Posts Tagged ‘Gina Coffman’

Growth Spots in Occidental Park Seattle

September 12, 2014

This summer (2014) I was given the opportunity by the City of Seattle Department of Arts and Culture to work on a temporary installation in Occidental Park in downtown Seattle. The department enjoyed the installation I did last summer, “Welcome…Bon Jour” and asked me to participate in their ArtSparks program in Occidental Park. At first I was going to do another tape installation. I spent a few days coming up with various designs to put around the lamp posts in the park and even went down to the park and started taping off the poles so I would know which colors went on each pole. The very next day someone had randomly come by and taken down all the work that I had started. With the ease that it could be taken down I decided it was time to switch gears, do something bigger, more challenging and out of reach. I wanted to create sculptures. Something I had never done before.

My girlfriend Gina Coffman and I had been eying some large Styrofoam blocks that were left over from the highway 99 project and it was time to figure out how to acquire and use them. A few people down at the construction site let us know they were there for the taking. After finding a space to work I got started hacking away at these giant blocks. Handsaws, serrated knives, an electric Sawzall, files and an electric sander were all the tools I needed to sculpt. At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like this process. It was hard on my body and seemed to be very slow. I also tried out a resin coating that I had never tried before which sometimes took days to dry and sometimes only took a few hours. I couldn’t seem to get the mixture right and it was wasting my time and materials. So I decided to go with a simple solution and treat them like three dimensional canvas pieces. I coated them with Gesso, painted them and then coated them with a high-gloss wood acrylic to protect them from the weather. Once I had gotten the process down I was able to make the pieces much faster and things began to move smoothly.

Quite often in my work I start with a vague idea and flesh it out as I discover where the piece takes me and listen to where I am in life. I knew that I wanted to make pieces that looked like organic shapes growing on the lampposts. I had also been thinking a lot about relationships with people and what it takes for each of us to grow and have a positive relationship. I focused on the themes of Balance, Love, Integrity, Communication, Attachment, Relationship and Compromise. I also created two more pieces that may appear in another version of this installation that focus on patience and independence within relationship.

These pieces were on view from August 7, – September 30, 2014.

Special thanks to:
the City of Seattle Department of Arts and Culture,
Gina Coffman, Chris Rugh, Elijah Farrell and James

 

Compromise

Compromise: A little bit of one way, a little bit of another.
Compromise takes us to new places we never thought possible by being something
completely new.

Relationship

Relationship: The two dots (one hidden by the flowers) represent bodies in relationship to one another. The lines represent the obstacles between them. With a little work, those two dots could come together.

Love can feel warm and gooey and often feels protected like a womb.

Love: Love can feel warm and gooey and often feels protected like a womb.

To have integrity we must stand as tall as we can, tell our absolute truths and follow up on all loose ends.

Integrity: To have integrity we must stand as tall as we can, tell our absolute truths and follow up on all loose ends.

Each of these pieces represent an idea that one is trying to convey to the other. We can see from the outside that the ideas are  similar and at some point they may come  to an agreement.

Communication: Each of these pieces represent an idea that one is trying to convey to the other. We can see from the outside that the ideas are similar and at some point they may come to an agreement.

These two pieces are of different sizes but are coming close to being equal. As we all know, it takes a lot of work to get our balance just right.

Balance: These two pieces are of different sizes but are coming close to being equal. As we all know, it takes a lot of work to get our balance just right.

Attachment

Attachment: Like a screw, attachment burrows away at our expectations and keeps us in one place. Releasing expectation allows us to be a lot more mobile.

 

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“Welcome…Bon Jour”

October 9, 2013

This summer I was awarded a grant to install a temporary installation here in Seattle. My installation, entitled “Welcome…Bon Jour” was constructed from 1” blue painters tape and ¼” white electrical tape. The tape was laid into a pattern that spanned the length of two and a half blocks on a handrail that started at First and Marion and led to the ferry dock at Alaskan and Marion. Installation took eight hours with 10 volunteers. It became a piece dedicated to ferry passengers as a greeting and farewell to their day. To see a video of the entire installation click here: http://youtu.be/QWoCuYkh3VU

As with any project that has multiple people working on it I was able to take the position of project manager. This meant that as I was installing in one area I would need to check on my volunteers periodically to make sure there were no problems and help them adjust their process when necessary. Because of the various skill levels of the volunteers involved in the project sometimes conversations of the same idea needed to be expressed in different ways until I found a successful way of getting my point across. This also led to slight variations in the design. For some artists this may have been a problem but I found it to be part of the art and the process as well as a learning experience with communication.

During installation we had several people stop and ask us what we were doing and everyone who was informed was happy to hear about the project. Some folks even thanked me from their cars about how much they liked it. A few times pedestrians asked in a suspicious and slightly aggressive tone as if I was doing something wrong but when I explained to them what was happening they seemed to be fine with it and continued on their way.

During de-installation a few people were sad to see it go. One man who sells “Real Change” at First and Marion said that he heard people remark positively about it all the time while another shouted from his car that he was sad to see it go.

After de-installation I was left with a giant tape-ball that is slightly smaller but weighs more than a basketball. The object has a wonderful feel to it.

Overall I was very happy with the results of the project, the assistance of my volunteers and Marcia Iwasaki at the Office of Arts and Culture. I feel that the project went smoothly and was fun to be part of. Thanks so much to Gina Coffman, Michelle Boshart, Kelly Owens, Ben Reagan, Mackenzie Ryan Durst, Liz Rudisill, Romi Epstein, Farley Harding and Steph Cone.

 

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