I’m a kinetic sculptor specializing in mobiles. I make handmade mobiles, large custom-made mobiles, 3D printed mobiles and kinetic sculptures. Most of the time I’m busy with making large custom-made mobiles (please contact me for one if you’re interested). In between projects, I sell ready-to-ship mobiles through my Etsy shop from time to time. The 3D printed mobiles are always available through Shapeways (the 3D printing service that I use). Please let me know if you have questions or comments.
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ACRYLIC GLASS MOBILES:
LARGE CUSTOM-MADE MOBILES:
3D PRINTED MOBILES:
EARLY WIRE MOBILES:
Wondering what these things are you’re looking at? They are mobiles, as in art, a type of sculpture based on balance and characterized by the ability to move when propelled by air currents, by touch, or by a small motor at any one time. The most striking feature of the mobile is that, unlike traditional sculpture, it achieves its artistic effect through movement; it is the most familiar form of kinetic art, which requires movement of some kind.
A typical mobile consists of a group of shapes, frequently abstract, that are connected by wires, string (often nylon thread), metal rods, hollow aluminum tubes, swivels or the like. The shapes are usually made of sheet metal, wood, plastic, glass, acrylic glass (plexi glass), foam, paper, or aluminum honeycomb panels. Although mobiles are usually suspended (often hanging from a ceiling), some are designed to stand on the ground or a platform, and are sometimes mistakenly labeled as “stabiles”. Stabiles, a term coined by Jean Arp, are large scale stationary abstract sculptures developed by Alexander Calder, usually made of bolted metal plates, that have contributed significantly to the concept of public art. All mobiles, hanging or standing, are a genre of kinetic sculptures, the term “kinetic” meaning “moving” or “in motion”.
Suspended kinetic sculptures have probably been around since prehistoric times in the form of wind chimes. Evidence of them has been found that proves they existed in ancient China, Japan and Rome. There are traditional mobiles made of straw called “Himmeli” from Finland and Sweden and I’ve come across a mobile made in 1751. The Russian artists Naum Gabo, Aleksandr Rodchenko and Vladimir Tatlin are credited with experimenting with hanging kinetic sculptures as an art form first in the late 1910s. Man Ray made the first mobile out of coat hangers in 1920 that’s based on the whippletree mechanism. He also experimented with hanging abstract pieces of sheet metal. Bruno Munari started to create is own early version of mobiles in the late 1920s which he called “Useless Machines”. However, mobiles, the way we know them today as a modern art form, were mostly developed by the American sculptor Alexander Calder (influenced by the abstract work of Piet Mondrian, Joan Miró and Sophie Taeuber-Arp) beginning in the 1930s. In a 1962 interview he said: “The mobiles started when I went to see Mondrian [in October 1930]. I was impressed by several colored rectangles he had on the wall. Shortly after that I made some mobiles; Mondrian claimed his paintings were faster than my mobiles.” The name “mobile”, a French pun meaning both “mobile” and “motive”, was given to them by the artist Marcel Duchamp, a friend of Calder’s, although he apparently already used the term in 1913 for his readymade Bicycle Wheel, which some consider to be the first kinetic sculpture. Also see my History of Mobiles.