Friday, April 13, 2012

The Artist's Path - Part 4

Life as a Science Kid

The other day I talked about my family. Today I want to get a little into how their life experiences directly affected my art process. Some influences are right there on the surface, like looking at your favorite painter and trying to paint like them. The influences that you take from your family are often hidden and obscured from easy analyization. They only become apparent from a distance or with time.


When we were kids we did projects. Seemingly every weekend we would work on projects. I made a solar cooking parabola. I still remember cutting out and gluing each little mirror to the parabola. Hours spent for the payoff of slowly watching a a little pan of water boil. I have to say I remember little of what went on at school but I remember working on these projects.

At the Museum

We went to museums. A favorite being the California Science Museum at exhibition park. All the science displays in their modern design displays. We spent hours in the Eames designed Mathematica room. This was the place where science and art met, and I absorbed into my fertile little brain. We also loved the Natural History Museum and the dinosaurs. Just the feeling and smell of those types of rooms, makes me nostalgic for childhood. I think since I had such a great childhood, everything I do is an attempt to dredge it back up so I can enjoy it again and again. It is what really makes my life a joy to live.

Rubber Chicken Movie

Also when we were kids, there was always a super 8 camera around. We made lots of inconsequential little films sometimes involving rubber chickens. Slowly I was beginning to build a "tool kit" of skills. Every year we did science fair projects and built displays to present them. Another big memory was that on the top of the cupboard in the dining room was a stack of razor blades. The uses of a razor blade was endless and they were always there for use. No dull kiddie scissors in our house (amazing we never had a major accident except maybe the time sulphuric acid burnt the carpet in my brothers room). Still to this day I need have some sort of cutting knife/razor around which I use for everything.


This is also probably the time to talk about the rocket fuel. For some reason my dad brought home a piece of solid rocket fuel. As I remember it, the thing just sat on the shelf in the Lab. Then one day we decided to light it off. We put it an a thick walled metal trashcan and lit the thing. It started slowly, a flame out of the can, then it grew and grew and grew louder and louder, I would guess it was shooting out 10-15' tall. And then it subsided and we all said WOW! Then we went on with our day. This was our ordinary.

So science was everywhere for us as kids and in high school, I was a science kid. I did fine in history, english, social studies but I excelled in math and physics. When I entered college it was as a physics major. It made sense but I really had no particular aspirations in the field of physics. I quickly got bogged down in the college level courses, they were not about doing things like I had been brought up, they were about writing numbers on a piece of paper. And it bored me. This was not the science I grew up with.


MHPayne said...

Let's see:

I remember the experiments to see just exactly what it took to start a fire by "rubbing two sticks together," the whole set up to practice that carnival game where you stand a bottle up by hooking it with a loop on the end of a string, the big palindrome board, and of course the 4th of July festivities and the Christmas cookie decorating...

Ah, yes.


Dan Goodsell said...

Mike -

Well some of the Payne influence is going to be discussed in my next post!