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Typographic Sculpture

From an Artist to a Designer

Typographic SculptureCollection: The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham

From an Artist to a Designer

A message springs forth—quite literally, on a spring—from a box within a box within a box. And yet, to convey the message at a singular point in time, the spring needs the structure to hold it steady. As observers, we focus on the spring and its message, somewhat forgetting that the structure is there.

That is the best metaphor I have for my transformation from an artist to a designer, wrapped in a work that enshrines both. The message: “Springs hop eternal in the hearts of the eccentric,” is one I wrote years ago. The nested boxes are all dovetailed and come from my background in custom cabinetry. The spring is one I wound from threaded rod, having been taught how to wind springs by a clock repair tech. So the sculpture itself is the product of everything that I am, or would be if it played music.

Design provides the rules and structure to get the message out there. But we remember the mavericks who can misbehave civilly. Captain Mal from the sci-fi series Firefly says, “We aim to misbehave.” But he still has a code. The very statement belies that he knows what “behaving” means. Differentiate that from the anarchist. His message doesn’t get across because he just scares us, as likely he should.

So my goal in design is to use everything in my toolbox to create the memorable, to break new ground and a few rules, just not all of them.