SPHERISK – 3D Derivative – Asterisk Symbol – CNC Cut Out Print

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click on images to enlarge (except mobile devices)

cnc cut out uv inkjet on acrylic mounted to composite aluminum
dimensions variable (47.5″ x 47.5″ overall), edition of 3

Detail of SPHERISK I

I’ve been making artworks with the Asterisk symbol but I thought I’d share my own education on its origins. Please indulge me as the nerd in me can’t resist.⁠⁠

The hashtag is getting all the fame. But before the hashtag became so celebrated with the advent of social media, the asterisk has been used throughout the ages. The iconography of the Asterisk is deeply embedded in the human psyche. Ever since humans began mark making that ice age humans left for us to see in caves, the asterisk is present, thought to represent a symbol for stars. The word asterisk derives from “asteriskos,” a Greek word meaning “little star”. The symbol of the asterisk is ubiquitous today, used for annotation in writing, in computer language and mathematics. And let’s not forget its use in today’s language to mask expletives. It’s also been in front of our eyes since the advent by Bell Labs in 1963 of the push button touch tone phone where they put in the pound sign (also known as the number sign and hash sign) on the bottom right and the asterisk on the bottom left. These symbols had no initial use on the phone but thinking ahead they added these symbols for future yet to be invented purposes. So, in these artworks with the asterisk, I’m not solely making formal geometric constructs but also speaking to the power of symbols that carry from generation to generation without much thought that these things helped shape our humanity.⁠

I began creating 2d geometric artworks with the asterisk because I find it geometrically interesting, with its 6 spokes rotated 60 degrees apart and how it fits into a hexagon. So, now working in 3d, I asked myself, what could I do with it 3 dimensionally. I thought about the hexagon and how soccer balls are often stitched together with hexagons and some pentagons. Soccer balls are actually polyhedrons where the surfaces of the polygons are curved to make it spherical. It’s mathematically impossible to make a Polyhedron solely with hexagons without some pentagons. If you look closely at you’ll notice at the top, a yellow 5 spoked asterisk with red fins set into a pentagon. SPHERISK, although not actually a sphere, as it’s made up of flat segmented polygons, has the effect of being a sphere. The more polygons, the rounder it feels. SPHERISK has 110 hexagons and 12 pentagons with each polygon embedded with an asterisk sculpted with centers surrounded by fins that curve up and sprout metallic cylinders.

QUADRAMID VI – 3D Derivative – CNC Cut Out Inkjet On Acrylic

Modeled in the program Blender, I created a structure of 289 multi-colored blocks with multi-colored sloping fins at 51.5 degrees (the angle of slope of the Great Pyramid of Giza). This view is in perspective with the virtual camera looking upward from the bottom.

Click on images to enlarge (except mobile devices)

cnc cut out inkjet on acrylic mounted to composite aluminum
Dimensions Variable, 47.5″ x 47.5″ overall


Animation of 3D Model

TANGENTS – Exhibition of Abstract and Geometric Art in NE Ohio at The Artists Archives of The Western Reserve in Cleveland Ohio

I’m proud to be in this exhibition of abstract and geometric art with a group of nine terrific artists (including myself) in NE Ohio; Gianna Commito, David Louis Cintron, Mark Howard, Mark Keffer, Catherine Lentini, Natalie Lanese, Ed Raffel, and Susan Squires

From the Artists Archives website:

Tangents: Abstract and geometric Art in Northeast Ohio continues on in this tradition by gathering together a collection of diverse and prolific NEO artists who are choosing to work in a nonrepresentational way. While their various works include forays into: Color, optical interplay, mathematics, space, surface, texture, process, and the built environment, all explore their individual pursuits in geometry and abstraction.

Curator Jennifer Omaitz writes,” The idea for this exhibition grew out of a call to action. In the wake of the COVID 19 Pandemic most regional artworks appeared to explore literal pictorial space in painting and sculpture. Questions circulated about who in the area is making design dominant, non-representational work? Why is making abstract work still important? And how can the process of being an abstract artist lead to greater manifestations of perception? This exhibition aims to excite a deeper interest in geometric art and abstraction in the area and inspire more artists to open up their studio practice… The process of making abstract art occupies a rare space. It combines ways of thinking and making that interact with the temporal; sometimes abstraction is minimal and simplified, sometimes optical, and sometimes part of a collaged or combined language. It slows down or abandons the use of literal shapes and forms, often including ad hoc arrangement and disparate elements to engage the viewer in a space where philosophical questions prevail. The work has the power to share the pictorial space of color and surface with sensuality, metaphor, and resonance.” 

I have two artworks in the exhibition; QUADRABAR I and PYRALUX IV. These pieces represent a new direction in my work, connecting my roots as an architect with my digital media practice by utilizing 3d modeling to create geometric abstraction. I call this process 3D Derivatives. The idea of an artist being derivative often has a negative connotation, as being imitative of another artist. But I’m using this word in a different context; that of something that is derived from a source, in this case the source being a 3d model. A 3d model can be viewed in many ways, orthographically and in perspective, from the top, bottom and sides, from different angles, rotated… etc. and a 3D model can be rendered with realistic shadows. These characteristics draw me into this process enabling me to expand on my geometric abstraction in ways not possible in 2D. Using the program Blender, I first create a 3d model, add color and study different camera views and lighting to cast shadows that emphasize the forms. I then export renderings to be printed on rigid substrates and cut them out on a router allowing the geometry to reveal its edges.

click on images to enlarge (except mobile devices)

uv inkjet on acrylic/composite aluminum cut out on cnc router
dimensions variable – 47.5″h x 45.5″w overall, edition of 3

QUADRABAR I is a visualization in perspective looking directly overhead of a structure of a grid of cubes intersected by bars. They shift up in down, undulating in a wave like formation assembling an implied geographic terrain. Infused with 14 colors plus black and white, it comes alive as an optical tapestry in a symphony of color.

uv inkjet on acrylic/composite aluminum cut out on cnc router
dimensions variable – 47.5″ x 47.5″ overall, edition of 3

PYRALUX IV is a visualization in perspective looking directly overhead of a structure of 2 back to back square pyramids of stepped blocks color coded with primary colors plus white forming the platonic solid, the Octahedron. The stepped blocks along the edges of the octahedron are recessed, splitting the octahedron into 8 parts of which only 4 parts are visible in this view. The Octahedron’s vertices are color coded in black. A series of smaller blocks nest on the larger blocks increasing in size as they cascade down from the vertices.

The exhibition runs from November 2 – December 16, 2023. Hope you can visit and see not only my work but the wonderful work of the other artists.

Click here to read more about the exhibition on the Artists Archive website.

Curator Jenniffer Omaitz will give a curators talk at the AAWR on December 2 at 1:00pm.

Artists Archives of the Western Reserve
1834 E. 123rd Street Cleveland, OH 44106

I was awarded the Ohio Arts Council’s Artists With Disabilities Access Program (ADAP) Grant for fiscal year 2024.

CUBUS ET OCTAEDRUM II – A 3D Study in Platonic Solids

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(Perspective View)
uv cured inkjet on acrylic mounted to composite aluminum and cut out on cnc router
dimensions variable, 45″h x 42.75″w overall, edition of 3


(Orthographic Top View)
uv cured inkjet on acrylic mounted to composite aluminum and cut out on cnc router
dimensions variable, 45″h x 45″w overall, edition of 3

(Orthographic Side View)
uv cured inkjet on acrylic mounted to composite aluminum and cut out on cnc router
dimensions variable, 45″h x 41.75″w overall, edition of 3

CUBUS ET OCTAEDRUM is a study of platonic solids, in this instance, the cube and the octahedron. We all know what a cube is and for those who might not know, an octahedron is an 8 faced polyhedron. A polyhedron is simply a solid figure with multiple faces typically with more than 6.

I’ve been going back to my roots as an architect, thinking about the basics of geometry. I loved geometry as a child and knew by the time I was in high school that what I wanted to be was an architect. So working in 3D again, I’m revisiting the platonic solids that so fascinated me early in life.

With CUBUS ET OCTAEDRUM, I started with the thought of turning the square pyramids I’ve been creating made from stepped cubes into an Octahedron which is simply two square pyramids back to back. On a side note, a square pyramid like the Great Pyramid of Giza is not a platonic solid but that’s too complicated to get into here without boring you to tears. Then I wanted to up the stakes and add another platonic solid, the cube that resulted in this intervention of the cube expanding out of the octahedron or it could be looked at as the octahedron growing around the cube. I also sculpted the blocks, carving into them to accept the sloping fins instead of sitting on top of the blocks. The fins connected together form triangles. I also split the octahedron up into 8 individual triangular sections further accentuating these sloping triangles.

In this second iteration, I broke the cube into primary colors with the Octahedron in black and white.