Kinetic sculpture, Water Bug, at the Smiley Building

Submitted by Jeff Glode Wise

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Client: Smiley Building Loan

Location: Durango, CO, United States

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $38,000

Project Team

Artist

Jeff Glode Wise

Future Wise Inc

Building Owner

Charles Shaw

the Smiley Building

Artist assistant/Videographer

Emily Ciszek

Overview

Launching a satellite of sun and shadow. I had wanted to make a large kinetic piece with an open, weblike design that would cast undulating shadows on the ground below. It needed to be as light as possible, so that it would move in the smallest of breezes and low weight would make installation simpler. I’ve developed a mounting system based on a single steel point resting in a weatherproof cup of grease that allows the piece to tilt off axis and spin freely. The sculpture measures 18 feet across by 18 feet tall and is powder coated with painted yellow accents.

Goals

The Smiley Building in Durango CO. is a former high school, built in the 1930's of yellow brick. The owner, Charles Shaw has done a remarkable job of turning it into an arts and design oriented campus and is one of the largest solar powered buildings in the state. Charles and I have an arrangement for staging my new sculpture there, before they get sent out for exhibitions, or while they await purchase by other clients.

Process

We wanted to place the sculpture close to the building, where it would cast shadows on the edifice itself as well as the pedestrian walkway underneath. At first we were thinking of erecting scaffolding and lifting the piece with block and tackle, since we prefer the more low tech, adventurous solutions, but that would have blocked access to a parking lot for a day and required pedestrian management, so we decided instead to accept the offer of another local business for the free use of a high forklift. This enabled us to put the piece up safely in about 30 minutes.

Additional Information

I've recently begun working with a young artist who was interested in learning how to weld, and it also turns out that Emily is an excellent videographer, so she filmed the installation of the piece. Emily and I have nearly completed my next piece, which will be a suspended sculpture with a floral galactic vibe.