A wind-up music box featuring Jane’s Carousel along the Brooklyn Waterfront. When closed, the antique cigar box measures a mere 7 by 7 by 3 inches deep. When open, the Brooklyn Bridge and historic Jane’s Carousel fold out. The carousel spins to the tune of the music while the moon gently slides across the night sky. Materials: $4 cigar box, $5 wind-up music box, electrical wire (for trees), plastic lids for wheels, string (for motion), tape measure (for spring), tin foil (for water), and thick paper.
In the summer of 2014, I built a model of New York City containing many of the city’s landmarks, skyscrapers, and a bevy of subway cars. This creation measures a mere 28 by 36 inches and is made entirely of wood, paper, and plastic.
To learn more, please click here.
These sculptures made of paper, wire, and wood are powered by the wind. When placed before a light breeze, their pinwheels spin and power the sculptures’ cyclical movements. The bird will soar. The horseman will eternally charge forward, lance at the ready.
This series explores movement. Each sculpture physically and symbolically invokes the purity and lightness of moving elements.
Pinwheel is the simplest in this series. A light breeze spins a three-pronged pinwheel, which vibrates a wire. The following sculptures are variations on this mechanism.
In Ocean Voyage, the pinwheel gently rocks a sailing boat. Wind movement translates into wave movement.
Liberty explores the search for freedom. The pinwheel connects to a wire that flaps the dove’s white wings. Ironically, the dove flees from the source of its movement.
Similar to Liberty, Don Quixote’s Windmill explores the interplay between source and recipient of movement. The pinwheel powers the horse’s legs as it charges forward. Ironically, Don Quixote attacks the windmill that powers him.
In Cityscape two pinwheels power rows of zigzagging traffic. In this “snapshot” of urban life, movement is choreographed along mechanical lines. A black paper cutout contrasts the white sculpture, which is illuminated from beneath.
Time employs movement as a metaphor about life and death. A crank rotates a wheel and powers a walking skeleton. On the wheel, silhouettes of infant, child, worker, senior, cripple, and coffin symbolize the stages of life. While the skeleton depicts death, the wheel depicts continuity. In juxtaposition to the series, the human hand, not natural wind, moves the sculpture and completes the metaphor.
A small cable car passes through my colorful city of brick buildings and ornate street lamps. With a flick of the wrist and a light tug on a string, I can set the two cable cars in motion.
Cities fold out from boxes. Let little wonder lands emerge.
When I look at old pictures of my neighborhood, I realize how much of my city has disappeared in the past forty-some years. This sad trend will inevitably continue. If not in the form of my city’s physical destruction, then in the form of my gradual loss of childhood memories. To reconcile this sobering thought, I have constructed the below model as my very own souvenir. This keepsake will forever remind me of identity: Newark, NJ.
The impressive range New York’s architecture, from the humblest home to the slenderest tower, powers my inspiration to create. I aim to capture my perceptions of bustling New York in this model. With a base measuring only 28 by 36 inches, I have built an intricate model replete with subway entrances, lampposts, and people. Whenever I glance at my tiny creation, I rejoice in knowing that my love of New York is within the breadth of my arms.
To see a short film about this model, click here.
Paper Cutout Models
Over the years, I have gradually constructed a small dollhouse. Using balsa wood and cardboard, I have constructed the numerable pieces of furniture, many of which are the size of a matchbox. Odds and ends (many from my sister) such as bottle caps, cloth scraps, and earrings complement the intricate displays.
Visiting China, I was shocked by the massive reach of globalization. On the train, I witnessed an endless treadmill of mile after mile of identical crops, villages, and cities. The polluted skies and downcast weather hinted at the relentless combine of economic growth. I swore to myself that such a sterile environment was fit for helpless ants.
Returning home, I earned greater appreciation for my own artistic creations. They seemed so much more innocent, smaller, and quainter. I had something independent of “the combine” I could call my own. No matter how much the volatile world changed, my art would forever remain the same, my Unmanufactured Landscapes locked in time.
This lightweight and colorful creation explores how perception alters through shifting one’s vantage point. Inspired by the designs of Italian Futurists, this “tree” is part sculpture, part Tower of Babel, and part abstract spaceship.
Dimensions: 3 ft diameter base by 8 ft high
On the speeding subway, the chaotic city passes by. At each turn of the screeching train, I behold new sights. A colorful whirlwind of life. At each new tunnel, I wait for the burst of light at the other end. It is a journey in a nutshell.
And then . . . there is the expectation of the next journey.
To learn more about this creation, click here.