This past Spring I helped teach a course on kinetic sculpture at Neighborhood Bike Works In West Philadelphia to a group of young bike enthusiasts, aged 8 to 16. I took part in the course as my community outreach project through the 40th Street Artist-in-Residence Program. The course culminated in the building of a giant moving bike-spider called Big Mama, which we “raced” in the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby in mid-May. It was a challenging but absolutely fulfilling experience which I’m so glad I had the opportunity to take part in!
The fabrication of the spider was an incredibly ambitious process, which the students took part in up until the last minute. Early on, we decided that the spider should have legs that moved independently, in the way a real spider would walk. We achieved this by mounting cranks on a pair of wheel chair wheels, which in turn pulled steel cables that were attached to the legs. The legs could be completely pulled in as needed - which was necessary on some of the more narrow North Philly streets. At one point during the ‘mud pit’ section of the race, one of the legs took out an unexpecting photographer. WHOOPS. The race was a blast, and Neighborhood Bike Works was well represented by the 20 or so volunteers and young riders.
Download our 24 song spider/bike/sculpture-themed playlist. And watch this slickly-edited short video that Jim Garvey put together about the class and the race.
Buckingham Place II, 2013. 11” x 18” x 2”. Laser-engraved frosted acylic, screen print and watercolor on salvaged wallpaper, reclaimed and unaltered wood planks.
The second piece I made that was inspired by a punk show at a friend’s house I went to last Spring.
(This is formal documentation of the work I completed during my year-long residency at 40th Street AiR in Philadelphia. The work was included in my exit show, The Past Is Over (June 2013), which showcased pieces made using a laser engraver, found/salvaged materials, and traditional printmaking processes.)