While driving across the country (Boise Idaho, to Bordentown New Jersey),19 years old, on my way to my first assignment in the USAF, I was struck by many new experiences and sights. Prior to this trip, the largest city I had ever visited was Seattle. So, when I came off the plains of Wyoming, through Nebraska, Iowa, and Western Illinois, the skyline of Chicago came at me like a beacon from nowhere. Standing proud of the already impressive structures, was the Sear’s Tower, just 4 years old, black, ominous, and the tallest building I had ever seen. A full 104 stories taller than the One Capitol building in Boise, and towering 66 stories over 901 5th Avenue in Seattle. All I could think when seeing the Sears tower for the first time was “Wow!”
To say that the experience left an impression would be an understatement. Looking down from the observation deck on the 103rd floor was mind bending, and intimidating to someone who had only flown in an airplane twice, before the experience.
My 1973 object is inspired by that iconic Chicago structure and homage to the impression it left on me.
From small Northwest towns where the tallest structures around were grain silos and water towers, with a desire to see new things and travel, I knew at that moment – I was on the right path.
This recent work is inspired by the ironwork of the late 19th century. While we see this still exposed on bridge construction today, ironwork is the skeleton of brick structures over a few stories, and for the most part, remains within the skyscrapers to this day.
I’ve always been fascinated by the cold riveted assemblies of a million parts, that come together to create rugged, stiff, long lasting structures. Assuming they are cared for properly.
In the case of this particular presentation, I’ve finished the surface in iron and applied a chemical to produce the rust patina, then clear coated it to make it touchable. This is how most iron looks exposed to the weather in the Desert Southwest, where trusswork was used heavily in mining operations. Artifacts of this type stand after a hundred years of exposure.
This is the first of the series of lighted objects I have created for offer on the Lumenique site. I will publish each one with a brief on what inspired it.
Most will recognize this from one of my favorite cities on the West coast. As a kid, we visited the 1966 World’s Fairgrounds numerous times. We visited the museums and displays, then played on the grounds. My last visit there was many years ago, on a working tour of projects I was doing as a Lighting Designer in the area.