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Chris Spollen
Marco Polo Returns
A Forgotten Past
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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. Zarcoof 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
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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: http://www.illustrationhistory.org/essays/artist-in-the-third-dimension
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
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“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”.
Sill Listening
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Remember to Stop, Look and Always Listen They say that over time one finds his or her own spiritual calling or voice, but one must be very quite in order to hear that calling. The voices are coming in now very loud now and quite clear the static of this mad life is being filtered out. I just needed to add two more very rare early sixties Bell Lab transistors to the head set in order to keep the almost now steady hiss of madness out. So nice to tune into ones own voice, and let it guide you to where you should be. Remember always to stop look and to listen and you will be amazed at what you will discover.
“The Titan Electrical Gun Project” {The General Electric Company US August 12 1944} Developed by General Electric for the US war effort a hand held lightweight rechargeable eclectic handgun. Deemed to powerful and hard to control due to uncontroble bursts of electric and sketchy targeting by then president Truman. He canceled the project as he felt this collection of electric weapons were simply too powerful and inhumane. Recently the eclectic gun project has been reopened by now president Donald Trump is his effort to make America safer, and broaden the size to the US military. He has just stated publicly that he wants to have the finest equipment in the world. He wants the largest military buildup in American history to makeup for years of wars and depletion. He has secretly re funded the “Electrical Gun Project “and it is now up and running in new Mexio.He has stated privately that who would think to search there given my public statements concerning Mexico. Little else is known at this point the project is being conducted in Los Alamos New Mexico under heighten security. The fear that Russian Government might crack, breach, or Internet tap the information is very high. So the laboratory is on twenty-four hour around the clock crackdown and now outsiders are allowed with in a fifty-mile radius of the compound.
The word comes into the shop through the myriad of old copper cable lines and two very old sixties small speaker box’s wired into the celling Today you must start to build an all-metal 1934 French Tractor! from this odd selection of this and that odd and discarded metal parts with no two pieces a match. No instructions and not a clue as where to begin or how to proceed. Starting with just a warm cup of fine coffee and pure silence it’s amazing just how much can be heard in silence. As words thoughts and ideas begin to bubble and percolate inside the minds eye. The silence is essential to hear the thoughts they are usually just above a whisper, put with time this can become almost a steady stream of consciousness. And very quietly parts begin to take shape and what a simple joy to undertake and simply to create!
This print is called “Morning Warm Up” The sculpture is all Metal construction measuring a foot and a half wide and stands eight inches high.
The Edison “Hand Held Sparker” Model # 2 1924 Originally designed by Thomas Edison to be sold to the United States correction phyclaities, as a hand held non-leathal device to keep the inmates in line. Edson had declared that he would never again design anything that there was not already a market for. His design was very innovative in concept for its time and it pre dated the modern day Taser employed by many police stations across America today. The only problem was that it did not work it sent the indented target in to shock and was responsible for starting many fires, so development was halted and it was never brought out of his West Orange New Jersey labs and presented to the world at large. Stay tuned for the whole amazing story in our upcoming Art Film called “The Legend of The Electric Gun Part 2” {Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and The Mad Russian Ape! {Former cosmonaut} are all plugged in and all connected, OMG! Here is the link for “The Legend of The Electric Gun” Part 1 A short bit of film that starts to unravel this strange but amazing tale. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnN8AhcQcdk
Winters Dry Dock Waiting patiently for the cold winds of winter to subside our little workboat patiently sits by the cold waters edge for the warm waters of summer. And a chance to set sail for the adventures that the fertile waters of summer will bring, and who knows what adventures they will be. {All metal construction measures two foot high by a foot and a half high}
1964 The Russian Space Rifle (The Votltski} was an on board deterrent and a very early concept space weapon during the early sixties space flights. It marked the first use of transistors on an electric gun; this weapon was carried onboard all the early Russian space flights in the orbiting of the earth. The Russians had kerosene in their rocket engine tanks and transistors in their electric space guns; yes the space race had begun! {The Russian cosmonauts nicknamed this gun “The Little Walking Man”} {An all-metal sculpture measuring two and a half foot wide by a foot and a half high}
Louis Charles Joseph Blériot (July 1872 August 1936) was a French aviator, inventor, and engineer. He developed the first practical headlamp for trucks and established a profitable business manufacturing them, using much of the money he made to finance his attempts to build a successful aircraft. In 1909 he became world-famous for making the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier than air aircraft Winning the prize of £1,000 Offered by the Daily Mail newspaper. Blériot was also the first to make a working, powered, piloted monoplane And the founder of a successful aircraft manufacturing company. {This piece measures a foot and a half across and is a foot high Composed of both various metals and wood}
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