It’s always a little bit sad to see a once-fine bicycle rusting away, abandoned, locked to a fence somewhere to end its days rusting slowly while scavengers pick over the best parts, leaving the mangled, corroding remains (well, as a cyclist with a soft heart, I find it sad anyway…). But in New York, two artists have found a way to reinstate the majesty of the two-wheeler, by salvaging its parts and turning them into art.
INSPIRATION#1: The ‘skeletons’ of abandoned bicycles left to rust around NYC
Inspired by Japanese sculptor Isamo Noguchi’s Akari pendant light and those of George Nelson, Andrew Wagner and Jen Turner saw a resemblance between the rusting wheels of abandoned bikes, and the former’s arthouse lighting designs.
INSPIRATION#2: Noguchi’s Akari lights
They set about creating their own tribute, using pieces they salvaged from unwanted bike wreckages from neighbourhoods they found were fertile hunting ground for these abandoned treasures – Williamsburg, East Village, SoHo.
INSPIRATION#3: George Nelson’s pendant bubble light
The result? A resounding success, that as the artists put it, are a sweet reminder of cycling as children through the neighbourhoods where they found the bikes.
Here’s how they did it (via the New York Times):
“Materials collected, we set about devising a simple fixture with an air of 1960s cool. The design was straightforward: We took two de-spoked rims, one slightly larger than the other, and inserted the smaller into the larger, securing them at one junction with a screw, nut and washer.
Once the structure was in place, it was time to install the light. An old lamp socket and cord would work beautifully, though you can find something similar at any lighting store (we got ours at Canal Lighting for $20). With at least 20 feet of cord, the lamp can be adapted to virtually any setup.
We ran the cord through one junction of the structure, leaving the plug on the outside, then we attached the light socket to the end of the cord inside the lamp, using a plastic cable grip to hold the wire and bulb at the right level.
We then wove ribbon through the spoke holes (though you could also use sliced, discarded bike tubes), to provide structural support for the final phase of construction — the application of ripstop nylon, often used as parachute fabric.
The entire project — from collecting the material to building the lamp — could easily be done in a day. (Ours took a little over two weeks, but only because we kept tweaking the design.)
And once complete, it’s a surprisingly beautiful and mildly cheeky reminder of the leafy suburbs where many of us first learned to pedal.”
From Trash to Treasure: A Workshop Exploring Transformation, with Andrew Wagner and Jen Turner, will be held in conjunction with the “Found” show, at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, in Ridgefield, Conn., on March 31. Information: (203) 438-4519 or aldrichart.org/events.
via New York Times