Tag: James Peterson

We did it!

Hey everyone!

We had an amazing opening night June 2nd at ArtShareLA and loved the opportunity to show our latest Chimes for Change project in a prominent downtown gallery. This is was especially meaningful to our high school students, who made a special field trip to hang their chimes on our giant metal tree and check out in the gallery for the afternoon! If you were able to make it to our opening night, you might have seen several of the students there!

We have so many people to thank for helping out with Chimes for Change! It was a huge undertaking and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the following superstars!

  • James Peterson, (tree designer and project planner)
  • Steve Shatkin & Tortoise Industries (our incredible tree fabricators)
  • Lush Cosmetics Charity Pot (incredible project sponsors for student ipads)
  • Erinn Bone (music mentor extraordinaire)
  • NiNo Alicea, Regina Clemente, Scott Froschauer, James Peterson and all of our fabulous artist mentors who helped with student chime-building)
  • Jeffrey Sapin (ever-patient teacher and project supervisor at Larchmont Charter High School)
  • ArtShareL.A (thanks for hosting our installation!)
  • All of our amazing and generous crowdfunding sponsors for helping finance the project!

 It’s always bittersweet to finish up a big, semester-long project like this one! But we are really proud of the student work, and the reception this installation received from the greater public. If you weren’t able to make it to the gallery to see this interactive installation, you can visit


to see photos of each student’s chime, read their artist statement, and listen to their recorded song – all through the website!

We’ll be spending this summer revamping our website, doing some fundraising and dreaming up new plans for upcoming projects – so make sure you’re following us on social media and are signed up for newsletter updates so you stay in the loop with all the changes coming about! 

photos: Ramon Flores 

RuckusRoots featured on One Green Planet


The supercool website One Green Planet recently asked me, founder of RuckusRoots, to write an article about how we can use art to fight for the planet. I was pleased to contribute my views on ARTivism, as well as mention some of my favorite artists who expertly blend the worlds of art and eco-activism.

Check out the article, and let us know: how do you use art to fight for the planet?

RuckusRoots goes to Coachella with CryoChrome!

rainbow tunnel

If you were wondering what RuckusRoots was up to this April, look no further than CryoChrome, one of the must sought after art installations on display during this years Coachella Valley Music Festival in Indio, CA.

We spent 18 days in the desert to help make CryoChrome come to life. The piece was the brain child of LA artist and RuckusRoots collaborator James Peterson. This was Peterson’s first commissioned art piece for Coachella, and we are proud to say it was a success!

The interactive sculpture was roughly 40 feet long and 20 feet tall, and was based on Russian ice caves. Affectionately dubbed ‘the rainbow tunnel,’ the outside of the piece was covered in a skin of over 20,000 recycled CD’s (yay for recycled materials!) while the inside of the tunnel was vaccu-formed plastic walls covered in color-changing LED lighting. As you walked through the piece, the walls rotated around you, creating an optical illusion that left festival goers dizzy and exhilarated. Lines remained long throughout both weekends of the festival; we estimated at least 70,000 viewers experienced the sculpture each weekend.

RS cryochrome outside
Photo courtesy of Koury Angelo via Rolling Stone

We were honored to be a part of such an amazing art project! The piece was featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone, LA Weekly, The Hollywood ReporterHuffington Post and many more. It was an exciting month and now we’re on to more ruckus-raising at home!

Coachella 2014: Cryochrome from James Mills on Vimeo.

Chimes for Change: A Success at Soundwalk 2013

RuckusRoots premieres ‘Chimes for Change’ at Soundwalk 


Last Saturday, Loyola High School students from our pilot ‘Chimes for Change‘ program displayed over 30 wind chime sound installations at Soundwalk, one of the country’s biggest sound art exhibits, in Long Beach. The program was a collaboration with music and sound art teacher Steven Speciale and visual artist James Peterson. Students worked with RuckusRoots over 6 weeks to fabricate wind chimes out of recycled materials, each one expressing a sustainability issue through their piece.

Soundwalk attendees not only got to view the collection chimes, but also scan QR codes affixed to each piece using their smart phones. The code allowed them access each artist’s electronic song as well as  read his artist statement, which described the sustainability issue inspired by the chime.


After working with Peterson to conceptualize and build their chimes, Speciale taught students how to create electronic music using Yellofier, a digital song making application. The students recorded their chimes and then composed songs using those sounds in Yellofier.

The students’ songs and statements will be available on our Chimes for Change page in the next week. We are excited to continue Chimes for Change with several community organizations across Los Angeles, and can’t wait to share the results with you!


Thanks to Monching Flores for the images

Chimes for Change Begins!


This week we began the pilot community art program ‘Chimes for Change,’ a music-based variation of TRASHformation. We’re working with students from Loyola High School to fabricate mobile sound installations, or wind chimes, made from found and recycled materials.

Unlike TRASHformation programs in the past, Chimes for Change participants have the opportunity to create their own personal art piece–a wind chime–that aims to explore the relationship between sustainability and the arts. The chime might represent a personal theme or one of which that addresses an issue the artist sees in his/her own community regarding sustainability.

Artist James Peterson of Art & Contraptions, is helping students with the construction and fabrication of the chimes. As an experienced artist who has worked on small to large scale art pieces made with found or recycled materials, he will guide students in the hands-on process of constructing their art pieces.

Using sounds derived from recordings of the chimes, the students will also create experimental, electronically-based songs and audio-visual art pieces. Both the chimes made in this program as well as the collaboratively composed songs have been accepted to show at Sound Walk 2013, one of the country’s largest sound art exhibitions, held in Long Beach on October 5th.

As opportunities for Chimes for Change continue to manifest we are constantly discovering new ways this program could be used to explore the vital role that art can have in guiding us towards more sustainable lifestyles.

 “Far from being irrelevant to social change, the arts is the only way through which we may gain an appreciation of our common humanity, it is the only thing that can teach us to love the world enough to protect and defend it.” Clara Fang

Sessilanoid by James Peterson Accepted into Art Basel: Help Him Get it There!


James Peterson is an LA based artist whose latest interactive art piece, Sessilanoid, was accepted into Art Basel, one of the world’s premier art shows. James also happens to be a RuckusRoots collaborator; he’s worked with us on many projects, big and small. This opportunity is one of the biggest in his artistic career and we’re so thrilled for him to embrace it.


James needs our help getting Sessilanoid to Art Basel in Switzerland, so please consider donating to his Indigogo campaign! You will be rewarded with cool, custom t-shirts, posters and 3D models of the piece…how rad is that? Read on for a look into a recent conversation I had with James about how and why he makes such awesome art.


“I want people to have a respite of intrigue and joy, to tap into their inner child, that sweet naïve place where it’s okay to be in awe and just enjoy something,” James says. That’s a pretty noble goal in this hyper-stressed world in which we live, you must admit. And I especially admire another aspect of James’ artistic mission: to convey an environmental message by letting the beauty and ingenuity of the piece provide a natural bridge into discussion and education. “I like to create situations where strangers meet and things are naturally intuitive. The core of everything is enjoyment and conversation between the people interacting with it. It gives me the opportunity to share what inspires me without forcing it down their throat. I think if you make something beautiful and compelling, people naturally want to ask questions about why you did it,” he says.

Watch Sessilanoid in action below, and hear James talk about the environmental issue he hopes to bring to light with this piece. And please consider helping James raise funds to transport his piece to Art Basal on his Indigogo page.

Sessilanoid: A Sum of all Parts – Interactive Sculpture from James Peterson on Vimeo.

Thanks to Todd Sali for the images.

Welcome, Art Contraptions!

Art Contraptions, the latest collaborator to join the RuckusRoots team, is an LA-based design and fabrication house that specializes in everything from large scale, interactive sculpture to innovative  furniture and web design.

James Peterson, one of the co-founders of Art Contraptions, is an ARTivist in his own right, and his philosophy about art’s function in our world is right up our alley.

“The intention is to create enjoyment with content and thus to inspire people to engage the artwork, ask questions and then as a result, become informed. My formula is the “palatability of information” rather than shoving my opinion down peoples throat,” he says.

Recently, Peterson put these thoughts into practice for an interactive art installation he created at the Los Angeles Convention Center to raise awareness about hypoxia.

Hypoxia, the environmental condition characterized by low oxygen levels that causes ecological “dead zones” in aquatic environments, is increasing in our lakes and oceans at a shocking rate. Besides depleting more overt biodiversity, hypoxia kills off healthy blue-green algae, causes an influx of harmful algae blooms (HABs), contaminates drinking water and results in beach closures. In short, hypoxia isn’t pretty. But, go figure, Peterson’s artwork most certainly is.

Hypoxia utilizes a motion sensitive controller outfitted with infrared LED lights and illuminated with RGB LED lighting. Participants wave their hands over the controller, which initiates fans and LED tape housed inside custom-built pods on the floor. Breeze from the fans causes an overhead cluster of green feather boas to flutter gently, much like an underwater bloom of algae. Peterson hopes his piece will inspire others to become educated about the dangers of Hypoxia, while also providing them with a little bit fun in the process. “[I aim to] create a space to entice education. I believe in art with content but beauty, interactivity, and joy share equal importance,” he says.

RuckusRoots and Art Contraptions are collaborating on a new project, to be unveiled in the fall of 2012. We’d say more, but then we’d have to kill you. Until then, check out Hypoxia in action in the below video, and view more of Peterson’s work on his website, Art Contraptions.

James Peterson’s “Hypoxia” from James Mills on Vimeo.

Thanks to Michael Nelson and James Peterson for the images.