Note: This is the last progress report from an Artist of Hawai‘i 2015 artist before the exhibition opens July 2.
Hawai‘i Island-based artist Jesse Houlding walks us through his process image-by-image.
I was inspired to create this project back in 2005 when I was in graduate school while riding around in a friend’s car who had one of those golf ball–sized crystal balls hanging from their rear-view mirror. As we cornered, accelerated or stopped, the ball would swing through various arcs and I was kind of mesmerized by the motion. I wondered how could I capture these forces acting on the vehicle to make a drawing. I started using a large cardboard tube with some paper taped to the inside surface and I placed some little balls of charcoal and pastels in the tube and drove around. The results were not that impressive, and I knew that I could do better. Then I tried a ball bearing and some transfer paper in a small wooden frame. That didn’t work at all—the ball bearing was too light to make a mark. I was considering a bowling ball, but luckily a friend suggested a shotput and that did the trick! Here is my process now—using a wooden frame that is shaped to the contours of my truck bed and a sheet of countertop laminate as my plate. I traced the shape to make the plate and the paper fit as close to the shape of the truck bed as possible.
Step 1: Inking the plate
Step 2: Place the paper on the plate
Step 3: Load the wooden frame into the bed of the truck
The frame is HEAVY! I tried to make it as light as possible but having a 16-pound ball of steel rolling around requires pretty sturdy construction.
Step 4: Placing the plate into the frame
Step 5: Add the shotput! (I never get used to the sound it makes as it rolls around)
I used window seal strips to make a little bumper to help absorb the shock of the ball
Step 6: Is the most important step, securing the lid!
Step 7: Remove the print from the plate
Step 8: Add the title—I name the piece after the route I drove that day.
Finished drawings look like this:
Three weekends ago we drove to the summit of Mauna Kea but got caught in a rainstorm on the way home so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the paper dries flat enough to use. We’ll see!