Sculpture Artist Highlights Health and Wellness

Installation and sculpture artist Laura Phelps Rogers recently completed a piece titled Walk to Improve Your Outlook on the stairwell at Lamar Station Crossing apartments. The interactive piece contains a motion censor component so large neon words light up as the viewer (or stairwell walker) gets close to the installation itself. We speak to Laura about this piece and her work in general.

Tell us the premise behind the piece.

I was really interested in creating an environment. I went over to the space and spent some time contemplating how I could create a dynamic backdrop for residents. A good portion of my work is installation work, small and large scale, and I always try to run from a site-specific perspective.

What does site-specific mean to you?

It means that you go to a space and consider it as a whole, how are people using it, the location of it, the background of it, the history of it. When you think about the history of the space, what was the dominant industry? How did people fashion themselves here?

Even the color scheme for the piece was site-specific. The housing department already had a color scheme and they’d put a lot of work into developing the palette. When I interviewed them, it seemed to me that it was important to them. I enjoy doing primary colors anyway but I wanted to develop a piece that coordinated with the organization itself.

The words Walk to Improve Your Outlook work together but also have a bold meaning when they stand alone. How did the specific word choice come together?

The phrase ‘walk to improve your health’ was already there, and pretty common but it felt to me like it had been drilled into people already. The word outlook is similar but also embraces the journey toward upward mobility that Lamar Station Crossing provides. This is an apartment complex that allows people to lead a life that feels free.

What other themes encapsulate this work for you? 

A Model Showing the Installation and Stairwell.

Artist Model Showing the Installation and Stairwell.

I think it’s about changing people’s lives through art. Art has the power to do that. That someone would want to hang out in a stairwell, that’s a pretty big accomplishment for me.

You can see Laura’s work Walk to Improve Your Outlook at Lamar Station Crossing apartments, located at 6150 W 13th Avenue, Lakewood, CO 80214.

http://www.mwhsolutions.org/lamar-station-crossing.html

See Laura’s full biography, artist statement, and work at, http://www.lauraphelpsrogers.com, or connect with her via Facebook using her full name, Laura Phelps Rogers.

Advertisements

40W Artist Documentary Series: Greg Wasil

My sincerest thanks to my co-conspirator Melanie Stover, artist and sculptor Greg Wasil, and artist and video artist Robert Evans for their dedication, commitment, and energy to this project.

Robert Tammany Evans grew up in Wyoming, Colorado, and Idaho, making art at an early age. He recently graduated from Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design with an emphasis in video. Robert uses modern digital technology as well as a combination of traditional artistic practices including drawing, photography, and music. See more of his work: roberttammanyevans.tumblr.com or contact him here: rte1023@gmail.com

Greg Wasil learned early to love the world of metal and machines. His father was a welder and passed to Greg the pleasures of making, shaping, getting dirty, and working with his hands. Greg transforms metal and other materials to craft large and small sculptures. You can read his full artist statement and look at more of his work here: www.justsomethingdifferent.com

How did he do that? Artist Greg Wasil explains his process.

Guest blogger Greg Wasil walks us through his artistic process for his recent work “Lug Nut” in our Rolling Route 40: The Hubcap Art Show.

Lug Nut, Greg WasilCONTEMPLATION:

I have been saving stuff for many years.
Mostly car stuff, but really anything interesting.
Then I heard about the hubcap show at 40 West Arts District.
I had a big box of hubcaps and knew I could do this.
It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
I just started putting hubcaps on the floor and rearranging them until it looked good.
I had two matching caps and put them down as eyes.
Now I had the eyes, but how would I make a nose, a mouth?
I just kept trying different caps in place to look like a face, but it did not seem complete laying on the floor.
After many attempts I had something that looked good, but it still needed more.
I can see things in my head but I have a hard time drawing them, but I got a pencil and paper and scratched out an outline of a face, drew in the hubcaps, and had what I wanted.

ACTION:Lug Nut, Greg Wasil

I got some plywood, drew out my shape, and cut it with my reciprocating saw.
Then some sand paper to smooth the edges and it was time to put the hubcaps on.
I put the caps on, but it did not look right, so a little sanding and playing with different things and I had my face.
It still needed something.
I got some stain for the plywood, put in some red pearl paint I use for auto work, and stained the face.
Much better.
Now I had to make all the hubcaps stay on.
First I tried to glue them, but when I picked it up and the plywood started to bend, they all fell off.
Now that was not going to work, so on to plan two, screw them on.
I did not want screws showing so I had to screw them on from the back.
Easier said than done.
I had to measure where I wanted everything, drill holes, and screw it together.
It looked good, but was still missing something, hair.
Off I go looking for hair.
In the corner I had a bucket of lug nuts and after several try’s, had what I needed, but how to put them on?
I got screws, put them in from the front, and glued the lug nuts to them.
It only took me about ten hours to complete, but it took me weeks to plan and make “Lug Nut” look like I wanted it to.

Greg Wasil
WAZ
justsomethingdifferent.com

Greg Wasil learned early to love the world of metal and machines. His father was a welder and passed to Greg the pleasures of making, shaping, getting dirty, and working with his hands. Greg transforms metal and other materials to craft large and small sculptures. You can read his full artist statement and look at more of his work here: www.justsomethingdifferent.com

Yard Art Yard

Who is going to see it, God?

That’s the question posed to William Jude Rumley by his nine-year-old daughter in response to Rumley’s plans to build an art installation in the yard of his home. The home is Tudor style, beautiful and historic with a steeply pitched roof and deep red brick throughout. The yard is expansive with overflowing plants and bushes that flower in the summer months and feel almost wild, reminiscent of a spring hike in the mountains or a French countryside. Standing in opposition to this sense of unbridled nature is a large spot of buffalo grass, spacious and manicured to an even finish. It is here where Yard Art Yard was formed.

View of Light Rail

View of Light Rail

“I had not been making art for a while and I needed to do something with my yard” William states. “I was looking at this yard and thinking, I should make something out of this.” William comes from a background of Irish farmers and his original idea was to tie art installation and food production into one.

“The first piece I came up with was Sky Garden”, he says. “I was thinking of this whole idea of second use, the idea of using water twice”. Sky Garden is a series of painted flower boxes that sit atop high wire trellises. William explains that the flowers at the top are watered and water then flows down to the trellises beneath.

The coming of the new W Line light rail sparked William’s creativity even further. He realized that “there is the most amazing kinetic sculpture going right by my house” and felt that he could leverage the backdrop of the light rail train as a conduit for art. The increased foot traffic past his house to Lamar light rail station didn’t hurt either. William expanded the idea of art installation on his lawn. He collaborated with other artists and used his gift as a photographer to translate the installation process to video.

William describes this period in his own words. I was “looking at different ways to exhibit art and celebrating the urbanization of this area. I did not want to function as an artist or curator. The idea was that I would find these artists under natural circumstances and bring them in. My only job is to help facilitate the art. It’s trying to get out of the idea of the white box gallery space.”

William clarifies that he respects and appreciates the traditional art setting, the “white box” as he calls it, but also loves that his yard is organic, unruly, and simple. His collaboration process with an individual artist follows the same pattern. No money is exchanged, he doesn’t seek out artists but rather allows the process to unfold naturally, and there’s no specific length of time that a piece remains on exhibit.

The interchange between the artist and the viewer strikes a similar note. Yard Art Yard is a play on words. The first two words, Yard Art, encompass the idea that every yard is a work of art. Whether it’s Christmas lights or pink plastic flamingos each homeowner grapples with the artistic process that makes their yard unique. The last two words, Art Yard, describe the gallery space itself, an outdoor venue where artists showcase their work against a backdrop of grass, sky, and light rail lines. It’s not too far fetched to think that if there is a God, he might be watching too.

Yard Art Yard is on display at the Northeast corner of 13th Avenue and Otis Street, between the Wadsworth and Lamar Light Rail Stations.

Currently on display is “The Manifold People” by artist Donald Gary Fodness.

Please remember to check the outdoor display kiosk to link to William’s video interview with each artist.

Videos for past and current projects are listed below.

https://vimeo.com/album/2445412

Science Fiction and Art Collide

The theme of science fiction feels very contemporary to me. With box office smashes like Gravity and Ender’s Game and a resurgence in literature and television of all things other-worldly, the time for science fiction is here and now. That’s why the most recent show at 40 West Arts Gallery, the Sci-Fi Fall Arts Harvest, hits the mark with its clever ability to draw us in through our shared love of science fiction, and leave us pondering the ethereal, unconventional, and downright whimsical pieces in the showcase.

I spoke to Julie Byerlein and Bill Marino, co-chairs of the 40 West Arts District regarding their show.
Continue reading