Gear Grove – Bike Rack Sculpture

Gear Grove Bike Rack in Austin

 
Way back in 2008, the Downtown Austin Alliance sent out a request for proposals, asking artists to submit designs for bike rack sculptures (pretty things to lock your bike to). I’m no sculptor by any means, but I put together a submission anyway. My concept was to create a cluster of very tall, simple spires, comprised primarily of used bike gears. Since bicyclists are generally more environmentally-minded, I thought the recycled nature of my design would appeal to them. Plus, the gears might hint at the purpose of the piece: “Oh, I get it. I can lock my bike to this”. These spires kind of resembled abstract trees, so I dubbed it Gear Grove. Here’s my original mockup from my proposal:
 

Gear Grove Bike Rack in Austin

 

Surprisingly, my design was chosen! I was excited to be a part of this city initiative to make art a priority, and in a useful way. Then things slowed down a bit… I don’t know if it was the economy, or if things got tied up in one of the 23 committees involved, but basically nothing happened, and kept happening. An example of one of the delays: Apparently, some mythical hot dog vendor had a permit to sell hot dogs at the installation site. Nobody ever saw the hot dog man – he hadn’t sold hot dogs there for years. Nobody even had a way to get a hold of the guy, but he still had a permit…so we eventually just moved the site a bit.

 

Gear Grove Bike Rack in Austin

 

All those delays weren’t necessarily a horrible thing, because they gave me time to collect all the gears I needed. I handed out collection bins to bike shops around the city, and I stopped by to pick up the gears every few months, stockpiling them in my garage. I have to thank my wife, here, for her patience throughout this whole process. Also in this time, I had to figure out how this thing was going to get produced. I got a couple of bids from various people around town, worked with the guys at Blue Genie for a while, but finally ended up going with Rick Mansfield as my fabricator. He’s a sculpture technician at UT. You can see some of his work at www.richardmansfield.net

 

Gear Grove Bike Rack in Austin

 
Over the years the design evolved quite a bit, and I learned a lot in the process. The spires wouldn’t be strong enough to support their own weight, so I had to add a series of crossbars to stabilize the piece structurally. I made the crossbars in the shape of bike frames, to continue the motif (actual bike frames wouldn’t work, unfortunately). I also added a base to ground the piece, which had a spoke-like pattern routed into its surface. At one point, I was going to incorporate used bike chains, as well, wrapped around the poles. These chains created a really cool texture that was bark-like, and added another element to the work. However, due to budget constraints, they got cut from the final design. I also had to use fewer gears, and put them higher up so people wouldn’t gouge their eyes out by walking into the thing.
 

Gear Grove Bike Rack in Austin

There was some discussion about whether or not the final finish of the piece would be shiny, or have a rusty patina. Ultimately, Mother Nature decided for us, and rust prevailed. Hopefully a nice patina develops over the years.
 

Gear Grove Bike Rack in Austin

 
So, to the people of Austin, I say this: If you had your bike worked on in the last 5 years or so, your used bike gear might be stacked up with 222 others just like it on the corner of 9th and Congress Ave. And if it’s not there, then it’s probably in my garage. And even if you don’t appreciate this 16 ft tall tower of rubble, hopefully you can appreciate the sense of community ownership I was intending with this work. If you don’t buy that either, at least it’ll keep your bike safe.

55 HI’s LIVE/LOVE Print

Wow. Such a simple idea. So pissed I didn’t think of it first. Love these letterpressed cards with a glow-in-the-dark double meaning. Ross Moody is the man behind 55 Hi’s, an online collection of design driven greeting cards, prints, etc. Check out more of his stuff here:

www.55his.com

Family Photo Shoot in the Bluebonnets

Odds are, if you live in Texas and you have a family, you also have one of these: a picture of your fam in the bluebonnets. It’s kind of a Texas tradition, and since we needed to update our family pictures to include our littlest one, we decided it was time for a photo shoot. Marco Hanson was the photographer and he did a pretty awesome job. This was my favorite shot from the day, which is weird because I thought it was the cheesiest idea going into it.

Artcrank Poster Show – Austin 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything…been so busy lately. One of the projects that was occupying my time was Austin’s 1st Annual Artcrank Poster Show. It’s a pretty cool event that travels to various cities selling bike-related art, supporting charities, and making friends. Okay, so I didn’t really do much of any of that, but it was still a blast. Check them out here:

www.artcrank.com

I have extra posters if you’re interested. 18″ x 18″. Letterpressed. Run of 75. Kinda weird. Contact me to purchase one.

 

Super Long Exposures by Michael Wesely

So I guess Michael Wesely holds the record for photos taken with the longest exposure…we’re talking years here, folks. This exposure documented the entire construction of the Museum of Modern Art (I’m not sure how exactly).

The photos contain the ghosts of the buildings as it is constructed; streaks
of the sun throughout the sky; and hundreds of little nicks, trails and
instances that elude to something happening during the long exposure.
The surrounding buildings stand solid and unchanged, a constant presence
in the otherwise changing environment.

Leah Duncan Patterns & Illustration

So this past weekend I went to check out the Renegade Craft Fair. I saw a lot of cool stuff from various local artists, but one of the most beautiful booths was Leah Duncan’s. She has a really good eye for color, and her pattern work is pretty sweet. Unfortunately, since the wife and I took the kids, we only had 12 seconds to look at each booth. And I think I said the words “Don’t touch” 623 times…

I took time later, however to check out Leah’s site. You should too:
www.leahduncan.com

Occupy Michael Bolton

A coworker friend of mine, Kevin Dunleavy, drew this sketch. It totally cracked me up. And, let’s face it, it makes about as much sense as the whole Occupy Wall Street movement, anyways. Except this version has a clear, unified purpose: destroy Michael Bolton’s career. Mission accomplished.

My Halloween Costume 2011

What can you do with fifteen feet of gold chain from Lowe’s, three inches of “fur fabric” from Joanne’s, and an old camouflage T-shirt?

Make everyone think you’re kinda weird, that’s what. Part of me thought it was freaking awesome, but most of me felt a little embarrassed wearing it. Oh well, it beats the year I was a “spoonicorn” and taped a spoon to my forehead the whole day.

Or does it?