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Operation Andromeda

Success! The eagle has landed: Operation Andromeda has begun!
We finally have our first complete 3D print, cast in bronze.

Above is a picture depicting the 3 stages of the process.

Of course, there are many more parts to this puzzle,

These photos show the sculpture in three phases, from the digital creation through to the resulting bronze.

First we have the 3D digital file.

This was one of the more challenging phases of Operation Andromeda, as it meant that I had to learn a 3D computer program that would allow me to manipulate the digital file.

I was consumed, lost in the wild world of polygons for months on end.

The actual sculpture began by creating the wax, which Boky and I did together, and having it cast it in bronze.

From there we took it to London to Kev, the brilliant scanner guy.

He did his magic, returning the bronze and an amazing scan from which I could begin the digital phase of the operation.

Kev has been an important part of this whole process, as not only did he provide me with a high resolution scan but he has been my fall back guy.

You know, that person upon whom you rely on for help when you really get stuck and no matter how many instructional videos you watch, you just couldn’t figure it out.

That is when I would call Kev, and sure enough he would simply say, “No problem, I will sort that out for you” or “Hey I’ll send you a video that will help”, and he did. Thanks Kev…

After that I was able to manipulate the digital file and create an interior structure within the figure using this amazing 3D computer program called Zbrush.

This sculpture could not have been created by hand and then cast, because you can not make a mold of it in order to cast a bronze, and you could not build this inner structure inside the piece in wax, because you can’t get in there to put the structure in place.

Without 3D printing technology this sculpture could not be made.

I think that is the coolest thing about this whole process.

Of course, once I had changed the digital scan I had to send it back to Kev to repair… You see how important your fall back guy is? Thanks again Kev!

The final phase; getting the repaired 3D digital file printed, was the next challenge facing Operation Andromeda.

I needed help me with this part of the project, and luckily my foundry in Bologna came to the rescue.

Let me introduce my “fall back team of wonderful ladies”; Giovanna and Roberta, they developed the relationship with the printer and we were off to the races.

So after trying a few printers and coming up with an acceptable SLS print, the digital .STL file was printed at 35 cm in height in nylon and was successfully cast in Bologna at Venturi Arte.

Indeed, the eagle has landed!

It has taken about 18 months for all of the elements of the operation to come together.

Now for the finishing and patina… and then we need to figure out edition numbers and sizes…

Final photo coming soon.

Photo Title:Operation Andromeda. A photo of the process of creating a 3D Printed bronze cast. Blake Ward Blake Sculpture

 

Hunting a Rhyme

“A regular returning in one dimension can bring unexpected turns in another: hunting a rhyme, the mind falls on a wholly surprising idea.

This balancing between expected and unforeseen, both in aesthetic and cognitive structures, is near the center of every work of art. Through the gate of concentration, defining yet open, both aspects enter.”
Jane Hirshfield

Photo Above: Ushabti Nuit – Receiving a hot patina at our Bologna Foundry, Venturi Arte.

Photo Below: Ushabti Nuit – The finished piece currently showing at Saint Dizier Gallery, Montreal.

https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/07/21/jane-hirshfield-concentration/

 

Ushabti-Nuit Photo taken from the front left side of a partial female figure in bronze with an exposed interior structure by Blake Ward Blake Sculpture

Cast A Shadow

“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole”
C.G. Jung

What does that really mean?

Does it mean having finally learned to protect oneself, rather than desperately pleasing others or coming apart at the seams when someone criticizes our work harshly?

If this is true then Sartre was right in saying that “Life begins on the other side of despair.”

For some, the process of learning how to live may come at a smaller price than for others, still, the gentler soul of an artist will suffer greatly through this metamorphosis.

The hypersensitivity that triggers creation, along with the inexplicable and undeniable need for expression make the artist, while society breaks them.

Silence in itself is a choice of artistic expression.

John Cage’s 4’33” (Four minutes, 33 seconds during which the musician does not play a single note) is a perfect example.

Here silence and sound have one thing in common, time.

“According to Cage, duration is the essential building block of all of music.” [1]

In the same way that negative and positive space is used in sculpture, Cage’s silence is absolutely necessary for the completeness of the musical composition. “…Cage managed to emancipate the silence and the noise to make it an acceptable or perhaps even integral part of his music composition.” [2]

Obviously, such outrageous concepts are not easily accepted by the public at large. Interestingly enough, the audience’s reaction can end up defining a composition.

“In the case of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, this would consist of widespread dissatisfaction leading up to violent riots.

In Cage’s 4′33″, the audience felt cheated by having to listen to no composed sounds from the performer.”[3]

In the case of 4’33” the audience actually provides much of the musical material since they create the ambient noise that occurs during the performance.

Brancusi’s approach to mass and space and how that can be used to play in the fields, that are lost somewhere between the representational and abstraction, has been the catalyst to transformation in sculpture.

“Brancusi was the first artist to approach sculpture as a work integral to its environment. “I don’t care what they reflect,” the artist once mused of his artworks, “as long as it is life itself.” [4]

Does our life cast a shadow?

Are we whole if we embrace our dark side and hear the silence and see the invisible? Is life is a dichotomy?

Can you count the steps to heaven?

By Boky & Blake

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4%E2%80%B233%E2%80%B3
  2. ibid
  3. ibid
  4. http://www.nortonsimon.org/assets/Uploads/Beyond-Brancusi-Press-Release.pdf

Genius or Talent

Genius or talent? That is the question!

In Schopenhauer’s opinion “talent achieves what others cannot achieve, whereas genius achieves what others cannot imagine.” [1]

So how can we describe a genius?

The smallness of the ego is transcended by these creatures.

Schopenhauer explains, that they have the ability of deeper, much deeper objective contemplation that leads them away from themselves, away from ‘the will’.

Like being in a state of flow while creating.

One in which we are unaware of time, hunger, or cold.

The faculty of continued ‘pure’ perception, where one’s own interests and personality, one’s likes, and dreams are left behind.

This sustained contemplation allows for the creation of art as an expression of what has been learned, what has been assimilated.

This ability of operating while free from one’s ego, creating to gift the viewer with something we might have learned or understood, that experience of being lost in one’s own perception; that is genius.

Schopenhauer believes that mere mortals cannot even begin to appreciate such genius, as genius is defined over time as well.

While the talented will be hailed for their talent in the moment, in their zeitgeist, the genius will, so often, not be because he is not understood, so how can he be appreciated?

Still he, in Schopenhauer’s words: “lights on his age like a comet into the paths of the planets, to whose well-regulated and comprehensible arrangement its wholly eccentric course is foreign. Accordingly, he cannot go hand in hand with the regular course of the culture of the times as found; on the contrary, he casts his works far out on to the path in front (just as the emperor, giving himself up to death, flings his spear among the enemy), on which time has first to overtake them….Talent is like the marksman who hits a target which others cannot reach; genius is like the marksman who hits a target … which others cannot even see.” [2]

By Boky

1. https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/06/29/schopenhauer-genius/

2. Ibid.

Dizziness of Freedom

In Kierkegaard’s words:

“Anxiety can just as well express itself by muteness as by a scream.” (1)

But what is it and why does it invariably succeed in taking over one’s day?

Kierkegaard also called it “the dizziness of freedom”. Read more

Cultural Creatives

At about four thirty in the morning I found myself thinking of ways that the web connects ideas, about Cultural Creatives and imagining how expressions of “Integral Art” might look in 3D… would they take on a thread-like quality that physically mimics a world wide web?

Who are these Creatives and what defines this group?

How can we predict their behaviour?  What matters to them?

According to Ray and Anderson their values are as follows:

  • Authenticity, actions must be consistent with words and beliefs
  • Engaged action and whole process learning; seeing the world as interwoven and connected
  • Idealism and activism
  • Globalism and ecology
  • The importance of women
  • Core “Cultural Creatives” also value altruism, self-actualization, and spirituality. [1]

Meanwhile, the Wilberian world of “Integral Theory” is all about awareness.

Made up of a variety of intellectuals, academics, writers, and perhaps even artists…(essentially those I would put in the group of Core Cultural Creatives) who have advanced the field of Integral theory.

Integral thought is claimed to provide “a new understanding of how evolution affects the development of consciousness and culture.” [2]

Integral practice aims to support and encourage the realization of human potential, it integrates theories, philosophies and faiths.

Involving all areas of our lives the physical, emotional, creative and the social, it is secured by introspection, meditation and finally the spiritual.

At its core the objectives are wholeness and well-being, which inevitably leads to personal and societal transformation.

This is the web integrating our ideas and it depends on us participating.

The Cultural Creatives are committed to personal and spiritual development and “meld the best of traditionalism and modernism…” [3]

While much has been written about the Cultural Creatives, and much criticism has ensued, it comes down to the question of where the web will take us from here.

It is awareness, self-consciousness and the intense desire to learn, stretch, and research that gives us the ability to change the world and that provides our society the strength to prosper.

Like a self-fulfilling happiness loop, knowledge gives life.

By Boky & Blake

 

  1. Ray, Paul H.; Sherry Ruth Anderson (2000). The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World (illustrated ed.). New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 978-0-609-60467-0. Retrieved 2010-01-28.
  2. Steve McIntosh, Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution, p.2 — http://www.stevemcintosh.com/books/integral-consciousness/
  3. Bobbye Middendorf, The Integral Culture – Cultural Creatives Making a Difference for the    Future, Conscious Choice, January 1999.

McHugh and True Mirrors

We don’t see ourselves as others do.

At best we see a mirror image of ourselves

A ‘true mirror’ is when you have two mirrors at a right angle to each other.

Then you may see yourself not as you do but as others do.

When we look in a regular mirror we look at ourselves, for reassurance.

Things like am I pretty, or tidy or is my behind too big in these pants, but Caroline McHugh explains that when you look in a true mirror you’re not looking for reassurance but for revelation, you’re not looking ‘at’ yourself, but ‘for’ yourself.

She explains how disorienting this can be.

For instance, if we have a slight head tilt in one direction, in a ‘true mirror’ when we try to correct it, we correct it in the wrong direction. [1]

This is something that one discovers when sculpting a self-portrait.

You cannot sculpt what is directly in front of you but rather what you see in the mirror that reflects the image in the first mirror.

You must be careful not to model the right side of your face on the left side of your self-portrait!

McHugh’s ideas on social reformation revolve around the idea that this begins with the individual.

She helps people understand who they really are so they can be the best at being themselves.

This is where greatness comes from, not from being like any of the other great personalities on earth.

If you are considered eccentric, take that as a compliment!

It means that you don’t play the game as the others do.

It means that your ‘you-ness’ has the chance to flourish and shine.

While social adaptation is an important reality, being yourself is better.

It might be the hardest thing to do since we all seek the approval of others and if we diverge too far from the norm, there will certainly be a price to pay.

Still, how many brilliant people can you think of, and what do they have in common? Nothing!

The only thing they have in common is their vehement need to be themselves.

When social integration takes over we find that we need others to compare ourselves to.

Are we superior? Inferior?

McHugh speaks of ‘interiority’ instead.

This is a place where you have no competition, it’s just you, and you are enough because there is only one you!

How do you find you? Who are you?

This is McHugh’s recipe:

1-Perception-This is how others see you.

It’s a trap because we might mistake their beliefs and opinions as our own and this can be tremendously harmful in finding out who we really are.

2-Persona- This is what you want people to see you as.

This is an adaptive you.

It changes all the time and depends on your experiences so it is unique.

3- Ego- This is who you really are, for better or for worse, be it a state of self- congratulation or self-castigation.

The idea is to find a place in between the two.

A place where you can just be. Analogous to humility, this is a place where you can exist without the desperate need for the spotlight, a place where you are happy to make someone else the center of your attention.

4- Self – Your life is your message to the world.

Otherwise why are you here?

You are you and that matters.

By Boky & Blake

  1. http://www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=5342

Our Faiblesse

Happiness has little to do with external factors.

The Buddhists follow mindfulness, cultivating “the insight of interbeing, or Right View, which can remove all discrimination, intolerance, anger, fear, and despair. If we live according to the Five Mindfulness Trainings, we are already on the path of a bodhisattva. Knowing we are on that path, we are not lost in confusion about our life in the present or in fears about the future.” [1]

Lost in the confusion of our present or the fears regarding the future….Hmmm, this is sounding somewhat familiar!

Artists, have a tendency of being extra sensitive, often self-centered and slightly insecure.

We might wake up one day thinking we are the last coca cola in the desert, while on other days our existential anxiety is at the helm of this potentially sinking ship!

We compare our work and even ourselves with others, and in doing so, obliterate the moment and throw away precious moments of our lives. [2]

Couldn’t we just get over it?

Accept and embrace our strengths and our beautiful weaknesses?

Blake calls them our ‘faiblesses’ and if you look carefully at the sculptures of the Spirit collection, you will most certainly find a faiblesse or two.

We find them as we create the work; we highlight them and in an effort to heal, we treasure them.

While there is no such thing as perfection and no fool-proof recipe for happiness (and believe me, fool-proof it would have to be!) I wonder what would happen if we made a list of words that might trigger something deep within.

Like Richard Serra and his list of verbs that ultimately led him to find his voice.

Here’s a list: Love, Happiness, Inclusiveness, Compassion, Kindness, Empathy, Gratitude, Sincerity, Optimism, Intelligence, Understanding, Sharing, Ethics, Learning, Thinking, Protection, Safety, Integrity, Transformation, Generosity, Commitment, Listening, Awareness, Confidence, Joy, Hope, Reconciliation, Peace, Cooperation.

As Maria Popova said in her commencement speech:

“Whatever your specific vocation, your role as a creator of culture will be to help people discern what matters in the world and why by steering them away from the meaningless and toward the meaningful. E.B. White said that the role of the writer is to lift people up, not to lower them down, and I believe that’s the role of every journalist and artist and creator of culture.” [3]

She also warns against caring about pagelikes and retweets. “They can’t tell you how much your work counts for and to whom. They can’t tell you who you are and what you’re worth. They are that demoralizing electric bike that makes you feel if only you could pedal faster — if only you could get more pageviews and likes and retweets — you’d be worthier of your own life.” [4]

Pedal along with us, at your own pace.

You might even decide to chant the word list to yourself as you go.

Honest, we won’t tell anyone!

By Boky & Blake

  1. http://www.lionsroar.com/introducing-thich-nhat-hanhs-five-mindfulness-trainings/
  2. https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/05/16/annenberg-commencement/?mc_cid=94b2eea625&mc_eid=7287d9a6bb
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.

Living on the Fringe

Living on the fringe requires of the artist a great deal of discipline and strength to counter the chaos of public opinion, which can then become the catalyst to a downward spiral.

In a world of subjectivity we seek validation from the outside and when we don’t get it our entire persona can crumble in self-doubt.

Art is a gift, a voice to protect, but our need to reach out must be stronger than the voices emanating from the crowd, lest we be silenced forever.

“Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.” [1]

Another version of that is: “What you think, you become” [2]

Does a monk require a diploma in monkhood to prove that he is, in fact, a monk?

I think not.

Debbie Millman’s words ring out like a war cry: “Imagine immensities…”[3]

We live our lives following that need to create…waking in the middle of the night with an idea; an idea that makes the ‘unknown known’.

In her letters to Sherwood Andersen, Georgia O’Keeffe explains that a work of art results from taking something one has perhaps not understood completely, something one has felt or experienced as our spirit travels the unknown and turning that emotion, that experience into something ‘known’.

She further defines the unknown as something that is so important to the artist that it must be investigated, whether consciously or not, it is something that must be done, ultimately resulting in a work of art. [4]

This is what gives every artist their identity, their form.

We all have different versions of the unknown.

Our individual spirits travel many lands as we build our castles in the sky, with integrity, whether we fail or succeed.

Our individual lives become our signature.

“If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal — that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself…. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.” Henry David Thoreau [5]
By Boky

1. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.019.than.html
2. http://fakebuddhaquotes.com/what-you-think-you-become/
3. https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/05/15/debbie-millman-look-both-ways-fail-safe/
4. https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/12/08/georgia-okeeffe-sherwood-anderson-letters/
5. https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/07/12/thoreau-on-success/

© Copyright 2017 Blake Ward. | Atelier Blake, 5 rue des Violettes, Monte-Carlo, Monaco 98000
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