Saturday, May 9, 2009

Steampunk Art Pedistal

Last year I had the privilege of attending an art show in the Midwest. As I sat in my chair with all the other parents, I was listening to each of the awards that were handed out to the art students from various schools. Most of the art work was being displayed on the walls provided by the gallery and then there were those items such as sculptured vases etc. that were displayed on a few pedestals. As I studied them it occurred to me that all of them were the same gray carpet covered boring rectangular pedestal.

Then I had this idea to make a steampunk art pedestal and install an external stairwell to the top which would become symbolic of making your way to the top of the art world for approval and recognition. For students who are just starting out you can't help but see others who have become successful or you see the four year degree as along way off to accomplish. In addition it may seem like a long way to the top and to be recognized as an artist.
When I initially started this little "punk pedestal project", I made the typical rectangular pedestal without the gray carpet as my background format. Then I built a stairwell to the top on one side and then another one on the opposite side. This symbolizes the two common ways individuals make it to the top of the art world. The first kind has to do with those who buy their way to the top,(Politics, natural celeb gang and the rich and famous, working the popularity circuit etc.). The other individual is truly the natural artistic individual who makes art work for them. They are talented and naturally creative and everyone knows it. Then I got the idea to put a large obvious door(implying "thee only way") at the bottom with an internal stairwell that goes all the way to the top. Unfortunately it doesn't go out onto the roof. Instead it's a dead end street!!!

This dead end path stairwell was actually symbolic to me of individuals who go through life making their way through all the proper educational channels such as mentors, colleges etc and a lifetime of formal education and massive built up debit, but in the end it goes nowhere and the wannabe artist rides off into the sunset discouraged with no hope.

Eventually I decided to put handrails with lights which is symbolic of encouragement and direction from family and friends and others who inspire to give you a boost ahead. Along the path or steps to the top there are windows along the way which allow you to compare your art work and progress with others. Those who are on the "inside" have a tendency to look at those on the out side. Constantly playing the comparison game.

One thing I observed while at the gallery, most of the students stood off to the side and watched people admire their work and they were all ears as to what was being said. This inspired me to installed the spring style antenna to account for this common art show activity.

I also observed how the students would explain their efforts to those who took an interest. After all marketing was important because success and recognition was the name of the game and so it was only fitting to have a smokestack installed to symbolize "Blowing smoke"(which is a form of marketing). Oh yes and there is also a sewer vent for ("letting"). Internal Gas from eating all the junk food while staying up all night and eating the wrong foods while trying to meet the deadline.

Being under pressure is yet another area where individuals are trying to make deadlines and are caught at the last minute running out of energy, ideas and time. This thought inspired me to install a bronze 2,000 lbs of pressure sign and gauge which says in essence that we are human and can only do and take so much.

Along the side there is also a valve at the the top and bottom symbolic of letting off a little steam after a long week of preparations and being on edge for your presentation.

Although this pedestal will attract an audience from a distance the down side is that it becomes a distraction to the item intended to be displayed and thus defeats the purpose. It's like people who put other individuals on pedestals. They are usually disappointed when they do not meet your imposed expectations.

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