Monday, July 17, 2017

Taliesin West Candlesticks

I was fortunate enough to spend two months in early 2017 living and studying architecture at Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in Scottsdale Arizona.

The  students of the school are required to perform tasks such as washing dishes, making lunch, cleaning the studio, etc.

One of these duties included not just setting the dining tables, but also redecorating the room. At my first lunch I sat down to a table set with several tea lights in glass containers - my first lunch by candlelight. And this gave me an idea.

The simple glass tealight holders struck me as somewhat out of place and it made me wonder what a candlestick designed according to Wright's principles would look like. Because of my interest in concrete I figured I could make some interesting casts to serve my purpose.

The more I worked on the design the more I realized that I had to come up with something completely new to me - something appropriate to the tables at Taliesin West.

All that it takes to hold a tea light is a concrete block with a recess to receive the candle. But to make it appropriate to Taliesin, I cut all four sides by 15 degrees and added a horizontal groove matching Wright's original proportions.

The first step involved creating an object that had the right overall shape, and then pouring polyurethane rubber over it.

I used existing candle sticks to create the positives that would form the cut outs in a future cast.

This mold was then used to create a perfect positive. And from the perfect positive, a new perfect negative was created. The perfect negative was used to cast the finished pieces.

The earliest cast was vibrated too much, which resulted in the surface stones sliding back into the mix and smooth surfaces. It took about four or five tries before I got the concrete mixture and vibration procedure correct.



I like the look of just waking up after a night of fun and regret. I think this piece based on a selfie taken by River Viiperi, and used with his permission, captures that pretty well.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Although I've been trying to focus on images taken by my friends and me, occasionally I come across one that stands out.

I've been a fan of the photographer Pat Lee since I was in college. His photographs are iconic, distinctive, and just flat out beautiful. I was intimidated to ask for permission to use any photo of his in work of mine because I didn't want to be turned down by someone whose work I'd admired for so long.

When I did work up the courage to ask Pat was gracious enough to offer not just permission, but encouragement. I'm honored to say he's become a fan of my own.

In looking through his work I decided to go back in time a bit and chose to work with an older image of the young bodybuilder Shane Giese playing with a dumbbell backstage at a competition.

My work generally focuses on masculine intimacy and I think this is a nod to every teenage boy who lusted after a body available only through a relationship with weights.

A time lapse video of the cutting process is below.

The Second Offering

In 2004 I cast a disappearing fountain out of concrete. It continues to work just fine, but I gave it away to a friend who admired it when I got an idea for a new one.

This is its replacement. Water is pumped from a basin underneath into a central well that causes it to spill over into a square trough and is then channeled into grooves cut into each side.

There are drains cut into the four corners of the trough that allow water to fall through the piece into eight openings at the corners. I like the idea of it seeming to do so invisibly.

The photo above illustrates how the cast looks after six months with algae growth, water marks, and a slowly darkening patina on the concrete. Below is it's appearance after one month of operation.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


A month ago the Olympic free skier Gus Kenworthy made national news when he came out as gay. Even though I'm a die hard fan of the Olympics it was the first time I'd heard of him so I started following him on social media.

He recently posted a selfie taken on the edge of a half pipe with mountains behind the camera. The bright blue eyes in the ski mask as well as the reflection on his goggles was interesting so I figured I'd give it a try. I think the result is great - and it's gotten me interested in using other images that involve mirrors or reflections.

I cut this full size (32"x32") in order to capture the details in the first go.

A detail shot is below.


This is Sundown, the 40"x32" version of Daibes Sunset. I've cut this image multiple times (A view from my bedroom) - I like the subtle colors of the yellows. And while I think this will be the last time I cut this image, I am tempted to do it in multiple colors more representative of a true sunset.

The off axis view is below.

Saturday, December 12, 2015


This is the full scale 20"x40" version of last year's "LoveD". This image is fairly personal and I had no plans to execute a full size version of it.

And then I met the artist Cassandra Complex, who expressed interest in it. I agreed to create it full size for her in exchange for one of her paintings.