I really enjoyed hanging out with the digital artist crowd today, listening to Industry Giants talk baout their art and experineces. I was a BIG(D) VIP. How about that? Check out my photos. Link to Industry Giants Confence site
Here’s a welding quiz: When the Acetylene is gone from the tank, what is left that is important to remember when you go to replace it? (Answer is at the end of this article)
Seeing that the needle on the Acetylene tank gage was leaning low to the left, I figured I’d better get up to see my friends at Ferguson Gas and Welding supply here in Frisco. It’s a family owned business right in the old part of town. It’s nice to take a break from suburbia and big chain stores and have some home town style service by real people. I won’t say its Floyds barber shop, but it does remind me of the professional shops in my home town in Oregon I used to go with my Dad when I was a kid. Guys who do what they do for a living, not just a temporary job.
On this Saturday, I got to meet Nick Ferguson who was running the store. A little conversation and we quickly discovered we have in common the sense of excitement in response to the smell of burnt metal. It means something cool is being created, something powerful, something awesome. Sitting on the corner of the workbench of my dad’s welding shop in Oregon when I was a toddler, I got to see useful and magical exciting things take shape from pieces of steel welded together. That makes welders some of MyFavoritemachines.
These days the exciting things happen in a digital world that didn’t exist in those days. Still, I haven’t lost my love for metal, flames, and sparks. To me it is so very similar in fact that it is no wonder that I blend expressions of both in my art. It’s all creative, useful, innovatiove, and exciting.
So take some inspiration in this, and if you ever do need welding supplies, stop by to see the guys at Ferguson Gas. Maybe just to just look around the shop at all the cool welding stuff. This is real stuff, no virtual downloads, no cloud, no 404 messages. I’m talking real hard hardware. You can call them apps if you want to, but the software, the programming, the intelligence, is you.
I left Nick with a memento of appreciation, a MyPhoneStone, second from the left in this photo. If you stop in the Lewisville location, you might get to see it in person.
Its got a real adjustable wrench embeded in it so he could almost use it for tightening or loosening regulators. Righty tighty lefty loosy, except of course…(read quiz below)
Welding quiz Question: When the Acetylene is gone from the tank, what is left that is important to remember when replacing it?
Answer: The threads on the regulator are left. When you disconnect the regulator from the tank, remember that the threads are left-handed. This is for safety sake to help keep from connecting the tanks incorrectly. Forget this and you’ll be tightening instead of loosening.
Like the others, it still has the deliberately rough aesthetic. That probably won’t change for a while, though someday you might be surprised that I do have a taste for extreme minimalism too. Just not yet, Not now. I am still pretty much in the anti-slick rebellion and there is so much to say and do with it.
What you are likely to see is a migration from the utterly rough to an intense industrial motif that is only slightly rough just by way of materials and manufacturing methods. That’s not the same as the very rough, some say “crude”, finish that I have been doing, but it is still a strong contrast to the slick glass and brushed titanium electronic motif.
At some point you may see me launch an actual product, I mean using mass production methods and all. Then you should expect me to aim for a minimalist and highly functional design, one that aesthetically offers some contemplative novelty. It won’t be a rebeelion against the slick, but perhaps may still poke fun at the seriousness of the electronic aesthetic. I will aim for a rich design, yet the celebration of endless deliberate and random variation of the unique works of art that is these pieces, will of course be impossible unless, …… Hmmm. that gives me an idea…..
If you are still reading this, I am impressed.
New techy series of MyPhoneStones
Some have built-in charging cords
As always, each one is a unique signed piece of art. Limted supply – basically until I get bored and make something else.
So is this MyPhoneStone on steroids? Ouch, sore subject these days. Coincidentally, the first of these pieces go to a bicyclist friend of mine from Texas. No, not who you’re thinking of. This Guy is also a motorcyclist and techy UX design geek, AND one of my Kickstarter supporters. Remember Kickstarter? Yes, I am still diligently fulfilling my promises and most of them are met. And here’s one more. And this one is cool!
I like it when I get excited about something I’ve created. Trust me; it doesn’t always happen on the first try. Much sweat and bruises and burns and ideas tried and tweaked and tried again until it gets to the cool. I’ve got an abrasion from the wire brush wheel to prove it!
Making things that have function almost makes this into work. But rest assured, though these are functional, they are ART first. And that is what makes this fun. Art + geeky tech stuff has to be fun! Isn’t that one of the laws of thermodynamics?
Practical minded thrifty people – If you just want a thing to set your phone on, I’m sure Radio Shack has something just right for you. And be sure to show your card for your free battery. Hmmm, do they still do that? BestBuy has a whole freaking aisle or two of plastic gizmos and stands for your smartphone. And you can borrow my Reward Zone card! This is not that.
What this is? Remember when you went to see the Eiffel Tower or the empire State Building, or Statue of Liberty, or some other big thing? Anyway, remember as you were leaving, you forked over a twenty for some plastic or tinny molded mini-me of the thing to commemorate your visit? This is more like that. To those who attended BIG(D)ESIGN either of the past two years and saw MyPhoneHenge or MyFavoriteMachine up close in person, owning a MyPhoneStone is like the mini-Eiffel tower experience except for one very important difference. We are pretty certain that cute little tower you brought home from France was not actually made by Mr. Eiffel himself. Get it?
Every one of these MyPhoneStones is unique art, signed by the artist, numbered, and photo-documented. No two are identical (How boring would that be?) The supply is limited to until I get too caught up doing other kinds of art to spend time on these. And know that I have LOTS of other even more fantastic ideas in mind! So here’s a tip – don’t count on there being an endless supply of original MyPhoneStones.
In case you still don’t quite get it (I’m sure you do, I just want an excuse to talk more about it) the motif blends the tall monolithic image of the large scale art with the icons that were contain in each one. Remember those icons made from real world objects that were intended to make fun of the metaphorical iconography of virtual devices? Its “physical virtual, low tech rendering of high tech subject matter, ironic, iconic art“. I know, it seems I am having way too much fun with this!
Imagine making your own little arrangement of MyPhoneHenge using real phones! They also work great for the classic iPod and totally killer for showing off your business cards! And please please whatever you do, have fun!
A gigantic THANK YOU to all of MyPhoneHenge backers! After many long hours, the art was completed on time for BIG(D)ESIGN 2012. Electronics, media, and lots of metal hardware, and my heart and brains went into this art. Making something that topped MyFavoriteMachine in scale and magnitude in every way was challenging, but we managed to pull it off. It was a huge hit!
Transporting it to the event was done by me, with help from my #2 son, a pallet jack, and a truck with a hydraulic lift. Due to their size and weight of the pieces and a limited setup window, my goal was to move them mostly assembled from my studio to the location. Keeping them intact would save time, labor, and avoid some of the risk of something going wrong during final assembly on site where tools were limited. And since cranking up a welder or a noisy grinder in a hotel lobby would be out of the question, everything needed to be absolutely right before it went into the truck. Only the electronics were hauled separately to be installed on site along with the steel icons. The large monitors and the steel icons were carefully boxed along with all of the electronics hardware and cables, etc. It filled the truck to capacity!
An unexpected challenge emerged when we arrived at the hotel. Though we had verified the loading dock and freight elevator in advance, we soon discovered that the only path between the large ample spaced loading dock and equally generously sized freight elevator was strangely through the hotel kitchen which involved a narrow corridor only 36 inches wide. Who thought that was a good idea? I’d like to have a word with them. Well, it was a very tight squeeze and some floor molding that looked plenty scraped up already got scraped even more, but in the end, the score was: belveal art: 5 and kitchen corridor: zero. We pallet-jacked the monoliths in place and began assembling.
The process was very physical and I got more sweaty than you would care to hear about, but the art parts all went together exactly according to plan and MyPhoneHenge made its debut to a crowd of conference early birds and trade show exhibitors. Onlookers immediately gathered around asking questions and wanting to touch the art pieces, which I gladly welcomed. When the inquirers faded, I continued fine-tuning the audio and video and interactive elements into the evening for the large crowd that would arrive the next morning.
There were many special moments, audience reactions, great conversations, even live video interviews using the art as a set. The highlight for me, however was when one of the ADA design consultants who herself happens to be blind, came by to experience the art. I offered to provide a guided tour, which was really just me directing her hands from one monolith to the next, hitting the most tactile areas along the way. It was an awesome and most unexpected adventure. We both became Bilbo Baggins discovering mysteries beyond the Shire. She was thrilled just touching and dentifying these objects from the virtual world, for the first time represented in a form that she could actually perceive in real-life three dimensionally. The cold, the rough, the jagged, the abstract, the concrete; it was a thrill seeing it all through her hands. I had been living, eating, breathing this art for the past six months to bring it into existence; I knew every inch of it, and yet it was as if I was seeing it for the first time through her hands acting as eyes for us both.
See more photos at http://belveal.net/?p=1189
And also at http://belveal.net/?p=1116
I’ll be posting video too. But that will take longer.
Okay, its one month later. Now I’m focused on making sure that all the appreciation gifts are received accordingly. I have created more MyPhoneStones especially for my Kickstarter contributors and posted photos on my web site. So, please go to http://belveal.net/?page_id=37&wppa-album=13&wppa-photo=225&wppa-occur=1 to pick the one(s) you like. People are asking for these, but I am determined to serve my Kickstarter supporters first.
Also, because of complications working with the print shop, there has been a delay in the printing of the t-shirts. Rather than make people wait further I am offering additional MyPhoneStones in place of the one t-shirt. An extra MyPhoneStone means you can have one for the office, one for home, or share with a friend! They also work great as an IPod stand or for business cards.
If this is agreeable to you, please go to the web site and pick the one(s) that you like and email me their numbers along with your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can ship them to you.
I have settled up with some of you. Some right at the conference. For others, please hurry to pick the one(s) you like and let me know so I can get them to you. It might be good idea though to pick some alternates in case some other early bird picks your favorite MyPhoneStones first.
I would love to send you the MyPhoneStone(s) you want. So please respond soon.
Thanks again. I really appreciate the support!
Thank you to BIG(D)ESIGN 2012 for once again being a marvelous host to my art. What a great crowd and venue for my brand of “Tech-Expressionist” Sculpture. And thank you to all my Kickstarter supporters. Bless You!! It certainly eases the pain of birthing such a large hulk of metallic media innovation.
Following Big D, this work is going to the Gravity Centre Dallas to adorn the space of creatives. Now, I’ll be looking for others who would like something like this or MyFavoriteMachine to inhabit their offices. Its an awesome conversation-starter, especially if your business is design-related, really especially if it is about mobile design!
More photos below. You can also see these as a Slideshow on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/belveal/sets/72157629935295106/show/
This is the big Push week to get the lion’s share of MyPhonehenge completed in anticipation for the BIG(D)ESIGN 2012 conference at the end of this month. I’ll be adding photos as I go. Here’s some sketches to perhaps help you see right inside my brain.
Support the Art, See the Art! $150 Pledge gets your ticket into BIG(D)ESIGN and a MyPhoneStone and a T-Shirt! Limited to 30. That’s 1 BIG(D)ESIGN Ticket + a MyPhoneStone + T-Shirt! A $300 value for $150! Amazing! Won’t last long!
Problem: People really like MyPhoneStone but not everyone is able to pledge 99 to get one. That makes me sad. Hmmm. What to do. Roger, being a problem-solver by nature does some analysis work to solve this one. And after some effort, voila!
Is it Six Sigma style process improvement? Agile Iterative development? Genius design? Good old Yankee ingenuity? Or did I just get lucky? In any case, I have found ways to streamline the production of the MyPhoneStone, maintaining consistency that matters for function and still enabling the artistic variations from one to the next that makes it art.
I have to admit, it’s a little tricky applying Six Sigma to something like this since the concept and the name itself of Six sigma refers to elimination of all variation from one unit to the next. Obviously, that goes exactly against my premise of each one of these items being a unique work, right? Well, not completely. Since this art/product has to perform a physical function as well as offer a unique expression, it simply means that I apply Six Sigma to the function part while maintaining the freedom to explore infinite variations in ways that do not impair performance. See, kinda tricky, huh? Well, I am proud to say, I have done it and more. In addition to even braoder artistic variation, I am also exploring functional options including cord management and even a built-in charge cord option. I’ll have some photos later. Right now I’m exhausted from working the entire weekend on this and MyPhoneHenge.
In any case, what it means is that I can produce more, better, in less time. So, I am able to give these little guys away more liberally without it amounting to me becoming my own sweat shop employee. The good news for you is that I can give away a lost double what I was planning initially. Or if these were for sale outright, I’d be dropping the price by almost half.
So, all to say that I am modifying my Kickstarter gifts to make the MyPhoneStone more available at a lower pledge amount. Donating at the new 52 dollar pledge is going to result in you having your own MyPhoneStone.
Those who have already donated at the 99 level are going to have their deal sweetened by a choice of either two MyPhoneStones or one Phone stone + two t-Shirts. I really appreciate those who were early contributors and I wish to show it! The old 99 Crush level will be phased out and replaced by a new version that reflects this lower amount. Look for the changes immediately on my Kickstarter page.
PS: Many of these MyPhoneStones will sport a rendition of the BigDesign logo, honoring the event and organization that inspired this whole genre of art and prodcuts in the first place.