I mentioned an invitational exhibition called Imagine Peace Now (organized by artist Boris Bally) a few posts ago where I received a gun that I will be transforming. As I mentioned earlier, I am excited to be a part of this exhibition. There are so many talented artists that will be a part of the exhibition and I am such a huge fan of Boris Bally to begin with. Upon receiving the gun, I began sketching ideas to turn it into a pizza cutter. It's been a while since I let my imagination run wild with a new pizza cutter design. The Isabella Cutter was the last cutter that I designed; but with it, I felt like I had to follow the design of Mike Isabella's tattoo. So I have been excited to have the gun to work with and to start fresh. I'm also anxious to apply some of the things that I've been learning these last couple years.
Honestly, this piece feels like a new transition piece for me. Part of the reason for my move, is to have more time to make my own work, show more, and honestly to hopefully return to a more simple existence. Upon making the decision to leave UWM, things have felt a bit lighter and I have been able to focus a bit more on taking care of myself. I went to the doctor last week, and they discovered a diastolic heart murmur, (which I will have looked at today with an echocardiogram), extremely high blood pressure (it seems the old medication wasn't able to maintain the level that I have), and a few other minor things. Even with all of this news, I felt like I was finally on the road to taking care of myself and seeing to things that I have just been ignoring due to being too busy. This cutter has already been fun to focus my energy on and I believe it's going to be really special to me due to marking this transition.
I thought I would show you a bit of the process of how I am going about this transformation. I usually start with several rough sketches to get an idea of what I might want to do. I made these sketches when I first received the gun. After dismantling the gun and taking a look at the various components, I started to refine some of my thoughts on what I could do with the parts I've been given. From these initial sketches I move to a more refined sketch, that is to scale, so I can get a sense of how things might look at actual size. This past Saturday, I started modeling the existing components and started creating forms that will represent the "massing" of the form. I start to work back and forth between detail and the overall form to start the evolution of the piece. Many things will appear "block-like" or "chunky" but eventually, as things progress, I will begin to see further refinement. For me, it's important to get to a place where I can begin making some parts as things still develop even as I am creating parts. This model should get me to that place, but I will have to further define some things in the modeling program at the same time as I am producing parts.
I've found over the years, that this aspect of mystery or curiosity in creating is what drives me to continue work on a specific piece. At the same time it is also, in my opinion, a problem with digital fabrication when it comes to my specific process. If everything I do is decided in the virtual vacuum, then there is little room for experimentation, reaction, or responding to the material in the moment. If decisions are planned down to the final detail then I often find myself not being interested to continue making. This is something that I realized when Eric and I were making our VW hotrods. There was something freeing in working with a piece if sheetmetal and not having a specific drawing other than what was in my head. It felt more like working with clay or glass, in that you could respond to the material in the moment. Some of my early childhood memories stem from this as well, digging through drawers of parts, or discovering things at the hardware store, and just working with the material that was on hand. My early pizza cutters were a similar response as the first cuter design came from an old car stereo amplifier heat sink that I had in a pile of scrap. In addition, non of those early cutters were CNC cut. They were created by manually cutting, and shaping metal with the homemade grinders; combined with basic manual milling and lathe work (but again with no plan for what the final shape of the parts might be). A lot of my recent CNC and 3D printing work has to be "so planned" in order to be produced. This factor begins to explain the sterile quality of things.
All of this is making me reconsider how I work and the workflow that makes me excited to create my own work. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate what can be done digitally, but there is something about understanding material and being able to respond in the moment. Sitting at the computer modeling just doesn't allow things to happen for me in the same way. I'm sure my opinions will continue to evolve, but these ramblings are just where I'm at right now. At the moment, I'm liking where things are headed and I'm excited to start making and responding to some parts very soon. I'll try to document this Imagine Peace Now pizza cutter as things progress.