Lately I find myself suggesting Matt Shlian to everyone and anyone slightly interested in paper or geometry. He’s one of my favorite paper artists out there.
Shlian’s work is an incredible engineering fete of folding. His works often leave me puzzled on how they were constructed, and wanting to constantly see more of what he dreams up. They’re so very architectural and artistic, I very much love the way he works in which the energy and process dictate the final result. Similar to the way I create my own puzzles and paths in my own work as I go, yet incredibly structured, the opposite of my chaotic mass.
“I begin with a system of folding and at a particular moment the material takes over. Guided by wonder, my work is made because I cannot visualize it’s final realization; in this way I come to understanding through curiosity.”
All photos from mattshlian.com
Lately all of my energy outside of design is going to rethinking the geodes. I have coveted the use of paper and loved the process of deterioration, but there are other factors at play now: art buying, size, and ease of replication.
1. Interior installations/art pieces are something I’ve obviously started and as I create them I’m always thinking of how they can be purchased. I’m happy that people are willing to buy these hand-crafted pieces coated in polyurethane paint (which should help them last longer), but I know that potential buyers will want something guaranteed forever.
2. Size! The Box Geode was huge and I did it and I feel like a maniac and I’m proud! What an accomplishment to fold around 5,000 pieces of paper (with help of my two awesome assistants of course). I would do it again and probably will, but I’d like to go bigger and faster.
3. Now I need easy replication. As my work load grows larger and the demand is more, I cannot keep doing street art pieces every week. In fact, I’ve done none all summer. I’m sad I’ll lose the green nature and the quick deterioration, but I think spreading the work may win out for me.
Resin casting. I’ve been experimenting with making molds of my paper pieces and casting them in various types of resin. Some of you may be following me on Facebook or Instagram and seen some of my successes. I’ve provided a few images below of what I’ve been working on.
The plan is to cast pieces faster and make them myself for around Los Angeles. The other plan is to send out packages to people around the world so they can create the art themselves in their cities. I have a few hole hunters out there already and am excited to see how this project will pan out. If anyone is interested, let’s start the conversation too!
The large square trapezohedron above is a failure because of the obvious gaping hole on one side. Fortunately, this can be corrected by how well I rotate my mold when I pour the resin in. I just wanted to share this large piece because I’m super excited by how much it actually looks like the paper piece I made. Also, how cool does it look when it looks like it’s melting?!
What do you think of using plastic in the street?
In other news, I have some more deterioration images for you. The geode on 7th Street located at Tony’s Saloon is slowly being torn apart by people. I think it’s crazy interesting! I’m wondering, is it because it’s in front of a bar, in DTLA, or because it’s so big? Maybe one day I’ll find a grant to help me study this social interest.
It’s actually quite impressive what he’s done in between his own work and relaxing—shooting with his iphone while I folded pieces at a bar for example. So stealth! Hope you enjoy the video and are able to make it this Thursday for the reception.
A COMMON NAME BOX INSTALLATION urban geode project
dj + drinks + artist reception start at 7pm (with dj jeffrey paradise)
thursday, june 14th
the standard, hollywood
8300 sunset boulevard, west hollywood
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more Standard events check out standardculture.com. Oh, and the track on the video is an amazing Remix of Architecture in Helsinki’s Escapee by SVRA. Check it out: soundcloud.com/svra/escapee.. and here’s the original, love it: vimeo.com/24269098
My installation is going up tomorrow! I’m equals times shocked the month went by so fast and relieved the madness is almost over. Although the next day, more work begins as I attempt to create smaller pieces to be sold during the installation. **This is not a guarantee or promise, just a teaser!
Next week on Thursday the 14th, we are having an artist reception. I’ll be there drinking drinks, listening to awesome music played by my friend Jeffrey Paradise, and hanging out with cool people. I hope anyone in LA can be there!!
The past couple weeks I’ve walked past a couple geodes that are still in commission and saw that they’ve been deteriorating. This is one of the things I’ve been excited to see! The first image is from Venice on Abbott Kinney, the paint has dulled and a few pieces have come unglued from the constant moisture in the air. The next three images are the larger phone booth geode I did fairly recently. The plastic covering is missing from the whole booth, where you see white, the pieces have been torn away by people, and there’s a lovely sheen of dirt covering the whole piece.
I think this deterioration is incredibly cool. Regular minerals do not generally fall apart so quickly but they are affected by outside forces; breaking apart, getting covered with dirt, or eventually disappearing altogether. This is another level to the geodes in which their materials allow them to erode with the building around them and change with the forces of nature. It’s a very interesting symbiosis of both man-made architectures.
I personally did not know what it’s called, but like most people I’ve heard of the space, The Box. You know, the Box behind the front desk, where a model lays every evening (oh Hollywood…)? Every month The Standard asks a new artist to fill their approximately 10′ x 5′ glass box with art of their choosing. I’ve been lucky enough to have been asked to participate this summer for the month of June.
This is a huge task for me, I’ve obviously only been filling small crevices in buildings so far and an abandoned phone booth here and there. But I do think this is a great segue into large site specific installation pieces. The Box is a unique interior space in a building, it looks like a chipped away area or a viewing case in which, of course you may see the actual inside of The Standard there.
I’ve hired a few assistants to help me with the folding for a couple days and I’ve employed Greg once again to help with the installation portion. I’ll be blogging more from here on and feel free to follow the process on twitter, facebook, tumblr, or instagram. Oh yes, I’ve majorly crumbled, so pick your poison!
Check out a few photos of past artists in The Box, and my first steps creating my installation:
The Box Standard Photos © standardculture.com
Lucky number 13 for my 30th birthday! This weekend I made a trip to Baja, Mexico with a lot of amazing friends. We were there to celebrate my birthday, and it was brilliant. I was having such a good time, I didn’t get to make as many geodes as I planned (I was literally folding in the car though).
I planned on doing a geode in La Fonda where we stayed and in Puerto Nuevo, but was only able to do one since we only visited Puerto Nuevo for a short time. I found quite a few holes, as I suspected I would, but settled on a smaller crack in a wall of the main building of La Fonda. I needed something smaller since I ended up using a head lamp and sitting amongst my friends at around 10pm the very last night.
This is the result! It’s not painted the best or fit the best, but you do what you can while celebrating and on the move. I’m super excited I got to do my first international geode, hopefully I’ll get to travel soon to work solely on getting these out in other cities.
Get ready for some international geodes. I’m off to Baja this weekend to relax and celebrate my birthday with a lot of friends. I’ve been preparing lots of diamonds, twisted pyramids, and truncated octagons for this occasion. I hope to find some gnarly Mexico cracks to fill. HA!
I saw these a while ago on This Is Colossal and I haven’t stopped thinking about them. Yes yes, I love to fold paper, blah blah. I more love the execution of the videos shot by stoptrick, origami work by Sipho Mabona. Greg and I were talking about a personal branding video that includes stop motion similar to this but without paper. I love the idea of something morphing before our eyes without the help of human hands or any other element.
via This Is Colossal
Yay another geode! This one lives in Hollywood near The Music Box. During my interview with KTLA last week you see me starting to build this one, folding and gluing some of the pieces. Good thing I got this installed during the same week…
Geode #12 is chrome in an attempt to compliment the orange-ish stucco that is the building. I don’t know what this hole was there for, it was simply empty with no bricks surrounding and didn’t lead anywhere. I’m excited to be branching out into Hollywood, expect a lot more in the Mid City area for a while.
I had a small posse while installing this piece, my usual photographer Greg Tuzin and my talented friend Jeni Wamberg. This was a late night install as you can tell by the photos, I love the affect! We’ll swing by soon to get some day time photos.
All photos © Greg Tuzin
Aesthetically pleasing crystal arranging.
My friend Carmen and I had one specific project we’ve been talking about—to create a micro projection on a geode. Image mapping is rapidly becoming something more artists are exploring for visuals and installations, but it’s generally done very large. Large would be amazing on these geodes, but we wanted to see how small we can go, a personal and unique challenge.
We designed an image mapping over the shape of a 2″ x 2″ geode I created so that we could isolate each of the “crystal” shapes and make them glow. The result was actually quite fun! It looks like the individual crystals are sometimes glowing and pulsing.
We haven’t perfected it yet, but I wanted to post some of our results and process. We chose the video below to show the scale of the actual piece (starring my cat Stampy), and the images are various projections and angles of the piece. We’re thinking of eventually making this an installation piece, but aren’t sure of where or what exactly. Stay tuned for more thoughts and details as this project progresses!
Geode #11! The largest, darkest, and on the edge of the Arts District in LA. This one is located right outside a local favorite bar, Tony’s. My friend Tim works there, found the spot for me, and has kindly offered to help me secure this one behind a plastic sheet. It’ll eventually look more like an “exhibit” outside with the cover on it. We decided to take these steps to see if we can get this to last longer than the other large one that was quickly removed despite some small efforts.
I have to say I’m particularly excited about this one. I can’t use black for smaller ones because I think they’ll be too hard to see, so I was happy to expand the palette a bit. And this is my largest effort, something I hope to continue to grow in the future. I love the small detailed treasures I’ve created but it would be nice to have some obvious public art—in addition.
Sneak peek of a still wet geode to be installed this week…
Finally a new geode! Well, a new geode in an old place… I’m retracing some steps here and recreated a geode for the very first hole I ever used. This one is closer to home and I’m hoping to test out some techniques on it and be able to monitor a bit. Never fear, I have a long list of holes to fill all around the mid city area! Hopefully I can start getting them out faster, life happens and production slows from time to time.
Besides that, I’m super excited by the new mutation! I found a metallic blue which is a little too sparkly for my taste but it turned out nice anyways. I also added a golden “growth” to this geode. Many geodes have two toned crystals growing off of each other and I decided to give it a try. I’m in love! And can’t wait to keep playing with this.
I spray paint my geodes in a windless corner outside and for some reason the sprinklers went off at a different time than usual today. Woo hoo! It kind of looks cool like this, like a new texture!
How timely! A purple geode on Valentine’s day… I installed this bad boy last night on Spring Street between 6th and 7th in downtown LA. This is the largest geode so far, and the first official colored one. I bought a glossy purple, which I’m not completely satisfied with the tone but I sprinkled some silver to help it shine a little and let it be. I’m still on the search for metallic colors if anyone knows where to find some.
These are some quick photos I took today from my iphone, we’re going to do a better photo shoot tonight so stay tuned for more.
A huge shout out and thank you to my friend Consuelo Chozas, who cut out the majority of the pieces to construct this one. She’s an incredible help!
My friend Consuelo just took an amazing photo of geode #8 at Daily Dose. When we took our fancy photos last week, we didn’t have a stand to take photos in the dark lit cafe so we got this lovely iPhone flash/instagram action going on in this one. Just wanted to post this more detailed photo up to show off the teeny tiny pieces I made in this one.
Late last week I installed three new geodes in one location. They live at The Daily Dose, a little gem of a cafe in the Arts District of downtown LA. Sarkis, the owner, saw my geodes on Facebook and asked if I would add some to the cafe. Hell yes I will!
These three geodes are the most difficult I’ve done by far. They took me over three weeks to create, which is average for three geodes, but the amount of time per day put in was tripled. Each piece was precious since I knew they would be in a place where customers would be sitting for long periods of time, able to see every flaw.
Geodes number 7 and 8 were the challenging ones, the molds crumbled when I took them out. Putting them back together was a puzzle piece nightmare. I had to make both their casts twice because I made the glue mixture too strong and couldn’t get them off the molds. Also, while gluing the pieces in, I was constantly stressed and checking whether the folded nooks and crannies of the pieces would be too filled or if the whole piece was maleable enough for when I placed them in.
So much time and stress and these pieces were successfully created. I can’t believe they fit and I don’t know how big a puddle on the ground I would have melted into if it they didn’t.
For a long while I’ve known that I needed to figure out how to create geodes to fit into real cracks. I can’t depend on finding perfect pipes and missing bricks forever and I really can’t imagine spending hours longer gluing pieces directly into holes in the middle of the night. I’ve been scheming up this process that I’ve confirmed today—works!
Below is an image of a tester I made in our house. I wanted to do it inside so I could have control over the situation if anything didn’t work or needed extra time and care. The process includes making a mold of the crack, creating a cast of the mold with gauze-like cloth and homemade “size”, and following the rest of my old steps to completion. The inner shapes here are technically too large, I just used some extra pieces I had that would at least fit.
I rounded out this geode with a glossy red spray paint. I like it for our house because it kind of matches, but it doesn’t quite pop enough for the outside world. I am still on the hunt for metallics in other colors.
My 5th geode has just been installed. This sort of replaces my 2nd geode that was recently stolen out of its pipe, hopefully this one lasts longer (it’s going to be hard to rip this sucker out, wink). Technically this one’s color is “brass” but it looks a lot like the “gold”, I’ll be switching up the colors of these soon.
The location of this new geode is at 1661 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice CA, my first geode on the west side. Happy new year!
There were heavy rains (which means a heavy sprinkling in LA) in December. The third geode I created, in the corner of a building on Spring between 7th and 8th, has started to fall apart and deteriorate. The images below show how parts of it have fallen off onto the sidewalk and left some gaping holes in the geode construction.
Now this is something I was prepared for and am happy about. I know these are all “temporary” installations because of people and weather. I realized after two geodes were stolen that I can’t really emotionally deal with the people problem, but I can deal with the weather problem. Erosion is so cool, it’s a natural response to nature and the effects I think are still beautiful. Paper does unfortunately erode incredibly quick so I do plan on starting to explore other materials. I’d also like to find a way to combat the “people problem”, but I’m not sure I want to disclose that yet. To be continued…
Today I placed Geode #4 into its home in Echo Park. It lives in the wall of the Taix French Restaurant right off of Sunset.
This one was actually the very first geode I ever made. It was the largest by far and meant to fit in a wall in the Arts District but I sadly had mis-measured by an inch all around (I didn’t understand the foreign tape measure I was using). I luckily found this new hole on Taix while on my way to brunch last weekend. It was only larger by a little all around, so I took my original apart and remade it. It was easier than cutting it away and making it smaller.
I put it in this afternoon and it didn’t exactly fit in the end so I have plans to revisit during the night this weekend and do a little mending.
Here’s geode number 3! This one lives on the east side of Spring Street between 7th and 8th Streets. It was such a huge challenge to figure out how to properly handle this space—this one looks like Frankenstein on the back end. I changed my mind a dozen times on how to fit the piece and decide where the geode formations should go.
I first measured and went home and built the piece to fit. I went back and tried to put it in but quickly realized there were major mortar and brick pieces in my way in the seams of the hole (where the missing mortar is). I decided to shorten the length of the mortar areas and not the depth but realized then I would have to create hundreds of those teeny tiny shapes to fit. So then I shortened the depth of the mortar areas so I could cosmetically make it seem like it goes deep but someone hasn’t chiseled that far back yet.
Somehow, even after testing, the geode didn’t fit when I went back to install! I had to mash it in, causing a few tears. I also had to cut part of it away at the top, that’s why you see scissors on the ground as I’m installing below.
I wish I could have filled every mortar area missing but I simply don’t have the man-power at this time. Therefore, this was an excellent test. I’m not totally happy with it, but glad I figured something out and learned some lessons.