Underlying Currents

Submitted by Julio Sims

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Project

Client: City of Culver City Department of Cultural Affairs / Bidamar Corporation (Real Estate Developer)

Location: Culver City, United States

Completion date: 2009

Artwork budget: $40,500

Project Team

Artist

Julio Sims

Architect

Jai Pal Khalsa

Khalsa & Associates/TKG West Inc.

Public Art Agent

Christine Byers

City of Culver City Department of Cultural Affairs

Landscape Architect

Bryan Spangle

Hudson & Pacific

Overview

(650 sq. feet / ceramic tiles) The repeating tile pattern in Underlying Currents references water, the human body, wood grain, and the raked stone ground of Japanese Zen gardens, depending upon the color. Located at the entrance to three buildings of a residential development, each section is glazed to complement the color of its respective building. The tiles bring a rhythmic, organic element to the property.

Goals

Throughout time, walkways symbolically mark the transition from the domestic to the public sphere. Residents and their guests, along with delivery, maintenance, and service providers experience the artwork by literally stepping into it. The underlying interconnection within nature, society, a neighborhood, and an individual is subtly suggested. An established urban neighborhood transitioning towards re-development receives a beautiful, yet thought-provoking feature intended to stand the test of time.

Process

The project architect persuaded the real estate developer to commission artwork as an enhancement to the property at a very late stage. The building's design and color scheme was already well established. The landscaping area in front of the property was too narrow to accommodate a free-standing sculpture. I therefore created a design that utilized the vast available paving surfaces and complimented the rich, velvety stucco treatment of the townhouses. Jacaranda trees, with their linear leaf patterns and falling lilac-colored flowers, were intentionally chosen to harmonize with the tile design.