Tag Archives: 2007

The Architect’s Tomb and The Architect’s Tomb (Small Scale Model)

The Architect’s Tomb is a sculpture that I made back in 2009 and is 6″x19″x62″. I started by making a quick drawing in order to work out the proportions and to anticipate any logistical problems. After that I made a small balsa wood model of it called The Architect’s Tomb (Small Scale Model) since the final sculpture would take a while to make and would need a lot of preparation to complete. The balsa wood model was easy to make since I could cut all of the wood with a sharp knife. I made the window in the front out of glassine to mimic the frosted glass that I planned for the larger sculpture. In the end the lights and the power source were the most difficult since I needed to install them in such a small space. I wanted to imbed the power source within the sculpture but found that this was impossible and instead opted to use an external battery connected via wire to a small light bulb from a flashlight.

After I built the model I decided to go ahead and build the sculpture at full size. The first obstacle was the size of the fluorescent lights that were available which was four feet so I had to adjust all of my proportions according to these limitations. The second challenge was the front face which needed to be rounded out with a router. My initial sketch had a lighted geometrically cornered rectangular face but I quickly decided that I wanted rounded corners to make it more “futuristic.” I needed the sculpture to be as thin as possible so I adjusted for the thickness of the fluorescent light housing unit and had all of my wood cut according to this size. I cut out the face with the router and put it together. I painted it with F.L.P. white and then purchased a piece of frosted glass and secured it to the inside of the box; I made sure to secure it in such a way that it could be replaced easily in the future in case the glass was ever damaged. I then attached the fluorescent lights to a thin board that was covered in aluminum foil that fit snugly inside the box. I put handles on it so that it could be pulled out easily and attached blocks on the inside so I could screw the board with the light on it into it. One of my main concerns was the distribution of light within the box as it was transmitted through the glass, so I made sure that I had an adequate amount of tin foil inside to help dissipate the light (I didn’t want any hot spots.) I also attached a long white 20′ cord to it that could be wrapped up inside in case I needed to plug it into an electrical outlet that was far away. I made a small hole for the extension cord in the back on the right side; I dreaded doing this but I needed to make the piece as flat to the wall as possible. The last thing I did was to create a cloth backing for it so that the light wouldn’t shine out the back and then attached some rubber “feet” to the bottom to help elevate it off the floor.

I don’t remember how I came up with the idea for The Architect’s Tomb other than wanting to make a large flat white light box that existed somewhere between a piece of furniture and a sculpture. I really enjoyed seeing it when it was finished, and enjoyed the process of making it since I challenged myself into accomplishing certain goals that I set for myself (like using a router.) I’m disappointed that I never got to exhibit this piece and it sits in the back of my studio wrapped in plastic. One day maybe.

Below is the sculpture and the model, which is only an inch tall.

The Architect's Tomb by Brian Higbee and Future Living ProjectsThe Architect's Tomb (Small Scale Model) by Brian Higbee and Future Living Projects

The Architect's Tomb Sketch 2007

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Filed under Drawing/Works on Paper, Future Living Projects, Sculpture, Small Scale Model

Last Chance, When We Last Met…Before…Even Now and (OL)

I decided that I wanted to spend the summer painting since it’s not something that I often do. I like to work on art that falls within specific, although sometimes undefined, contexts but sometimes I like to make these paintings that I consider to be more “poetic” in nature. These usually come from photographs that I’ve taken and decide that it would be a nice image to paint; not necessarily the best reason to make art but sometimes it’s an intuitive process deciding what to paint. Last Chance is a painting of a sky writer that I saw out my window sometime last fall. The pilot was doing a very bad job of writing the words and I never saw the complete phrase that they were trying to spell; I don’t think they ever completed it. The sky was a beautiful blue though, dark at the top and slightly yellow at the bottom. I like the fact that the smoke trail letters are drifting and skewed as they dissipate on the left and the letters on the right are tight and easily legible from being recently made. I also like that the phrase is not complete at the time of the photo.

I made the painting in the standard 24″x32″ size with canvas stretched over a panel and painted with oil. I consider this a one shot painting since I needed to paint it all at once before the paint dried in order to get the proper blending and effects of whispy smoke trails.

This is not the first sky writing painting that I’ve made. In 2006 I made When We Last Met…Before…Even Now which is actually a jet stream, and in 2007 made (OL) which was another sky writer that I had seen out my window back around 2001. The image stuck with me for many years until I finally painted it. That was another sky writer who never completed what was being spelled and did a horrible job of making consistent letters. I’m really drawn to the incompleteness of the phrases from what is usually reserved for advertisements or personal messages. I’m also very attracted to the use of vast skies which I’ve used many times in my paintings and feel that this is obviously due to the fact that my studio/home for the past 13 years has a wall of windows that gives me an unobstructed view of the sky and Manhattan. I get non stop light for 12 hours of the day. I’ve included all of these images below including a detail of When We Last Met…Before…Even Now.

Last Chance by Brian Higbee(OL) by Brian HigbeeWhen We Last Met...Before...Even Now by Brian HigbeeWhen We Last Met...Before...Even Now (Detail) by Brian Higbee

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Filed under Painting