New Article I Wrote Is Featured on Houzz Today: “Art in Motion: The Story behind Mobiles”

Houzz is featuring a new article I wrote today: Art in Motion: The Story Behind Mobiles. It covers topics such as what mobiles are, the history of mobiles (including Alexander Calder of course), fine art mobiles, mobiles today, and how I became a professional mobile maker.

Image of Fine Art Mobiles Original Ceiling Sculptures Calder

- Read of my blog about mobiles -

Google’s Alexander Calder Doodle Mobile Wouldn’t Work in Reality

On July 22 2011, Google replaced their logo on their homepage worldwide with a doodle to celebrate Alexander Calder‘s 113th birthday:

Image of Alexander Calder Mobiles Google Doodle

The doodle was a Calder-style mobile that used HTML5 canvas which made it possible for people to interact with it and make it move. It ran a physics simulation on the mobile’s geometry and then did real-time 3D rendering with vector graphics. You can still view the doodle and try it out (and you should, it’s a lot of fun!) via the Google Doodles Archive.

As someone who has written code for 3d animations and scripts for 3d printed mobiles, I have a lot of admiration for the technical end of this doodle. But as a professional mobile maker, it can’t help to notice that apparently there wasn’t enough research done on how the balance structure of a mobile works. The mobile shown in the Google doodle would never work in reality. It has two completely unsupported sections:

Image of Alexander Calder Mobiles Google Doodle

And reconstructing the mobile in my CAD software and calculating the balance points, it turns out that a number of them are incorrect. Here’s where they should be instead:

Image of Alexander Calder Mobiles Google Doodle

If someone were to make this mobile, the lowest four parts of it could be fixed by adjusting the balance points to their correct positions. However, that wouldn’t be enough for everything from there on up. The unsupported arms would need to be redesigned first. So in that way, the above indicated balance point corrections in the upper part of the mobile don’t really mean anything. Structural changes would have to be made first.

- Read of my blog about mobiles -

3D Printed Mobile 1 now available in 9 different colors

Our little 3D Printed Mobile 1 is now available in 9 different colors (yellow, green and orange are newly added). Today is the last day to order them if you’d like to receive them by Dec. 24th. $9 to $11 each depending on color:

Image of 3D Printing Art Artist Sculptures

- See our other 3D Printed Mobiles -

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New Article on Houzz: “A Top Mobile Designer Shows How to Create a Calder-Inspired Mobile”

I wrote a new article for Houzz: “From the Artist: How to Make a Real Mobile – It’s all in the balancing points: A top mobile designer shows how to create a Calder-inspired installation of your own“. It explains how to make a “real” mobile, meaning one in which the balance of the different parts depend on each other, which results in much more interesting dynamics than if you just tie a number of objects to a coat hanger or a horizontal circle.

None of the how-to articles that I’ve come across explain how the balance structure of a real mobile works in simple terms. This article provides you with a sort of blueprint for mobiles. Once you have that, you can apply it using any materials, whether those are just some random objects you find around your house, objects specific to a season or a holiday, or some mid-century modern shapes.

Read it, experiment and have fun!

Image of Make Calder Artist Inspired Mobiles

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Calder at Art Basel Miami Beach – Mobiles Constitute a Trend

Today at Art Basel Miami Beach, Leonardo DiCaprio also came to buy. As the dealer David Nahmad stood in front of an Alexander Calder mobile at Helly Nahmad Gallery, the heavily bearded actor approached him and asked, “I need your advice on a Picasso drawing,” and the two walked to a rival’s booth. The Calder mobile they stood in front of, pictured below, is Rouge Triomphant, ca. 1959–63, measuring 110 × 230 × 180 in / 279 x 584 x 457cm (“bigger than a taco truck” according to the Wall Street Journal), which sold for US$9.7m just two years ago at Christie’s and is now priced at US$35m (As of Friday, a collector has reportedly reserved it).

Photo of Large Orginial Calder Mobile for Sale

Article “Upwardly Mobile” in The Art Newspaper: “Mobiles definitely constitute a trend at Art Basel Miami Beach, with organizers seeing an increase in the number of galleries installing hanging works … The number of mobiles is striking.”

Photo of Xin Li with Calder Mobile for sale

Xin Li (see this and this), deputy chairman of Christie’s Asia, with Rouge Triomphant at Art Basel Miami Beach, played a very significant part in selling Calder’s mobile Poisson volant (Flying Fish) (1957) for a record-breaking US$25m in May of this year.

Also at Art Basel Miami Beach:

Photo of Small Orginial Calder Mobile for Sale

Photo of Alexander Calder Mobile for sale at Art Basel Miami Beach

See Calder Foundation President Sandy Rower’s Top 5 Picks at Art Basel Miami Beach 2014

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© 2015 Marco Mahler