I finished three intensive years managing the Helen Sommers Building during the end of design and start and end of construction as well as helping with the move-in processes from Olympia while living during the week in an apartment a 10 minute walk from the field office across from the project. I worked as an employee of the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services as the Project Director acting as the management lead and the owner until the end of February 2018. Since I had very little time in the last three years working in Olympia and decompressing on the weekends in Seattle I spent much less time producing and promoting my art.
After a month off, I accepted a new project manager position, again with DES working mostly from my Seattle home office and managing all state funded planning, design and construction projects for Shoreline Community College and North Seattle College. The new position for the Seattle schools started March 1, 2018 and though the intensity of a new way to work on many projects is challenging I will now have more time to work in my shops and studios in Seattle and have noticed an slight uptick of work during some evenings and weekends. Hopefully the learning curve of the new state job will lessen and give me even more time in the off hours in the next several months and in the future.
Several of the present works in progress and future work will have neon tubes. I had the honor of learning at Western Neon's classrooms and studios during a session I took with my daughter during some evenings and weekends in January, February and March. I have made sculpture for years based on my conceptual view of work, often employing sawtooth roofs on factories and sometimes adding site planning or landscape surrounding work places representing a broader narrative in the pieces. A decade ago I thought it curious that the second Bush presidency was going to depend on technology to solve the world's environmental problems instead of reducing our carbon footprint. This led to a variety of sculptures that imagined sites that could control the character of the atmosphere improving the quality of air and focusing the sun's energy to produce better crop yields, create clean educational jobs and reduce pollution. The "factories" in this case were neutral or positive in their being. The latest sculptural mock-up shows neon tube inserts I learned to bend using some custom tube holders to keep a double back shape's double tube legs parallel while giving both simultaneously a 90 degree twist. One of many tubes bent was successful. One of the instructors for the Western Neon class welded electrodes to the tube and it lit up well. After one mock-up for the plexiglass base for the neon and the wood factory a second factory was reduced in length and the neon tube was laid in without the final supports as shown in the following images.
Are these industrial compounds used for good or just profit? Does the neon tube refer to a new substance gathered from earth or from beyond? Will the public ever know what this really does or the source of energy. Will it be open to discovery, shared openly? Will there be an interpretive center for visiting and viewing these installations?
This is a mock up and there will probably be a half dozen iterations made with sheet acrylic, wood, some in steel, maybe some with cast or fused glass components, maybe some ceramic components. Hope to make the finished pieces soon.