I am an installation artist living and working in Oakland California. My artworks are inspired by Cabinets of Curiosities, anthroplogy, and natural history museums. My new installation, Frontier will be a panoramic diorama displayed inside a circular room I will build inside of Basement Gallery here in Oakland. The installation will be exhibited in May 2016.
I will construct a dramatic scene of massive 19th century ship models on open water racing toward land, sculpted entirely out of natural beeswax, and melt it at the opening reception. That's right. I want to melt down a room sized diorama made out of wax.
While I often make very large work, recently I have been making small-scale landscape dioramas with vessels just offshore of an untouched landscape. The ship is a curiosity in this scene moments before the explorers make landfall. Tension builds in the descent to land, both glorifying for the explorers and terrifying for the native peoples and the natural wilderness; I plan to explore this idea further on a large scale with Frontier.
Starting in late April I will make the circular room structure out of 2x4’s inside the Gallery. I plan to make the skin of the round structure’s sides out of ¼ poplar bending ply and patch/sand/paint to smooth gallery white. After the structure is built I will begin installing the wax diorama.
I have been building model ships in a range of sizes and making silicone molds of them, which I will use to make beeswax casts of the ships for the diorama. The sails and rigging of the ships will all be made from beeswax, as well as the landscape and the ocean. I plan to use only wax for the entire diorama, and if necessary some thin copper wire. I will place the premade wax ships into the diorama and sculpt the ocean and landscape in the gallery until I am satisfied with the level of detail.
Plexiglass will be siliconed into place to view the finished diorama and keep all wax contained to the interior of the structure as it melts. Heat lamps will be set above the diorama and will be timed to go off around 15 -20 minutes of each other.
In May, Basement Gallery will host the opening reception of Frontier. Over the course of 2-3 hours the diorama will slowly melt from one side to the other, creating a sluggish wave of hot wax that continues to melt as it moves.
I will have installed cameras inside and outside the diorama to document the melt. I will record the diorama melting in HD and offer it as a video reward for funding (THE PACKET). I hope to show it in the future as a large projection.
I love making large scale, time-based installations. This exhibition will draw from the full breadth of my practice as I focus on creating settings that engage audiences through ephemeral artifacts and displays. To make this project and experience possible, I'm asking for help to cover my base costs. By investing in my project, this installation, its message, and impact will be made possible. I have many exciting gifts for your contributions!!
Here's how I plan to use my funding:
$200 for 250 feet of 2x4's to build the frame of the diorama room
$600 for 18-20 sheets of flexible plywood
$200 for mold making materials to make molds of ships
$150 for plexiglass to contain the diorama as it melts
$250 to rent 6 GoPro video cameras for one day from my local camera store and place inside the diorama to document it melting in HD.
$300 for locally sourced beeswax
$75 for 6 heat lamp bulbs
$180 for 6 light sockets and dimmers
Risks and challenges
I have a set date for this exhibition at Basement Gallery in May 2016, so there's no turning back and the pressure is on!
I could have potential problems with the wax melting too fast, or not melting at all.
To ensure the success of the project I am doing a series of tests on the temperature of the lamps and their proximity to the beeswax sculptures. I am hoping to work out all the bugs before the final install to ensure everything works according to plan. In theory, having the diorama enclosed behind a thick acrylic should ensure a rise in temperature overall, aiding to the whole diorama melting sufficiently.
I will be monitoring the overall temperature inside the diorama with thermometers. All the heat lamps will be on dimmers so the temperature of each lamp can be lowered or raised throughout the melting process.
I am confident that although there are a few challenges, this diorama will be triumphantly and safely melted!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)