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.