Electric Desert 8/11: EUREKA!

As you may know from previous posts, I’ve long been excited by children’s architectural toys as methods for making large pop-up sculptures. As an example, last Halloween the Unicorn Collective wrestled mightily to makes sense of a Linx-based (image below) construction method using PVC pipe and the “octopi” Unicorn Arne Gulerud came up with.

Ever since that Halloween, I’ve been looking for a simple construction method for my Electric Desert dream. I began with the as-yet unfulfilled longing to build a giant low-poly something out of 1/2” PVC pipe armature covered with a cardboard skin. That low-poly lust is a Halloween leftover, and it’s still simmering in my imagination. In my mind were the deserts of Durotar (image below), the Orc starting zone in World of Warcraft. It was a beautiful dream, and it helped fuel a digital drawing (image below). But while it was useful in the exploration of that technique, it really wasn’t feasible: low-poly things really require CAD skills, which I don’t have. At the moment. 

So it was back to the drawing board. I found a few more construction methods (images below), and doodled with them–zippo. But then along came a toilet paper-tube method (image below). I just happened to have some 12” diameter cardboard tubes in the studio, and so I tried it out…

And it works! EUREKA

With about 15 minutes of cutting, the two tubes stand 7’ tall. They’re lightweight, paintable, and not terribly expensive. I figure that with $150, the donated paint that game designer Matt Bohnhoff brought by recently, and many hours of dedication, I’ll have a Sonoran desert fantasy cooking at Tortuga in ten days. 


Thanks to: Matt Bohnhoff for the paint; the Unicorn Collective for their level heads and huge dreams; Kathryn and Niko for putting up with me; Ed St. Martin (CAD genius) and Michael Young (design genius) for helping me realize that a low-poly dinosaur was not really a pop-up affair; and all the Abq art lovers out there for keeping our city quirky and beautiful.

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