pen and waving it through the air, only the line your pen creates stays frozen, suspended and permanent in 3D space. Sound like magic? Well it certainly looks like it, watch the video above to see the thing in action. The 3Doodler was designed by Boston-based company WobbleWorks who recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to sell the miraculous little devices that utilizes a special plastic which is heated and instantly cooled to form solid structures as you draw.


At this time there are 25 days left on the Kickstarter fundraiser for this invention.  They placed a goal of $30,000 and are holding at $1,936,802.  This is the best Kickstarter I’ve seen since Ze Frank went to re-start A Show.  If the MIT grad is carrying any student loans these days, those are history.

3D Doodler pen-1


Portrait Bust of a Woman

December 10, 2012 Leave a comment

If only the Romans had carved the names of everyone into everything like the Egyptians did, we might know whose portrait this is.  Perhaps they put to much faith into the portraits being carefully handed down throughout their family lineage.  They never saw those Visigoths coming.  This piece has been returned to display at the Museum of the Art Institute Chicago and photographing it at night came out particularly good.  I photographed both sides and the front to show all the detail in the hair.



Portrait Bust of a Woman, Roman, A.D. 140-50, marble.



Categories: Art History, Sculpture

Gandharan Sculpture

November 15, 2012 Leave a comment

A Yakshi Grasping a Tree, Gandharan sculpture [modern day Pakistan], 2nd/3rd Century, gray schist, 96.5 x 24.5 x 10.8 cm (38 x 9 5/8 x 4 1/4 in.)

Here are some photos I took of another beautiful Gandaran sculpture in the collection at AIC.  A quick online check reveals that a Yakshi is a mythical being similar to a fairy and from ancient Hinduism.  (Yakshinis is plural.)  They can grant wishes and often guard treasure.

Prior post: A Rare Historical Fusion of Eastern and Western Art

Categories: Art History, Sculpture

“Color Jam” by Jessica Stockholder

I visited another State Street art installation downtown which has been up for a while.  Color Jam by Jessica Stockholder went up June 5th and will be in place until September 30th.  It brings colors together at the intersection of State & Adams from several storeys up on the buildings to underfoot on the ground level.  I liked EYE by Tony Tasset [2010] and loathed GO DO GOOD by Kay Rosen [2011].  Color Jam falls somewhere in the middle for me; it is an installation art work but heavily informed by design / graphic design.  People assume it is some kind of advertising campaign and filter it out or are confused by it.  With Color Jam there are not enough of the signifiers of “fine art” to alert the public to what they are standing on and walking through.

EYE was a self-portrait Pop art sculpture and clearly a statue or sculpture in the round.  people got it right away.  GO DO GOOD just imitated advertising obnoxiously.  Forever Marilyn by Seward Johnson was obnoxious sentimental Pop art schlock that taggers eventually defaced.  Color Jam jams together colors, but does that automatically make it art when the public needs to be told it is art?

What sums up the piece for me best is the two women shown above walking next to me that started looking around bewildered and exclaimed in surprise at the intersection.  They were obviously local and familiar with the area, they just didn’t understand what was going on and were very confused.  Red and orange is usually used to signal danger, construction hazards and the like; they were starting to get worried.  I told them they were standing in an art installation.  They looked around again and decided they liked it.  One woman said “I wish it was permanent!  It’s fun!”

In the other photos I took, you can see people ignoring the installation or looking around in confusion.  Leave it to a lot of Contemporary art to provide confusion.  This is why so many people want their art left on a canvas, preferably with a nice frame.  Again, that is why doing work like this is taking a risk: the loss of the signifiers of fine art that alert the general public they have encountered “art”.

Here pictures of the other corners.  I noticed Bank of America did not allow any covering or interference with its sign.  Sarcasm time: I bet they were real cooperative with this art installation.  This may have also helped people read the art installation as a form of large scale advertising.  There is a huge bank sign jutting out in the work, interrupting the green color field.

The colors on the crosswalks of the streets already have a substantial amount of wear and tear.  It was a bit disappointing to see how worn away the colors were but that is a high traffic area of downtown.  I don’t know if there is a schedule to refresh the colors on the streets and sidewalks or if it will continue to be worn down on through September.  That seemed to be a key part of the installation, tying the colos together on the ground, and the material is in poor condition.  The photo below shows how the color fields connect along with more information on the piece and the artist:

Photo by Kevin Shelton / Chicago Loop Alliance

The Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) is at it again.  The organization behind Tony Tasset’s memorable EYE and CARDINAL (2010) and Kay Rosen’s interactive GO DO GOOD (2011) is bringing a whole lot of color to Chicago this summer.  Chicagoans have been watching the initial phases of Jessica Stockholder’s Color Jam installation slowly start to transform the loop during the install process for the past few weeks, and tomorrow, June 5 is the official opening date for the third installment in the CLA’s award-winning Art Loopseries.

Visitors will be immersed in the bright, new installation at State and Adams as they walk on, in, and through the canvas of renowned multi-media artist Jessica Stockholder.  Commissioned by CLA, Color Jam saturates building façades, sidewalks, and crosswalks in bold colors in Chicago’s largest art installation.  Color Jam is also the largest contiguous vinyl project in the U.S., composed of over 76,000 square feet of colored vinyl – think the equivalent of 50,000 vinyl records, or enough material to wrap 130+ city buses or cover 1.5 football fields!  [source]

Artist of the Week: Pete Fecteau

Pete Fecteau works in many media and his pixel art using Rubik’s Cubes just recently became widespread.  I definitely classify this as Pop Art because of the materials.  The pixel has been around for almost five decades but people have really gotten into using pixels and optical blending for art.  This makes sense because pixel art is an overlap of digital technology, traditional representational art and manufactured color.

See the video below; the time lapse of the installation being built is great.  Pete Fecteau is planning a new work as a portrait of Albert Einstein and has a link to a Kickstarter fundraising page on his webpage here.

Colorful Mosaic Wall Art

One of the nice things I found wandering around Manifest earlier this month was a new mosaic wall hanging on campus.  I would guess is was about six feet tall and the support was probably cut from heavy MDF or plywood.  If you have real glass smalti to work with, any mosaic looks incredible.  I really loved the organic shapes and the bright colors.  It was made by a collaboration of Columbia College students working with the Chicago Mosaic School.

Click the drop down for more information about this mosaic.

Read more…

Categories: Chicago, Collage, Sculpture

Artist of the Week: Trisha Oralie Martin

Breathing In City Clouds was a multi-media art display and installation by Trisha Oralie Martin that combined photography, paper mache, a large paper sculpture and small hand bound books.  The centerpiece paper and basket weaving spline sculpture was huge and was very interesting to walk around.  I wish it had been in its own gallery space, since I pick up other artist’s work a little in the background of the rest of the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts work on display.  The photograph above is one view of the work.

The installation was the culmination of a large project within the community.  The artist describes the work the better in her short artist statement:

Keeping in mind that our world is quickly deteriorating, I present the challenge to look outside ourselves and act as a community to learn from one another.  This idea stems from a basic principle of Filipino philosophy, a holistic world view, where he considers himself, his fellowmen and his relationship with the visible and invisible world as one.  This is what I call art as action, where a group of people are brought together to actively create art to communicate an issue that is important to the community.

Breathing In City Clouds engages the youth of Bridgeport, a southside Chicago neighborhood, to create multi-media works to spark dialogue about the effects of the coal fired power plants in our community.  Process and collaboration are integral to my artistic practice.  The ideas and questions that are created during discussion and interaction are where I find art in action and the possibility for sustainability of a community.

She has a new blog started at but as of this post, the site has nothing on it yet.  She lists an email at See the short video I shot below of the complete work as it was on display.

Artist of the Week: Guerra de la Paz

Military Pieta by Guerra de la Paz, fabric / clothing, 2005

Guerra de la Paz is an artistic duo like Christo & Jean Claude.  Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz from Cuba use a variety of art mediums and are best known for creating installation art and sculptures using old clothing.  They create works that critique warfare, conflicts, capitalism and commercialism.  The clothing often represents a symbol of the person who had worn it or should be wearing it and have the clothing item in their possession.  The clothing article proves the existence of its former wearer and represents humanity.


Tribute by Guerra de la Paz, fabric / clothing, 2002- 2012

Neraldo de la Paz and Alain Guerra make art from the leftovers of people’s lives: their clothing.  The most casual clothing of modern life, the t-shirt, is transformed into something new and beautiful.  Like ancient megaliths (massive stone structures), Tribute is a monument to the unknown people who produced these shirts as well as those who wore them.  The vast number of garments and the emptiness they represent serve as powerful reminders of absence and loss.  [Morbid Curiosity show pamphlet.]


See more of their work at their website here.  Click to enter and sit back for the amazing slide show.  The video below is an eight minute interview and review of the work of the artists.  Definitely see the video because the sculptures are not only shown but some are stop-motion and/or computer animated them, adding a new dimension to the work.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument in Washington D.C. Made in China

April 9, 2012 2 comments

Prior Artist of the Week Salem Baker recently advised me that the work of designing, sculpting and installing the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. was outsourced to Chinese nationals.  I never heard anything about this and I try to keep up on art news as best as I can.  This conflict has been an ongoing issue since 2007 and I just got a clue.

I can see the source of the stone being a problem, large pieces of monument grade stone are not available just any place.  The work could have been made in bronze or another material and I read criticisms that white stone was used to portray a black man.   If you think about the Washington Mall, and I’ve been there, you have a nation that’s been around -historically speaking- for about five minutes and has appropriated iconography from past civilizations that spanned millenniums: the Egyptian obelisk for Washington Monument, the Greco-Roman Lincoln Memorial.  The stone selected was probably an issue to make the tallest Mall monuments match.

Why couldn’t there have been an American sculptor and stone masons?  There are accusations that the use of Chinese artist Lei Yixian and imported Chinese workers working in Washington D.C. were used to save money by cutting costs with cheap labor.  At the time of this writing the Chinese artist and build team names are kept off of the “Design Build Team” portion of the official website.  The Washington Post article cites sources of criticism that the style is the kind of Social Realism propagandist art that is being torn down in the other nations where it still exists.  If you recall the Saddam Hussein statue that was ripped down in Baghdad during the US invasion of Iraq, that’s Social Realism.  The foreign creators are certainly is a slap in the face for American sculptors and the D.C. area stonemasons union.

Did black supporters for the monument play along just to get one at all?  Were they only told part of the information about the origins of the monument?  Did they know about the Chinese artist and imported labor?  MLK was assassinated while attending and supporting at a union labor meeting.  This monument was allowed to progress under PCR workers under a black President.  WTF?

Maya Lin caught racist shit for the Vietnam Memorial and she was born and raised in Ohio.  I don’t understand how the creators of the MLK monument could not have been a bigger national controversy.  I think it had to be a lack of information and exposure of the facts for the general public.  Political connections and a lot of money in play were problems.  Learning about this controversy after the fact is scandalous.

I’m all for global exchange in a peaceful fashion, but executing this monument is a form of cultural conquest to the People’s Republic of China [PRC].  There is no level playing field for the people who made the work given how the PRC controls artists and the general population.  The PRC controls or forbids American entrepreneurship and communications in China.  The controlled imported work team goes against our labor laws and seems like it was slavery, men kept in a hotel and carted around by chaperons.  Look at the slavery in Foxconn Technology Group.  How bad does life have to be if you would rather kill yourself than stay trapped somewhere?  There was no confirmation of fair pay for the imported Chinese laborers and repeated reports indicated the workers did not know their own pay scale; they said they would get paid when they got home.

I would like to side with the protesters who said that King, as a religious leader, labor advocate and someone trying to increase the strength of democracy, would have been against a monument to himself built by Communist workers.  I do not like the spin of this monument being the result of a “global marketplace”; $120 Million and the prestige of the commission gets you any artist you want hired.  Do we get to import human rights and democracy into China now?

HuffPo video on the subject here:

More detailed information is in this Washington Post article from November 23, 2010 below:

As Chinese workers build the Martin Luther King memorial, a union investigates

By Annys Shin

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 23, 2010; 1:33 PM

Francis Jacobberger’s plan was simple – show up with a six-pack of beer and talk his way into a Crystal City apartment. An investigator for the Washington area union that represents stonemasons, Jacobberger was working a case dear to the members: Who should build the centerpiece of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial – Americans or imported Chinese workers?

Chinese sculpter Lei Yixin works on the granite head that will cap the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the Mall.

Chinese sculpter Lei Yixin works on the granite head that will cap the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the Mall. (Courtesy Of Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation)

Artist of the Week: Nnamdi Okonkwo

March 24, 2012 2 comments

Tranquility by Nnamdi Okonkwo, bronze, 20″ x 14″ x 14″

I saw the bronze sculptures of Nnamdi Okonkwo at an outdoor show in Chicago which was particularly nice; sunlight gave the surface of the bronze a lovely glow.  The works he had brought were of the kind shown here: a series of women in brown patinas, with curvy volume and warm emotions.  Standing among them was like being surrounded by art made from love.  The sculptures were peaceful, attractive and simplified to the most harmonious lines and volume.  Some works are more abstracted and simplified than others.  Nnamdi Okonkwo specializes in bronzes and works all the way up to a monumental scale.

Mother & Child by Nnamdi Okonkwo, bronze, 24″ x 21″ x 17″

Sisters by Nnamdi Okonkwo, bronze, 14″ x 27″ x 15″

See more work by Nnamdi Okonkwo at his portfolio site here.    


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