We started off classes by introducing the selected art proposal from last week, which will serve as inspiration towards our final project. The winner, Brisa Cabrera Diaz, age 11, wrote her proposal based on her experience with her teddy bear, which makes her feel better when she hugs it. She wrote of an individual capable of expressing his/her feelings freely to something so safe and pure, titling her concept “Your Hug”. To reflect this, the piece we build with the students will be a giant teddy bear that can “absorb” the feelings of the community with its glowing LED heart. We are planning to build the piece using old stuffed animals, toys, books, etc. The concept reflects warm ideas that focus on the emotional well being of the community and the artist herself.
In order to collect the materials to make our art piece, we had a few classes begin making posters asking for donations. Anything from old shoes and clothes to discarded toys and books will do.
Next week we will collect the materials, take inventory and begin planning our design.
Many believe the first step towards change begins with one’s self; this belief has proven to be more than just an idea to an extraordinary Highland Park resident. Chan Wing Lam has proven himself much more than just a loving husband and father, but also an innovator who has recently acted upon his lifelong interest in electrical engineering and the world of eco-friendly living.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, China, Lam first found his interest in electrical maintenance when in high school. Moving to America in 1984, he began working long hours in a seafood restaurant and later as a BBQ chef. It was not too long ago that he began putting his time into solar powered apparatuses to help cut back the cost of his electricity bill.
In 2013 he started his first solar panel project with broken glass windows and pieces acquired via eBay. Today he has several panels installed over the roof of his home and is even attempting to build a windmill. Each panel produces around 130 watts that go into one of his 3 inverters he has set up around his home. We got a chance to take a look inside his home and workshop to see for ourselves his mechanical endeavors.
Within a day and a half, and given the right materials, Lam can build one of his solar-powered automatons all by himself. He has given no thought to passing on his knowledge of mechanical money-savers down to a new generation, but did seem intrigued when posed with the question. Although his legacy may end with him, it has influenced the way Highland Park residents think about conservation. With the sight of his home just across the street from Franklin High School, hundreds of students pass by noticing not only his solar panels, but also his front yard garden full of vegetation he grows for his family.
It’s been an exciting week for our TRASHformation program at Nightingale Middle School. Along with collaborating artist Robin Banks, the RuckusRoots team erected the body, or “skeleton” of our Nighthawk sculpture. We visited the lab on Wednesday to assess the trash with Robin and Jennifer Cunnigham, the D3 Lab coordinator, and made a rough sketch of how we would construct the bird and just how big it would be. Since the kids worked so hard and collected so much valuable and usable materials, everyone agreed the bigger the better!
We used recycled steel bike rims to form the torso and found scrap metal to make the outline of the wings, legs and feet. We welded it all together while adding structural stability, ensuring the sculpture is safe to display on campus.
We then delivered the frame to the D3 Lab in three pieces, setting it up so that we can begin adding to it with Nightingale students over the next few weeks.
Thanks to the Academia Avance High School senior interns who worked with Robin to weld together our Nighthawk and also transport it to the lab. We always appreciate a helping hand.
The kids were quite excited to see part of the structure come together today! We looking forward to next week when more hands will be needed and the kids’ creative ideas will finally come to life. Stay tuned!
Kate Havens is a PhD candidate at USC, studying biokinesiology, or human movement. But when she’s not studying or teaching, you can find her crafting. Kate has always been interested in design and has created dozens of sewn, knitted, and crocheted items for family and friends. Blissfully married to Robin, she is an Art Customs supporter, baker and co-conspirator.
Robin Banks is an artist, inventor, product developer and founder of the arts collective AntFarm LA, and of Art Customs, a machining, fabrication and art house that provides collaborative production and concept development on projects large and small. Dream it, plan it, do it is Robin’s motto, and he does just that, while encouraging and inspiring others to do the same. Robin’s work as been featured in music videos, commercials and TV shows, as well as in music festivals like Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival and Lighting in a Bottle.
For instance, Robin made these custom SteamPunk Goggles, Eyeball Lathe, and Mouth Animator for the David Guetta and Niki Minaj Video “Turn Me On”, in 2011. Construction time was only 3 days.
Robin made this Working push-pull train car for Gardnier Fructus hair products commercial. This 200-pound, CNC-cut aluminum prop only took 4 days to complete. To see more of Robin’s portfolio and custom costume work, visit www.artcustoms.com.
A huge movement in cities right now is urban gardening. At AntFarm Acres, a subsidiary of AntFarm, we have gone forward in starting a community garden. Our goal is to take the as of now raw backyard, and turn it into a sustainable garden, growing and giving food from our own garden. Making the transition to locally grown food and farming can help stimulate our local economy, improve public health, and even protect the environment. Urban farming is becoming far more relevant now as urban consumers realize the importance of sustainability and it also increases the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, or meat and eggs, made available to city dwellers, who want to look outside their supermarkets for fresher options.
We took advantage of last weeks Occupy Our Food Supply to spend the day working in the garden. Over 60 food justice and Occupy groups around the world are participating in a Global Day of Action to ‘Occupy Our Food Supply’ on February 27th, 2012. Inspired by the theme Create/Resist, we are bridging movements of sustainable agriculture and food justice networks working on local solutions and simultaneously resisting corporate control of the food system.
We continued building out the terraces and created a retaining wall using rocks we sifted out of the existing soil. We also added manure, nutrient-rich soil and started a compost pile. The chickens are happy in their new coop, built by Robin and Kristin. Stay tuned for more work days in the garden or if you would like to be a part of our community garden, please email Chrissy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.