Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Tumbler

One of the consultants for the piece was Emilie Ledieu. She works in mosaics and has a lot of experience working with glass. She suggested "tumbling" the broken glass to make it like sea glass. The tumbler works like a cement mixer. You put water and sand in with the glass and plug it in. The longer you tumble, the smoother and more frosted the glass becomes. Some batches we tumbled for a few hours, some for a few days.


I started spreading word I was looking for green glass. People came over with wine bottles and beer bottles and we smashed them. Everyone was really getting into it. I think it was cathartic. We were using hammers and this big wrench. You have to hit the bottles harder than you think. It was funny when a bottle wouldn't break. The person would get embarrassed and go at it again much more aggressively.

Green Monochrome Story

I have been collecting material that documents the construction and presentation of the Green Monochrome for 3rd Federal Bank. I want to start posting it now. The process of making this piece was different from the last. The collaboration was broader and looser in concept. It involved more consultation. For example, we ended up focusing on glass as a material. And glass proved itself to be challenging and needed to be talked about. We also broadened the form of the piece with multimedia components contributed largely in part by the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush. We started an online art magazine called "Chartreuse." Students wrote and performed a song based on the project. We were also on TV.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Orange Unveiling

Emilie Ledieu translating details to French visitors

We had a good turn out at the unveiling. Philadelphia art fixture Donald Carter was there to validate the event. Alex Stolypine brought his family and other Parisian artists, who were in town representing the Paris Embassy and working on the latest Mural Arts Program project in Kensington. People were playing with the orange monochrome and spinning it.

I want to thank Hyperion again and everyone who worked on the project. It was rewarding to be standing up there presenting the piece as it hung in the space I had vaguely imagined months ago. I'm looking forward to the next project, green. I've just gotten word from Buchanan PR, the public relations firm I'm working with, that Benjamin Rush Arts Academy is interested in collaborating with us and incorporating the educational components of this project into their curriculum.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I spoke with botanist Russell Juelg from the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. I said I was interested in making this piece alive but that I had concerns about maintenance. I didn't want it to die. I didn't want the bank to have to take care of this thing all the time. I just wanted it to be like having a plant, or even easier than that.

He suggested I use moss. It grows easily. It has no root system and can grow on a variety of porous surfaces. It just needs a little water now and then. And it lives for ever. He said a friend of his in upstate New York was making terrariums to grow moss, creating miniature landscapes. His terrariums were dome shaped and made out of glass. But as long the terrarium is enclosed, Juelg said, it can be any shape. It can also be tinted (i.e. repurposed green wine bottles).

We are entertaining approaching Woodhaven schools and incorporating this project into their curriculum as a workshop or a series of lessons. Students would help make the monochrome while learning about green practices and the green values this piece demonstrates.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Green Monochrome

CEO of 3rd Federal Bank, Kent Lufkin, and Mayor Michael Nutter at the ground breaking for the Woodhaven branch

I am pleased to announce that SSEWARD has been commissioned by 3rd Federal Bank to make a green monochrome. The piece will go in their new branch in Woodhaven, which represents the bank’s first effort towards LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

We are still working out the timeline for this project. Though it looks like we're shooting for a September unveiling. I'd like to get started in the next couple weeks. Artists are suggesting wine bottles and other green glass. I spoke with mosaic artist and muralist, Emilie Ledieu, who just returned from making a large-scale public mural in France. She had some good suggestions for the piece. Other artists are also suggesting making it hydroponic and having the green monochrome function as an oxygen emitting plant. I am on the lookout for glass workers who might be able to help incorporate an irrigation system for the piece.

I am really excited about this project and look forward to working with all of you!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Orange Monochrome
90" diameter
Mixed Media

I'd like to thank everyone who participated. Over 40 people worked on the orange monochrome directly. Several more played a crucial role in its realization. Building this piece has been very rewarding. It's evolved into a symbol of community. I'm excited for the unveiling and installation at Hyperion Bank, which will take place August 12th.

It weighs around 100 pounds. I'm working with metal worker and kinetic sculptor, Jim Garvey, on building a mount. We're welding an axel that will attach to the hub of the original substrate, a bike wheel, which will allow the piece to spin!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sewing Circle

Little Berlin
119 W. Montgomery Ave.

Come join us Thursday evening at Little Berlin for the third coloring party. We have the skeleton of the piece built. Now we are mostly weaving in fabric. Please bring orange* and juicy gossip.

*remember to log your hours while scavenging

Monday, May 17, 2010

At Saturday's coloring party, fashion designer and stylist, Reese Juel, adding feathers and fire to Icarus

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Coloring Party

Meeting at Little Berlin 8p Thursday 05/13
119 W. Montgomery Ave.

Bring a friend and bring orange--sturdy and strong materials, not just candy wrappers. Metal. Wood. Hard plastic. Things that will last. I like the monochromes to be durable and high quality, something you could throw out the window and it would stay together; the scratches and dents would add to it, and the pieces that don't survive the fall don't get reapplied.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

"Value City" Opening at Little Berlin

I wanted to thank everyone who came out last night. We had a good turn out and a lot of involvement. The piece has come along more quickly than I expected. Construction of the orange monochrome will continue through out this month. We'll be having coloring parties at Little Berlin (119 W. Montgomery Ave.) Thursday nights from 8-11p, and Saturdays from noon-5p.

The piece is evolving into a kind of sundial. We need long rusty rods if you can find them!

Looking forward to seeing people again and also new faces!
Fashion designer, Keri Hansen, weaving yarn into the orange monochrome at the Little Berlin opening for "Value City"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Scavenger Hunt:

Wednesday, May 5th, 11am
Starting at VVOFFKA Gallery
2037 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125


Thursday, May 6th, 6:30pm
Starting at VVOFFKA Gallery
2037 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Monochrome Sold

I'm pleased to announce Hyperion Bank will be purchasing the Monochrome piece that will be assembled during the Value City exhibition. I'm going into the bank today to talk to Suzanne about where the piece will be displayed. We had mentioned using the color orange. I'll confirm the color today, and then I would like to organize a get together one or two times this week to scavenge for pigment before the show.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I met with Hyperion Bank's marketing director on Wednesday. She wanted to understand what I was doing there and why Hyperion would want to buy a painting that hasn't even been made yet. I said that this project was about sending a message. Artists pioneer an area and initiate its revitalization and development. When an institution like a bank moves into that area, it confirms and strengthens that revitalization. This project is a way to acknowledge this synergy that continues to happen in developing areas. It's a way to encourage artists and institutions alike.

The piece I'm selling hasn't been made yet. It's essentially a commissioned piece. Since each monochrome is so different from the next, I understand that they're challenging to imagine. But that adds to the excitement of the piece. What I'm offering isn't something made independent of the stewards of the work. I'm offering an interaction, something unique to the stewards and their environment, something they contribute to. We talked about using the color orange and the sun design in their logo. I think we both started to picture something and got excited. She said she would talk to the owner and give me an answer Friday.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bonding Agents

There are rules for making a monochrome. All materials have to be found or second-hand. Objects have to be predominantly of the designated monochrome color. Adhesives, however, (anything used to bind these materials for the assembly of the piece) are the exception to this rule. They have to be found or used but don't have to be any particular color (a rusty nail, for example). Before the color of the little berlin piece is designated, I ask that people start collecting anything that can be used to fasten or bind...glue, thread, nails, screws, string, fishing line...anything. Please let me know if you have any questions.

I look forward to hearing about what people start finding!

Monday, April 26, 2010

I was talking to a regular at Johnny Brenda's last week. He handles art for museums and private collectors. He said he did a job once for the CEO of Aramark, Joseph Neubauer, and that Neubauer and his wife were art enthusiasts. So I went to the Aramark building. I hadn't really been able to find any information online on who does what at the company so I just asked the woman at registration if I could talk to someone in Marketing. She was more in charge of security and signing people in. She said I could try the information desk next to her. I went through my same spiel. They said I might be able to talk to Kennedy Wilson. They run the building and were around the corner.

I went into the Kennedy Wilson office. The receptionist was laughing about something with a co-worker, which was nice. I spieled her, and she got the Operations Manager. I spieled him, and he said gave me the name and number of a woman in Corporate Services, who handles all the artwork and stuff like that, he said. She was essentially the Art Consultant for Aramark.

He said he was going to call her and let her know I would be contacting her. So I waited and called the next day. Her receptionist told me she was in a meeting and put me through to voicemail. My phone cut out during my message. When I called back to leave another message, she answered the phone herself. She listened patiently to my spiel, mentioned it was somewhat aligned with Aramark's involvement with Earth Week, and then put me in contact with someone in Community Relations. I called and left a message. Someone else called back the next day, and we set up a meeting.
Jenna Wilchinski, working on Copper Monochrome

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I contacted one of my sales mentors, Charisse, for advice on cold calling. She works for one of the biggest biotech companies in the world and recently won an award for being #1 in sales in the nation for four straight quarters. I told her I was thinking about approaching banks. She said it's important to talk to the decision maker. With a bank, I should go in and ask for the Branch Manager. She said to be direct and make it as easy as possible for them. If they say they aren't the ones who can make decisions about things like buying a painting, then I should ask who does and get their contact information.

Yesterday, I went into 3rd Federal Bank. I went up to the teller and asked to speak with the Branch Manager. She wanted to know why. I told her I was organizing a collaborative art project in the area and wanted to involve local businesses. I sat down with the Branch Manager and told her about the Monochromes Project. She said she was interested. She didn't have the authority to make the decision to buy the piece, but gave me the information of someone at home office who did, someone in marketing. I called and left a message.

After 3rd Federal, I went to Hyperion Bank and sat down with their Branch Manager. She was also interested and receptive. She started talking about possible colors, using either the blue or the orange from their logo. She liked how the project and the gallery's values coincided with Hyperion Bank's, which has been recognized and awarded as a symbol of revitalization in the community. She told me to follow up with her, but that I also needed to speak with someone in marketing. I happened to meet their marketing director as she was leaving for the day. I got her information, and will contact her to schedule a meeting next week.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Philadelphia artist, OJ Briggs, flying in for pink monochrome

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm an assistant to artist, Candy Depew. When I saw her today, I told her about the show. She suggested approaching art buyers for companies. She also said I could time a company's payment with the end of their fiscal year. Departments have budgets and if they don't use them up, they get a lower budget the following year. So they're looking for ways to use up their budget. Helping artists and an organization seeking non-profit status in an up-and-coming area might be something they would be interested in financing and becoming involved with. They could put down a deposit on the piece, or sign a contract, and then pay when it's fiscally convenient. They could also pay over time, like a $100 a month.

After working with Candy, I met with Masha at little berlin. We picked out the space where we'll build the monochrome during the exhibition. It will basically be a 10ft cube delineated by tape on the floor and wall. Everything will be done in that area next to the other artists' work in the show. Masha wanted to know what the color would be. I said I didn't know yet. I wanted the buyers, the people that become involved, and other things that happen before the show to dictate the color. People really just need a couple days to scavenge. Although, a week would be nice.

Brown detail

Tyler art student, Kiriko Brindley, working on Brown Monochrome

Monday, April 12, 2010

I talked to Masha today. She told me the show is called "Value City." It starts May 7th, I think. So I have until then to pre-sell this work. I think I want to sell it for $500. I'll ask for that and maybe people could pay part of that as a sponsor, but then they'd have to share the painting. And if someone ends up offering the full amount, the sponsorship is void. Or they can outbid the other buyer, or put their offer towards something else. I want to start approaching businesses tomorrow or Wednesday. Maybe it can be a tax right off for them. If it is I can ask for more. I was going to start small. But I think I should start big. Maybe I'll approach some art institutions in the city, or in other cities. They might be a little tight with their budgets, though, or slower to move. Organizations and businesses in general might feel it's last minute. I can address that by stretching the sales cycle past the show, and tell them any kind of involvement before and during the show would be a part of the exhibition at little berlin. They can also, like everyone else, work on the piece and have a say in the final product. I also want to approach individual buyers.