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.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Week 1 Progress

Projected timeline for Project #2

4/03 Create timeline for project.
Draw projected plans/blueprints for bike
Decide on materials/strategy for building

4/10 Buy/Gather wood
Being building
Film building process

4/17 Keep building and filming
Organize footage as the project progresses
4/24 Finish building bike and filming

5/01 Edit footage into short video to accompany the physical project.

5/08 Final CRITIQUE/PROJECT #2 Due

I have two different way of making the bike in mind. The first way I would use dowels of various sizes for the main part of the frame and then cut wheels out of plywood to form the big circular parts. I would use glue and wooden pegs to hold it all together and it would most likely be rideable.

The second option I would like to explore is using branches from actual trees. I would have to hunt for pieces that are close to the actual shape of the frame so I could use as few branches as possible and have nature dictate the form somewhat. This would be much less exact and be more of a show piece than a rideable bike.

I made a general plan for the size of the frame but it is just a guide so I purchase or find the wood to start building with.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Project #2 Proposal

For my second project I really want to build something with my hands. After attending Kiel Johnson's lecture earlier this semester and seeing the videos he created following his various projects I was really inspired to actually make something physical instead of just manipulating things with a computer.

Kiel Johnson's Cardboard Twin Lens Reflex Camera Time Lapse from Theo Jemison on Vimeo.

While he made all sorts of objects out of cardboard, I want to make a bike entirely out of wood that will roll and have working pedals and steering. I plan to tie my project into digital media by filming the entire construction process and making a short video showing all the steps to make each aspect of the bike and the final product. The final product will be a wooden copy of a real bike with a video to accompany it. Everything possible will be made by hand leaving all the wood raw with no paint and each process will be revealed in the video.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Project #1 - MOTION

By filming with the GoPro I was able so get a new perspective on forms of motion that many of us see every day. Combining this video footage into a moving collage and adding an original score composed of sounds from the different motions involved in the video adds another element of movement to the piece. I really wanted to convey movement through the video and with all the elements used I believe I was able to do so.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Since last week I have filmed more and tested out the new mounts I got. I have also been recording sounds with the Zoom recorder that I have access to through my Music 409 class to record sounds of motion that I will mix into an original soundtrack for my piece. My original plan was to use eyecon to control the sounds, but after thinking about it I don't think it really adds anything at all to the piece and will probably just confuse viewers. Instead of using the eyecon, I plan on dedicating my time to making an experimental music piece to accompany the video which will play along with it. I plan to use sounds from the motions I filmed and mix them together into something entirely different. I got to use to new mounts on the back of a snowmobile and i think they add a very cool new view.

Im going to spend the next week getting everything worked together in Final Cut and After effects and writing the soundtrack to have to all ready for Tuesdays presentation

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

week 4

I ran into a couple speed bumps this week. I ordered a couple different mounts for the camera 2 weeks ago expecting them to show up pretty quickly but I didn't get them until today leaving me no time to put them to use. I do have them now and can't wait to put them to use this week.

Before I was pretty much using duct tape so secure the camera on the skateboard and car so these new mounts will help stabilize the picture and allow me more confidence that my camera will be safe on a car or other moving vehicle.

I was able to get much better shots on the skateboard using the duct tape and better lighting. I was planning on getting some different shots outside on the streets and in other skateparks but the weather stopped that pretty quickly so I will make sure to shoot as much as possible as soon as the ground is dry again. Here is a quick mix of the shots I got last night .

This week I plan to shoot more, record sounds and edit a soundtrack with them to apply to eyecon. I hope to get enough footage to start editing it all together in final cut and after effects to get closer to finishing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Week 3

I spent this week refining my idea and I feel like I've finally honed in on a concrete way to arrange my project and show different aspects of motion through video. I shot a bunch more video with the Gopro and ordered a couple new mounting options that will make the final product a lot easier to get right. So far I have just been compiling video and haven't edited anything together yet, but I made this mockup in photoshop of how I see the final product looking with screen grabs from some of the video I shot.

Each cluster of videos, 4 in this mockup, will have a different subject with the camera filming forward, backward, left and right while mounted to the moving objects. In this one I used a truck, skateboard, snowmobile and motorcycle. Im still playing with what modes of transportation to use for the final product and am open to more ideas. I also mocked up a picture of lights in motion with a slow shutter speed as the background to emulate the futurist paintings and might have a slideshow of photos like that for the final video product. I used one I found on google for the background and then went and shot my own at a skatepark afterwords that I like a lot more.

I want to try it out this technique at different places to get different streams of light in motion. When it all comes together their will be multiple views of different motions playing at once.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Week 2 Progress

I shot more video with the Gopro, both under a skateboard and under my car to similar perspectives of motion and watching the wheels turn. I need to work on the lighting with the skateboard and making a better mount that will handle more movement. I also came into the lab and played with eyecon to get a feel for it and how I want to use it for the sound aspect of my project. After looking through some of the works of the futurists and their treatment of motion even with static forms like painting like these ones. 

I want to explore effects in final cut and after effects that might give it the blurred ripple effect like in the second painting and apply that concept to parts of my video. Overall I want to keep shooting and hone in on exactly how I want to represent motion in my video piece.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Progess Report #1

So far I have been playing with the gopro camera and the camera on my phone to come up with a more definite idea of how to portray motion through the video installation. I have filmed some short test clips with the camera mounted on the bottom of a skateboard showing the ground go by, the wheels spinning and the side to side motion of the trucks turning. I also want to mount it to the wheel of a moving car to get the camera to rotate around with the movement of the vehicle. I want to get as many clips of different types of motion as possible and then edit and refine my final product from there.