Chris Spollen
Make It!
Make it! Think it! Sketch it! Ink it! Make it! “The Steam Powered Art Factory” is under full production mode these days Work continues on a second new series “Trains-Track’s”, metal, wood, steel, and an occisional stone or two. Fully formed freestanding train sculptures made for bits and pieces of almost anything and everything I can find a get my hands on. These new pieces of art are approximately three foot in width and approximately two and a half foot high. They are getting heavier, so the trains are made to be removed from the tracks for ease of transport. The current piece jut completed is titled “Heart Brake Rail “
Greener Pastures If profits continue to rise might be looking to expand the Company to greener pastures
Another piece form my ongoing series of "Work –Boats"“, The Brooklyn Bay Boiler”
Morning Flight,”Dawn Patrol”
The Da Vinci Flyer #6 Florence Italy1464 This design is thought to have been a far more of a decorative piece then a practical flight concept design. This one it is believed to have been a rather decorative art piece rather then a true mechanical study of a flying machine. This could possibly be an early example of Leonardo’s playfulness. Its possible he was also trying to get the church and in particular the then archbishop interested in his work hence the eloarbete enbilismnet and complex shapes. The peculiar piece was discovered in the home of the Medici family in Florence.
Georges Méliès: A Trip to the Moon (1902) How could one not resist the making of his rockeship And a special shout out to Vincent Di Fate who gave me this summer a copy of the eighteen-minute 1902 French film Simply amazing! This sculpture is a freestanding two-foot high rocket ship. Composed of both steel and wood it has a bit of a Victorian flavor
A Forgotten Past
A Now Forgotten Pats (Work and Boats} This is a current series of semi relief sculpture that I have now been working on an off.
A once proud fishing workboat she now sits idle on the shoreline. An all-wooden marvel in her time she was once considered the pride of the fleet. She now sits silently on the shoreline her once proud wooden hull slowly deteriorating in the midday sun. A forgotten piece now of an almost forgotten time once a way of life for the fishing folks along the islands small but very fertile short line.
A Now Forgotten Past {old tools} As we trade in our father’s old tools for more and more powerful smart phones and even more powerful new apps. I wonder are we truly getting smarter or are we now getting softer.
Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe (Mementos from a Parallel Universe) A Dr. Dr. Zarkov designed side arm a four shot blaster classic for his partner Flash Gordon’s protection. Composed off brass, steel, and oak this is a classic ray gun for sure ray gun for sure. Dated around ninteen twenty-eight, found on a Hollywood California back lot. A true collectors item this sculpture is composed of steel brass and oak. It sits very proudly on its space deck removable base and measure’s a foot and a half wide by a foot in height.
The Lord James Flyer 1784 British Folk Art {Art from a Parallel world} A most popular piece of early English folk art dated around 1788. The Lord James piece was a much produced in various sizes and proudly hung reproduction art piece. It could be found in both pubs and homes in and around England. It was mass produced piece inexpensively created from cast pewter molds and combined with inexpensive poplar or pine wood pieces. It was a very much prized art piece and was a welcome treat inside many British estates. This is a Lord James Flyer piece oddly spotted in France recently hanging outside a now defunct French brothel named the “Le Femenick De Pleasure Parlor”.
The Moon Rocket Ship {Art from a parallel world series} A stainless steel and silver-plated hand crafted Rocket Ship a Victorian Fantasy piece, believed to be from the Victorian Era England. A very much Jules Verne inspired table display art centerpiece. {Jules Verne February 1828 – 24 March 1905) was a French novelist, poet, and playwright. A very much coveted centerpiece display of the then financially well off within in the newly emerging middle class of England. This was a result of the industrial era boom in earning as well as leisure time and the distribution of new wealth to the then new middle class. {The Industrial Era anew manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840} Most likely made by the leading metal smiths and jewelry makers of the day. This is a rather large piece a free of standing art its three foot high and foot and half wide an all metal center piece
Living in a Parallel Universe
So I might have spoken a little to the Russians, whatever!
Special thanks to Rick Schneider and the Norman Rockwell Museum for the wonderful post on their website of my artistic journey and work here is the link:
The Nautilus 2 1886 Ash and Campbell constructed their craft, the Nautilus 2, in 1886. It was 60 feet long with a 9.7 kW (13 hp) engine powered by 52 batteries. The Nautilus went for some trials at the Tilburg docks it was an advanced design for the time, but became stuck in the mud during trials and was discontinued This is the “Nautilus 2” sitting at the Tilburg’s Dry Dock England. If you look very closely you can see the two designers Ash and Campbell inside the portholes. This is a rather large sculpture in that it measures over three feet across and two foot in height. Composed from single cast aluminum pillet and this is combined with steel, brass parts, and some hard woods.
Fantasy French Ray Guns 1936 Two prototypes for a 1936 French production of the movie “The Race to Le Moon” These are two very detailed art pieces composed of cast metals and hard woods all hand made by local French craftsmen. Unfortunally the film never went into producton, the funds simply could not be found. It was to be a retro stop action and mixed live action film clips very much along the lines of the now famous French filmmaker Gaston Melees work.
Louis XIV The Sun king 1643 -1715 “Le Rocetship De Space Adventurer” This decorative art piece is thought to have been presented to him as a gift, knowing the kings love of the arts as well as flight. This rocket ship seems to have been influenced by early Chinese art and rocketry, and their experiments with their major invention of gunpowder. The King had his own personal gallery in the summer castle of both flying machines and very detailed hot air balloons. This sculpture is two foot high and is eighteen inches wide. Is is composed of fine metal pieces recycled from early American fine silverware as well as some hard woods.
“The Blue Steel” a Mechanical Blue Fish of Sorts Art based on concepts of utilizing materials and components from the post war American factories. Houses, Cars could be reconfigured to make and meet the demands of a post war growing American rebuild. I had the pleasure of attending a Buckminster Fuller lecture in the early seventies at Wagner College, I actually got to meet and shake his hand he seemed to vibrate with creativity. ( Just a footnote here he created the Dymaxion Car, as well as the Buckminster Dome) This piece is made in part from a discarded former military mess hall meat slicer. Quality US made steel as well as satinless steel. This sculpture measure three foot wide by eighteen inches high and is laminated with three coats of water-based varnish.
“Forties Fantasy Blaster” 1949 A forties hand held side arm space blaster that sits very proudly on a removable all metal base. Another piece for the parallel world collection most likely a prop from the Metro Golden Mayer vaults. This is a metal and wood sculpture it is a foot and a half wide by roughly a foot and a half high. The space pistol sits on a removable base and is for sure a piece of Sci- Fi cinematic history Lets go to the moon and deep into outer space with madmen, rocketships, and OMG female robots on board! ‘Life is Truly and Adventure’
“Quadra” The Warrior Queen Robot (Robots and Ray Guns and World Domination) Once again the quest to rule the world, total world domination is now within our grasp. After much work and many re-designs the prototype for the new head of the” High Princess” is now completed. “Quadra” the Queen of the warriors and working bots has been finally completed. The shop is now in fired up to a full steam mode as production goes to twenty-four seven. {This is an all-metal sculpture “Robot Head” that is two by two foot in size. A headpiece sculpture that is attached to a presentation metal base.}
A Re-Imagined World
“The Voxter” Originally designed for RCA in 1964 “The Voxter” was an analog voice stabilizer and a possible remote broadcast location hub (for live action remote news and sports reporting}. It has recently appeared in Russian hands as a code breaker it seems it can easily be reconfigured to pick up random computer signals and cell phone calls. It has become heavily linked with the current cyber wars and email hacks in today’s current international political scene. This is a very rare case where old even past analog technology has been brought to the fore front of a modern technological world and society. What still lay’s ahead is still quite unsure, but this is a strong case for a lesson in which old school technology meets new school technology and old school still works. This sculpture measures two foot high by eight inch’s wide. Composed of wood ,metal, and porcelain.
The Planeteer, Designed by Westinghouse as well as commissioned for the 1948 movie company the very powerful Metro Golden Mayer. “The Planeteer Space Ray Gun “designed to be used in both in real outer space as well as for the wondrulful and very imaginative black and white outer space movies of the late forties and early fifties. This was actually a prop not a real working design prototype to be sent to the US government patent office for the then “Ray Gun Design Competition”. It did in fact appear in several of the Metro Golden Mayer science fiction space movies, during the forties and fifties. This sculpture measures three foot wide and measures eight inches in height and is removable from its marble base, composed of fine hard woods , fine metals, and porcelain. This one is old school Hollywood no plastic or composites on this baby.
The Head Lighter (Electric Hydrogen fired concentrated Ray Gun employing the use of a directed beam of energized light then the introduction of high voltage electric current that was passed through the beam onto the intended target. This concept weapon pre dated the Laser} This was Henry Ford’s submission for the US Governments Ray Gun Design Completion. Clearly this displays his use of automotive experience as well as well as his direct connection to best friend and a fellow inventor as well as a modern day industrialist Thomas Edison. This is a hand held Ray Gun of sorts. It would focus a beam of light on its intended target then with the flip of a switch increase the voltage to this selection transmitted via that light beam. This sculpture measures over two and a half foot in height and measures two foot wide. The Ray gun is removable from its all medal base, composed of wood , fine metals, and porcelain
Full Throttle Frank Folk Tales From “Tales of the Track” Full throttle Frank who unfortunally died in that very cold winter of 1958 Full throttle Frank on that faithful night hit over sixty-eight miles an hour. Frank had a bottle of fine old shine on that cold and windy night. And it was said that the moon itself shinned from within his cockpit by the engines fiery light. Burning hard coal number nine he snapped the main bearing and went a fowl. Careening down those silver lined rails with the horrible sound of both devils thunder and hells fire. But Frank was a good man and a man of steel man he never looked back. And sadly even to this this day he stills sits well Below in the outer Totenville Bay. Now just a passing memory of that faithful day that Frank lost his life As a steaming railroad runaway. {This sculpture measures over three foot wide and is a foot and an half high. It is composed of pure American Steel, US Iron, and several hard woods.}
Flights of Pure Fantasy Currently I have some flying metal sculptures hanging on he walls at FIT outside my office. The are lighter pieces more like sketches when compared to my metal pieces. But I enjoy these very much in the way they seem to effortselly comes together. The all-metal pieces are very nice as well but take much longer to compose ,cut, bind, and build. Shown here is the metal and wood Fantasy Flyer “Fantasy Fish”
1797 “The Elmsford” built by Robert Fulton , a marginal American artist but increasingly successful inventor living in Paris, offered to build a submarine to be used against France's British enemy: "a Mechanical Nautlius. A Machine, which flatters me with much hope of being Able to Annihilate their Navy." He would build and operate the machine at his own expense, and would expect payment for each British ship destroyed. He predicted that, "Should some vessels of war be destroyed by means so novel, so hidden and so incalculable the confidence of the seamen will vanish and the fleet rendered useless from the moment of the first terror”. This is a concept sculpture of Robert Fulton’s two-man concept submarine. On closer inspection of this rather complex art piece one can actually see Captain James Elmsford in the forward porthole and Robert Fulton himself in the rear porthole. Quite an accomplishment for its day most likely achieved with the use of early tintype photrophy. {This sculpture measures a foot and half across and is eighteen inches hight.It is an all American steel construction and it sits on a removable hardwood base}
1968 Westinghouse “Oscillating Overthurster” The working protoype title was “Oscillating Overthurster”, but this was just code words for the real concept design which was for a very early version of the first; “Lie Dictator”. It was designed to pick up the nervous vibrations omitted from the body when one was not telling the truth or simply lying. The second generation of development lead to the (Bullshit Dictator} as it was so crudely nicknamed, but this design along with the use of early transistors could pick up deviations in speech where non truths were being spoken and or mixed with real words. In repeated tests it did bring in some favorable results and could determine fact from fiction. But it was soon discovered that the truth hurts and the market for this machine vanished the market was non-existent, so it’s was never marketeded to the Courts and Politian’s as originally planned by Westinghouse and it was simply scrapped. This piece measures two foot high by eight inch’s wide. Composed of wood ,metal, and porcelain.
The Higgins Homebuilt Family Tractor August 14 1928 South Dakota Old man Higgins as he was affectioally called was a simple but not simplistic working man, A father of four he was as his grandfather had been a working farmer. That was until the great depression hit the nation wiping out millions of peoples life savings as well as their livelihood. Mr. Higgins was a man of his time he possessed a can do attitude and as such a make do and or simply do with out mindset. So when it came to a farm tractor he simply made his from scratch from the ground up. Parts were abundant ranging from old locomotive steam train parts to model Tee Ford parts. With the failed economy cars was left abandoned just about everywhere. However one very hot August afternoon after plowing since dawn Mr. Higgins ran out of patience. The Old faithful tractor just as himself were simply running out of steam .So in a moment of blind frustration Mr. Higgins grabbed a two gallon can of old model tee gas. And with a blur of furry and what can best be described as blind rage threw the gas into the main coal boiler of the tractor,OMG! (This sculpture measures two and a half foot wide and is twenty inches in hight.It is composed of US steel, brass ,copper, and fine hard woods} It sits on a removable display table created to show the piece This piece currently on display in France as part of a traveling museum tour called “American Past Technology Eccentricities”.
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