Category Archives: art

Artist Profile: Ivan Barnett

As part of this blog, I am going to start doing short profiles of other mobiles artists. (I believe that is the approprate term as “mobile artists” implies something very different). I just discovered Ivan Barnett, who does some incredible abstract mobiles. They look like a mix of Calder and African or other traditional art. Very vibrant, contrasting colors and neat angular shapes. Here’s an online gallery worth checking out.

I’d love to see these in a gallery someplace, especially since they are 4 to 5 feet high and would make quite an impression. And, of course, when it comes to mobiles, seeing the third dimension is crucial.

For more background, see this page on Ivan.

Wood Bars and Disks Mobile

This mobile is made out of wood dowels and disks painted with acrylics. The disks are 2-4 inches in diameter; width is around 18 inches; and height is perhaps 30 inches.

It has a very different look from the previous one posted and is quite different from most mobiles one sees. Does it work? That is a subjective question, of course. What I like about it are the bright, contrasty colors, all of which stand out against the black bars that form the backbone of the piece. In addition, all of the bars and their attached disks can rotate freely in a full 360 degree circle. This tends not to be the case among most mobiles, because one bar or layer is joined to the next with a metal link or direct attachment that restricts rotation to around 90 degrees–sometimes a bit more–and tends to push the different layers to line up one on top of the other.

This mobile, on the other hand, joins one layer to the next with nylon line, which allows for complete freedom of motion with respect to the bar and disk above and below. The effect, then, if there is air circulation in the room, is to see all layers (bar plus colored disk) rotating separately, creating a constantly changing pattern and an infinite set of geometric relationships.


Wood Mobile

In upcoming posts, I’ll be showing a variety of the mobiles I’ve created in the past several months as well as those I make going forward. This one is unique in the sense that I haven’t done any others like it. I like working with irregular, smooth, wood shapes as seen here along with bright colors. I need to find better swivels, however, so each of the pieces will rotate independently. That is how I envisioned it. One bit challenge with using irregular pieces like this is to balance each wood piece perfectly so that it is exactly horizontal.


How to Make a Mobile (another great video)

The other day, I posted a video by Mark Leary on how to make a mobile. Mark’s video was quick, something you can think of as a video time lapse presentation. No instruction, but the visual was quite good and you could learn a lot. Here’s another video; which is much more like a tutorial with instructions.  Laurent Davidson is the artist/instructor and he does a great job building a simple mobile from scratch using very basic materials. If you want to learn some basic principles behind creating mobiles, this is a great video. It’s also good for more experienced creators. I picked up several helpful hints.

Laurent is currently based in Carmel, California. Take a look at his website to see a lot of his neat, colorful work. I may show some individual works of his in a future post.

Mobile with Broad Disks

Many of my earlier mobiles were made with card stock wrapped around the wires and glued, painted with acrylics, and then assembled. This is one of those. These disks are between 3 and 4 inches in diameter. Dimensions for the entire mobile are about 10 inches high and 15 inches across. It is very light, so reacts easily to slight air movements.


Arabic Calligraphy

I recently bought a drawing tablet to practice calligraphy. I have only been doing calligraphy for a couple of months, and without any formal instruction, so it doesn’t compare to serious practitioners. But it’s a lot of fun.
The letter is a veil and the veil is a letter

This text says “The letter is a veil and the veil is a letter.”

Letters and colors

This is just a collection of unconnected letters; an attempt to play with shapes and colors.