I’ve been fooling around with mandala-like sketches to build on my Plains Mandala painted drypoint. They are forms that become repositories for symbols which attract me. In a way, the ‘mandalas’ are forays into discovering or illustrating ‘self’. My logic is that if a symbol fascinates me and I want to explore it, then it is speaking to my unconscious.
I have fun postulating odd towers, including their construction with lots of cranes (another favorite). Some of these drawings date back over 35 years. I like to imagine climbing up through them, living on top of them, experiencing the wind, and the thrill/fear of their height. The religious headquarters drawing metaphorically expresses the torturous journey to some sacred place. Some of them imply a defensive attitude toward the ground with perilous stairs to elevated entries. The last drawing inverts the tower with its penthouse close to the ground, providing a surprising gesture of humility.
I don’t know whether to love or hate some of the street art in my RiNO neighborhood. The art next to Sacred Heart is a good example of my ambivalence. On the one hand it is a clever use of the twin-tee warehouse wall construction in creating an image that changes as you approach it. On the other hand, it is an image that has its roots in juvenile anime, perhaps with meaning only for the initiated adolescent. That it is juxtaposed with the landmark Sacred Heart catholic church is another conundrum. Is it simply a coincidence – a chance encounter between the whim of an immature artist and an object of deep religious meaning? Is it an effort to capture the innocence of children linked to the innocence of faith? Or is it the reverse, a sly critique of religious faith as a naive wishfulness? My money is on the first instance. In any case, I find it disrespectful both to the church as a sacred place and as an architectural landmark, and wish that whoever funded the project had some sense of context and appropriateness.
I’ve been delving into my Native American past. I’m related to Instamaza (Iron Eye), the last Omaha chief through one of his four daughters – Rosalie. I’ve made a number of mezzotint prints of the people in this branch of the family. I’ve also started making acrylic / collages on paper adapting plains indian parfleche designs. This is one of works on paper which expresses the chaos of the last years of their culture.
I love the forms of industrial buildings, particularly agricultural buildings. The lacy steel structures juxtaposed against the solid rectangular and round shapes. The ways that they catch the light and cast shadows are inspirations.
There is a little story behind my logo. It looks like just a street grid and a north arrow, but it really isn’t. The ‘north arrow’ is an unstrung bow referring to my Native American (Omaha) heritage on my father’s side. It has a sadness to it – the ending of a way of life, a life tied to the land. The street grid is a nod to my profession – making cities livable, beautiful, healthy and exciting places. The logo tries to express respect for both entities – the natural environment and the constructed city.
Symbols embody such mystery for me. I love the subconscious in their meanings. The shell, water, and pearl are feminine images. Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus sums up the beauty of the female, the feminine spirit. As a symbol, so does the shell and pearl.
Ruins have their own beauty. They evoke a past, inevitably mythical since we know nothing of the real past. Who built this house? Why was it abandoned? What hopes did it enclose? Does anyone own it now? Do they know its history – its genealogy? It’s like a tombstone with its name eroded away.
As a subconsultant to Parsons Brinkerhoff, and based on their planning diagrams and direction, I created a mixed use retail, office and residential development incorporating most of the original mall’s anchors as well as a proposed new light rail station adjoining the mall site. Using realistic retail, residential and office building types with surface and structured parking, I laid out the mall site and the surrounding area and provided a hand drawn plan rendering.
I35 Corridor Plan, Lewisville TX
Working as a subcontractor to Parsons Brinkerhoff’s Phoenix office, I laid out the urban design form and provided hand drawn three dimensional visualizations for several subareas in Parson Brinkerhoff’s I 35 Corridor Plan through Lewisville, Texas.