Tag Archives: BigD12

Gardens & Glass

I have long been an admirer of glass artist Dale Chihuly. A fellow University of Washington School of Art alumni, he is one of the great contemporary artists of our time. So, when Mary and I heard there was an installation in the Dallas Arboretum, it was not a matter of if, but when we would take a saunter through the grounds. It had to be after my own art obligations to the BIG(D)ESIGN 2012 Conference had been delivered and I had a chance to recover from the intense art creating time of the past few months.  So finally the day came when MyPhoneHenge was history and I was ready to go take in the spectacular mix of art and garden scenery.

The glass work, composed by a team of glass artists with Chihuly directing like a fine tuned machine, has become well-known for its organic forms and exuberant patterns as well as the vivid colors and light properties. The almost floral nature of the images has made the blending of these objects into a garden environment one of those mixes that makes you say, “Yes. Of course”.

Chihuly’s work can be seen in permanent exhibits in many public settings and the past few years has been seen in outdoor settings such as this one. The overcast day was perfect for getting some great photos of these pieces in the garden landscape. Here are some of my photos to enjoy here on my site.

Photographing art is also art. Photography to me is always about going in search of compelling compositions that show us some wonderful view of the subject that we might have otherwise missed. In this expedition, some of the images are of the glass alone while others are more about the unique view at the moment as the art interacts with light, shadow, and reflections, and other elements in the garden.

Some of these take on a painting-like motif, which I find particularly interesting since that’s how Dale Chihuly defines them in the first place, using quick spontaneous two-dimensional art to direct his staff in their creation.

As you can see, some of the most spectacular art in the gardens wil remain after the glass is gone.

– roger

Geek Iconic MyPhoneStone

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!

– roger

Thanks Kickstarter Backers! and Pick out your MyPhoneStones!

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.

The next two days were the fun part. Getting to stand of in the background and watch people’s reactions to the art was such a kick.  Everyone is a child, exploring this set of monoliths of steel resembling familiar things in a totally unexpected motif.  Objects coming out from behind the glass inhabiting our world is a surprise that pleases unexpectedly.  It satisfies an unarticulated appetite, though previous unvoiced, is certainly not unfelt. Many great conversations, too many to post here.Once again, the iconography proved to be the big delighter. In spite of the interactive media that everyone agreed was cool along with the mini TV sets in the icons, etc., there is something just deliciously simple and appealing about the real ordinary objects from daily life embedded in those large steel icons that always brings a smile, usually followed spontaneously by a touch.   People just like them.

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 contact@belveal.com 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!

– roger

Zuriel Merek @ BIG(D)ESIGN 2012

Check out the article on the BigDesign site about violinist, Zuriel Merek.  http://bigdesignevents.com/2012/06/zuriel-merek-and-the-electric-violin/

When I first heard Zuriel Merek perform outside the Creative Magma Studios at the Fort Worth ArtsGoggle 2011 ( See the video ), I became an instant fan. His music is amazing, unlike anything I’ve heard, and I’ve heard a lot of stuff! I could not have been more delighted that my art was being shown in proximity to this music. Techno art and techno spectacular music? How cool is that?

The match of this creative way-outside-the-box and yet classically-based electric sound is so in line with what we as designers and visual artists aspire to do that I thought, “This guy has to play at BigD!” I am so glad that Brian was able to make this happen. Thank you, Brian! And thank you Zuriel for being willing to come and play music for a bunch of geeks at a totally geeky event! Little did you know, you have been adopted into the DFW geek community as an honorary geek of the highest order.

We are anxiously looking forward to the release of your first album and hope to have you connected with geeky events to come!

– roger