Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Final Project: Wooden Bike

For my final project I made a bike entirely out of wood. Inspired by Kiel Johnson's lecture and the timelapses of his cardboard projects, I decided to do a similar piece by experimenting with making an all wooden bike.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Art 451 Blog Link

Just wanted make sure you have the blog link to the videos for the Music 409/Art 451 class.

Manuel Alfaro Artist Lecture

I went to Manuel Alfaro’s lecture at the UNR’s Church Fine Arts on May 3rd. His current exhibition which he calls Death, Drugs and La Linea was showing in the Sheppard Gallery during the same time. Alfaro is a Mexican America artisit who primarily works within the theme of Political Chicano Art and said he was inspired by ancient Aztec Art, muralists and Chicano Muralists. In his current exhibit, Alfaro seeks to compare ancient Aztec warriors to the current narcotics based culture that has become so prominent in Mexico. Both cultures have relied on violence and use this violence to expand their territories and dominate everyone around them at all costs. Today, murders in the cartels justify their actions by likening themselves to their ancient Aztec ancestors. To Alfaro, art has a way of bringing forth the problems in Mexico from the drug cartels and the inherent political corruption that follows them. He believes his art will be the vehicle to bring forth social issues that have not made much of an impact on American soil, but are tearing apart Mexico family by family. According to the Sheppard Gallery, "His artwork connects the present-day drug cartel violence to the pre-colonial history of the Aztecs through color palette, symbolism, and iconographic imagery. The artist's work explores the reality Mexico is experiencing today."

Kevin Kremler Exhibition

Kevin Kremler is a graduate student artist at UNR who has an exhibition in the Sheppard Gallery this April. Postcards from the Grey Area was an exhibit with four very different and distinct pieces of work that worked together to form his body of work. Upon walking into the gallery, the first thing I checked out was his modified photo booth. By sitting down in the stool and clicking the mouse to take the picture, the person in the chair was superimposed to look as if they were in a Normal Rockwell piece, painting a self portait. The camera then printed out a postcard with the image on it for the viewer and a digital copy was saved for Kremler’s own use. The biggest and most intriguing piece in his exhibit was a large hanging structure, that when loaded up with the provided colored sand, spun around and tilted like a teeter-totter sprinkling the sand on the floor as it went. Over time the sand formed color piles and patterns on the floor that changed with time and use.
His most visually interesting piece for me was a collection of small, medium and large TV’s all showing X-Ray images of brain function. The TV’s were mounted in custom wooden boxes with legs so the seemed like a pack of robotic animals staring up at the viewer. The fourth piece was a large sheet of plywood the Kremler turned into a huge postcard. With crayon the recreated a famous Van Gough and named it the Crayola Vangola. His intent was to mail it as is to a friend, with the intention being that along the way, the postman would look at it, as would anyone else involved in the shipping and receiving of the giant postcard.
Overall his work was made to be appreciated in different ways by a multitude of different people. His exhibition had a lot of variety, from giant sculpture, to digital aspects and classic drawing. His versatility made it very interesting and it will be cool to see where he takes his art in the future.

Kiel Johnson Artist Lecture

I attended Kiel Johnson’s lecture not knowing what to expect and I was really blown away by his work. I really enjoy working with my hands, be it for art or just changing the oil on my truck, and Johnson’s work reminded me of that feeling. His work with cardboard showed that anything can be used as art, not just clay, paint, computers or otherwise. His drawing work is above and beyond anything I could imagine doing, but his subjects were all very interesting, simple things that he put his own person flair into. Though Johnson’s work is almost all made of paper, cardboard and ink, he also adds a digital aspect to his work by filming the creation of his sculptures and that was really the most interesting part for me. As a lecturer, I though Kiel was awesome. He seemed really down to earth and didn’t hide any of his creative process or the ideas that led up to it. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy and his positive attitude really came through in the way he casually showed off his work and gave us the back story on what led him to start creating the different pieces. One of the coolest pieces that he showed was his newspaper printing press. I though that is was really cool how he went from drawing it out on paper, to cutting it from different pieces of cardboard and finally constructing it to the point where it was a moving functional piece. The icing on the cake was that he put in his own drawings on sheets of paper so it looked like his own art piece was printing out copies of his art. It really blurred the lines between functional machinery and art and I really enjoyed that.
His work on the cardboard Twin Lens Reflex Camera was the most impressive for me. As a digital media student, I haven’t been able to really create physical art and be able to justify it as digital media, but through his work being taped and timelapsed, I was inspired and shown that there is a way to bridge the worlds seamlessly. After leaving the lecture I was really refreshed to see how digital media can be used across a broad spectrum of different art. Though I did not know it then, his lecture and art inspired me to build a functional bike entirely out of wood and glue for my final project for this class. I used a GoPro to film the entire process and am making a video to accompany the physical piece. Without seeing his lecture I would have never been inspired to build the bike and though it has been a tedious project, I am really glad that his work changed the way I work.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Weeks 3-4 progress

I am most of the way through with building the bike and have been filming everything. I have a few hours of footage that I will need to cut down and speed up to show a fast forwarded version of the build for the final video. So far, the build has been pretty fun but frustrating at the same time.
So far I have built the frame, both wheels, front fork, and front axle. By next week the bike will be fully done leaving me a week to work on the final video. To complete the bike I need to make: -seat -handlebars -rear axle -pedals

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Week 2 Progress

I totally revamped my design and came up with a blueprint for an all wooden bike that should be totally rideable. The bike will feature a fixed gear drive system that will be powered by pedals mounted directly into the rear wheel.

The frame will be made from 2x4's and wooden dowels and everything will be held together with wooden pegs and glue eliminating the need for any metal screw or bolts. I believe the new design will be able to support the weight of a rider and allow the bike to be fully functional.

The wheels will be created from large sheets of plywood with a single layer inner spoke design and two layers of plywood sandwiched around the spokes to form the tire. This will provide strength and a larger surface area to grip the ground when riding.

I have gotten the plywood and some 2x4's from some scrap wood piles and am getting money together to buy the dowels, wooden pegs and glue to begin construction of the bike this week. I plan to start with building the wheels and then move on to the frame and rest of the bike as time permits, filming the whole process to put the footage towards the final video.