Studio Newsletter: September 2016

My new large-scale mobile Aeriform Dwelling will be part of Connect & Collect: The 36th Annual Art Exhibition and Auction at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, September 24 - October 22. The piece will be available for auction at the end of the month-long exhibition. The exhibition will kick off with an Opening Reception honoring the 200 artists that were invited to participate on Sunday, October 2, 1-4pm, please join me! I am honored to exhibit my work alongside fellow Bay Area-based artists including Naomie Kremer, Hung Liu, Jim Campbell, Guston Abright and Kate Rhodes, among many others. 

Please join me at the opening to view my new work, a mobile inspired by Aeriform Aviary, which is currently on view in Terminal 3 at SFO. 


Located in Compass Books in terminal 3 of the San Francisco International Airport, Aeriform Aviary is a 20+ foot hanging mobile sculpture that features highly detailed geometric wire-frame "planes" inspired by the forms of birds native to California, including the hummingbird, owl, raven, falcon, quail and pelican. Each "plane" is designed to recall early flying-machine prototypes. 

Watch a time-lapsed video about the making of Aeriform Aviary


Located in Compass Books in terminal 3 of the San Francisco International Airport, Aeriform Aviary is a 20+ foot hanging mobile sculpture that features highly detailed geometric wire-frame "planes" inspired by the forms of birds native to California, including the hummingbird, owl, raven, falcon, quail and pelican. Each "plane" is designed to recall early flying-machine prototypes. 

Watch a time-lapsed video about the making of Aeriform Aviary

Thank You, Weston!

The end of August brought a close to Weston Borosky's summer apprenticeship. Over the summer the awesomely talented and motivated Weston has been fearlessly tackling projects and expanding his skill set. He is now charging into his junior year of Industrial Design at the California College of the Arts...and they better be ready, I've taught him almost of all of my tricks and he is fired up! With his help over summer, we got a huge amount of work done on a range of projects, including my main squeeze Love, Inertia, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Stance, that's getting closer then ever. Thank you Weston for all the effort and hustle. It's been a real pleasure working with you in the studio!

Studio Newsletter: August 2016

5 hr Sculpture_photo by Airyka Rockefeller_2016-21.jpg

On July 22nd, I had the pleasure of creating a large, temporary and site-specific sculpture entitled Sunshine Snarl, made out of 3,000 feet of glow-in-the-dark rope, for the 5 Hour Pop-Up Sculpture event at Montalvo Art Center. The event was packed with people as an amazing group of artists created and performed engaging works throughout the villa grounds. Sunshine Snarl is the third iteration of this playful process, the first of which, Honey Tangle, created in 2015, is on view indefinitely at Villa Montalvo as part of their Art on the Grounds collection. With these pieces I intentionally depart from my usual way of working, a practice which consists of methodical planning and precision that requires powered machines. I jump right in, twisting and tangling construction grade cordage into free-form and visually complex sculptures that reframe the landscape on which they are dependent. As the sun set,Sunshine Snarl began to glow and took on an entirely different and surprising presence. Thanks to everyone who made it out for the event. For those who weren't able to see Sunshine Snarl, visit my website to learn more.


Escape Vehicle was created out of found desk parts that I collected during my time as a student at California College for the Arts (CCA). While at CCA I used Escape Vehicle as my desk in various furniture classes on the San Francisco campus, driving it from room to room and parking it where I wanted to sit. The piece is made to be a literal embodiment of all the daydreaming I was doing while in art school. When creating the piece I was thinking about the subtleties of steering geometry, including caster, camber and “ackerman” turning radii. The front edge of the desk serves as a steering wheel and the operators propel themselves by pushing forward the back wheels, similar to a wheelchair. The use of the sculpture around campus unexpectedly highlighted some accessibility issues around the campus architecture.

Studio Newsletter: July 2016

On July 22 I will be participating in Montalvo's 5 Hour Pop-Up Sculpture event with ten other artists; Andrea Blum, Zoltan DiBartolo, Rodney Ewing, Kija Lucas, Monica Lundy, Chelsea Pegram, Kate Rannells and Terese Taylor as part of the artist group the Art Escapists. Join us at Montalvo to watch our sculpture come together and to enjoy Montalvo's grounds for the evening with food trucks, music and art. For more information, visit the event's website. I hope to see you there!

Rock the Garden gets a shout out on Congratulations Pine TreeListen here


Steady progress continues on Love, Inertia, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Stance. Weston (my awesome apprentice) and I are busy chipping away at the mighty to-do list, prioritizing parts related to the drive train: fuel, air, wiring, and cooling systems. There is no instruction manual for integrating all that is going into this frankenstein, so we continue on with a cocktail of elaborate mockups, internet forum research, precious advice from expert friends, and wild guesses.

Follow my daily progress on Instagram @shawnhibmacronan

Studio Newsletter: June 2016

Montalvo Arts Center 5 Hour Pop-Up Sculpture Friday, July 22, 5pm-10pm

Montalvo Arts Center
5 Hour Pop-Up Sculpture
Friday, July 22, 5pm-10pm

On July 22 I will be participating in Montalvo's 5 Hour Pop-Up Sculpture event with ten other artists; Andrea Blum, Zoltan DiBartolo, Rodney Ewing, Kija Lucas, Monica Lundy, Chelsea Pegram, Kate Rannells and Terese Taylor as part of the artist group the Art Escapists. Join us at Montalvo to watch our sculpture come together and to enjoy Montalvo's grounds for the evening. For more information, visit the event's website

About the Art Escapists: "Contemporary artists making art in nature. While our concept is rooted in the tradition of plein air, our techniques are not."


Headlands Center for the Arts
Art Auction Benefit

I had the pleasure of presenting my ongoing sculpture Love, Inertia and the Pursuit of the Perfect Stanceat the Headlands Center for the Arts Benefit Art Auction on June 1. Thanks to everyone who attended!

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Michael Cronan Legacy at CCA

Over the past three years, many people have asked about ways to continue my father Michael Cronan's legacy.

My family and I are happy to say that a new endowed scholarship has been started in Michael's name at California College of the Arts. A former employee from Cronan Design, Michael Borosky, and his wife Tammy, have begun a multi-year pledge in his honor that can be accelerated by additional donations. The scholarship will benefit a deserving student who we believe to embody the skills and curiosity that made Michael such a unique talent.

If you, or someone you know, are interested in making a tax deductible donation or learning more, please contact: Brooke Hendrickson, 510.594.3613, bhendrickson@cca.edu, CCA Associate Vice President of Advancement, 5212 Broadway Terrace, Oakland, CA 94618.

Or contribute online and note, “Michael Patrick Cronan Scholarship” in the comments field. We'll keep you updated on the scholarship.  Thank you so much, and thank you Michael and Tammy!


Studio Music

Can’t make good work to bad music... Over the past couple years I’ve been building and fine tuning a playlist of goodness. I listen to it loud and add things daily. It's currently close to 400 songs and hugely varied. People have been asking about it so I’ve made it public. Check out my playlist Cave Dweller on Spotify! Please send your music recommendations or playlists my way!


Welcome, Weston Borosky!

This summer I am lucky to have CCA student extraordinaire, Weston Borosky, as an apprentice in the studio. He will be assisting me in the final stages of completing Love, Inertia, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Stance in preparation for upcoming exhibition events in 2017! Watch out for this guy, he’s real good.

Studio Newsletter: May 2016

Headlands Center for the Arts
at Fort Mason Center, June 1
 

On June 1st I will be exhibiting Love, Inertia and the Pursuit of the Perfect Stance at Fort Mason Center for the Headlands Center for the Arts 2016 Benefit Auction. As I approach the completion of the piece, I am thrilled to be presenting the van in public for the first time in over a year. Check out my January blog post to see my progress in 2016! Stay tuned for upcoming performance dates in the Bay Area!

The auction is a ticketed event that benefits the incredible programs at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Purchase tickets and learn more about the event on the Headlands website below. I hope to see you there!


Art Escapists: Honey Tangle 2

I had the pleasure of hosting the Art Escapists at my Alameda studio in April. I took the opportunity to make a large process-based installation piece on the roof. In contrast to my usual approach, my goal was to work quickly and without a plan, no measurements or calculation, purely responding to the immediate environment and rolling with the punches. The product of the day's effort was a tangled web of golden day-glow cord, great for naps or taking in the view. The piece was inspired by a similar installation I did for Montalvo Arts Center's Art on the Grounds

About the Art Escapists: "Contemporary artists making art in nature. While our concept is rooted in the tradition of plein air, our techniques are not."


The Angler
2010, Wood, Steel and Cast iron


In 2010 I built Angler as part of a vehicle series that includes Air Ride ChairEscape VehicleToolbarrow,Lois FrostPerch, and The Van. Each sculpture explores a specific function and movement dictated by the operator. 

With a symbolic lightbulb overhead, Angler is both the hunter, luring in ideas and creativity as prey, and the obedient mule following a "carrot" on a stick.  The operator sits nestled between wood-treaded tracks and has control of a worm gear driven by a hand winch that can cast out the "bait."
 Inquire for availability


Art Escapists: April 3

Had the pleasure of hosting the Art Escapists at my the studio in Alameda. About them: "Contemporary artists making art in nature. While our concept is rooted in the tradition of plein air, our techniques are not. We are the Art Escapists." I took the opportunity to make a huge process-based installation piece on the roof. In contrast to my usual approach, my goal was to work quickly and without a plan, no measurements or calculation, purely responding to the immediate environment and rolling with the punches. The product of yesterday's effort: a tangled web of golden day-glow cord, great for naps or taking in the view. #honeytangle #artescapists #shawnhibmacronan

Studio Newsletter: April

I have installed a number of Hummingbird sculptures in a garden wall as part of the entrance to the new restaurant marketplace at 1500 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Walnut Creek. The sculptures are from a series based on the two hummingbirds featured on the 20+ foot hanging mobile sculpture, Aeriform Aviary, a commission that I recently installed at Compass Books, Inc. in Terminal 3 at the San Francisco International Airport. A very limited number of hummingbirds from the series are available for purchase. Contact me for availability. 

The space will open to the public soon, featuring a number of new restaurants. Learn more about 1500 Mt. Diablo in a recent article in Diablo Magazine.


This month I had the pleasure of hosting the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art's Collectors Circle for a private tour followed by nearly 100 of you for my first open studio of 2016! Thank you to everyone who was able to attend! Check out pictures from both days on my blog and stay tuned for news about future dates. See you at the next one!

If you would like to schedule a private studio visit, please contact me for availability. 


Progress continues on Love, Inertia and the Pursuit of the Perfect Stance. Checking off items from the 1000 little things left to do. Follow my progress on Instagram. 


Commissioned in 2014, Boiler Heart is a sculpture built from the building's original boiler from 1907. Located at 460 Bryant Street in San Francisco, the piece is on permanent view to reference the heart of the historical building, complete with glowing lights that "beat" 24/7.Boiler Heart can be viewed by the public during business hours. 

View before and after pictures of Boiler Heart on my website. 


The hot-dip galvanize finish on the Facet Form bench I created last year for a private commission is graying out beautifully and just as I hoped. Camouflaging itself more and more over time.

Studio Visits: March 12 & 13

To all those who ventured out in the rain to make it to the open studio yesterday, I can't thank you enough. Yesterday was an amazing reminder of why I do what I do. The buzz in the air of layered conversations warmed the building up in no time. I met many new faces, sold sculpture, thought of new ideas to pursue, and caught up with old friends. Best open studio yet. 🎉 Until the next one... Want to come? Sign up for the newsletter by clicking on "contact" in the left side bar. Keep an eye out for event announcements and make sure to RSVP. Thanks to Gilbert Vendryes, David Asari and Karin Hibma for the pictures. 

Studio Newsletter: March

Open Studio and Gallery Reveal
Alameda Naval Air Base
RSVP by March 10


You are invited for an evening at my studio on Sunday, March 13, 4-7pm. I will be revealing my new studio gallery and will feature new and old favorite pieces. Works will be available for sale. Come and adopt one… Please RSVP by March 10 for details. Bring a friend. Drinks and small bites will be served.


Toolbarrow
2007Maple, brass, tools, 4 x 4 x 4 feet
Details and availability

Toolbarrow is my concept of a cabinet of curiosities intended for the modern day craftsperson. Over the years I’ve sought out specific tools from various people and places, most of which are so antiquated that their use is now mysterious and almost entirely lost on my generation. Referencing the craftsperson’s traditional hand-made toolbox and the wheelbarrow, a typically unappreciated yet time-tested workhorse of construction, this sculpture provides an alternative design by integrating the unconventional and flashy “bling” associated with contemporary custom car culture. Though eccentrically made of ornamentally patterned curly maple and a 100 brass spoked low-rider wheel with a coopered wooden rim, Toolbarrow is as oddly functional as the tool collection it contains.


Working with Mix'd Ingrdnts

In February I fabricated a stage sculpture for the Oakland-based female dance group Mix’d Ingrdnts. The piece debuted in their performance  In Between the Seams this weekend at the Laney College Theatre in Oakland. Learn aboutMix'd Ingrdnts by watching this recent KQEDfeature  and by visiting their website. 


Homeless Homes Pop-Up Build

This past weekend I had the pleasure of volunteering with over 100 people to help build movable tiny homes for people in need with theHomeless Homes Pop-Up Build group, organized by Greg Kloehn and Vanesa Dževdetbegović.Learn more and donate to this cause.

CBS San Francisco Bay Area, Volunteers Building Tiny Homes for the Homeless (video), By John Ramos

2015 in Review: Love, Inertia and the Pursuit of the Perfect Stance

This year has made for some really exciting progress on Love, Inertia and the Pursuit of the Perfect Stancemy ongoing project to create a large scale street legal sculpture. Efforts have shifted from broad strokes on the exterior to dialing in and fine tuning the interior, the “cockpit”. Careful consideration for ergonomics and “user experience” have been taken. Now, with the main interior elements in place, the efforts have come full circle to where we are now; “connecting the mechanical dots” via linkages and plumbing (air/coolant/fuel/brakes) enabling each mechanical component to execute it’s function properly. More to come over the next few months as I wire, plumb, troubleshoot, and attempt to test drive this old soul.


November Newsletter

Aeriform Aviary
Compass Books, Inc., Terminal 3
San Francisco International Airport

I am happy to announce that I have installed my second commission for Compass Books this week in the newly renovated Terminal 3 at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Aeirform Aviary is a 20+ foot hanging mobile sculpture that features highly detailed geometric wire-frame "planes" inspired by the forms of birds native to California, including a pelican, owl, raven, falcon, quail and a pair of hummingbirds. Each "plane" is designed to recall early flying-machine prototypes. Visit this piece the next time you fly out of Terminal 3 at SFO and tag me in your pictures on social media with #AeriformAviary.


KTVU Fox News

During the installation of my new sculptureAeriform Aviary last week at Compass Books, I was interviewed by Tom Vacar of KTVU Fox News for a preview of the newly renovated Terminal 3 at SFO. 


Feature on Taylor Stitch

This month I had the pleasure of hosting Mike from the clothing company Taylor Stitch at my studio. I got to put their new Task Jacket to the test and they captured some great photos of my new commission for Compass Books and of my ongoing project Love, Inertia and the Pursuit of the Perfect Stance


Montalvo Arts Center Blog

Associate Curator at Montalvo Arts Center, Donna Conwell, wrote a thoughtful account of their recent event Pop Uo Plein Air: Art EscapistsI created Honey Tangle, a large scale, free form sculpture for the event. Read Donna's blog post for the locations of the works that are now on view at Montalvo!

Feature on Taylor Stitch

This month I had the pleasure of hosting Mike from the clothing company Taylor Stitch at my studio. I got to put their new Task Jacket to the test and they captured some great photos of my new commission for Compass Books and of my ongoing project Love, Inertia and the Pursuit of the Perfect Stance


Update: September 2013

Love, Inertia, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Stance: September 3, 2013

Since I last wrote, much has happen to this Old Soul.

I was asked to show the Econoline at the Oakland Museum of California for the finale of their We/Customize show. It was a pleasure to show my work alongside a couple of extraordinary and traditional lowriders from the Bay Area's Padrinos Car Club. Such BEAUTIFUL cars and great guys who loved the Econoline; shaking my hand when they learned that I did the work myself. The event was a great opportunity to invite the friends, fans, and Kickstarters to come see a preview of the work in progress. It was great to hear feedback and field questions. I was completely surprised and honored by how far some fans traveled just to speak with me about the project and get a look at the vehicle in person. 

Another exciting thing to report; I was contacted by ABC7 News to do an interview for a segment about how artists are using the internet to find success. I spoke about the project and my experience with Kickstarter. Click here to watch

Below are the details of what's been done to the vehicle since I last wrote. Forgive the deep automotive particulars, if it's not your cup of tea. In this project no corners have been cut, and nothing will be glossed-over. As in all my work, attention to detail and the craft are critical. I've been delving into every small challenge; addressing each like a work of art. 

In the last update I was so thrilled to report that we acquired an ideal engine and transmission combination: a VW TDI motor connected via an adaptor to a good old Toyota transmission. Since then I've carefully positioned this unlikely match into the vehcile's frame in a way that brings a smile to my face every time I see it. Ample space and visibility around the components will make later adjustments and repair a pleasure. Shifting the motor back and down from the original motor position will help to even out the weight while bringing the vehicle's center of gravity substantially closer to the earth. This will make for much improved handling when the vehicle is rolling at ride height. 

The Econoline is a forward-controlled vehicle, meaning the driver sits directly over the front wheels. This makes the design of the front wheel tubs critical, not only do they protect the vehicle from debris, they also need to serve as a sturdy surface to attach driver and passenger seats. Complicating this further is the extremely low stance of the vehicle, which requires the wheels to tuck up into the vehicle much higher then the original wheel tubs would allow; interfering with the doors and window glass. To figure this out was a bear of a job but, when all was said and done, the result is completely functional and far more aesthetically pleasing than I'd hoped. 

The next logical place to focus was on the design of the "cockpit" (Thanks Russ!). So I began to determine the exact placement of the various functional components that make for an enjoyable driving experience. I made a steering wheel mount that is tilt-able and installed a beautiful extra-wide powering steering unit custom made for the project by Flaming River Industries. I was then faced with another issue that arises with the Econoline being a forward control vehicle; the indirect path that the steering linkage must travel to connect to the front wheels. 

After much trial and error I designed solution to overcome this obstacle. I built a right-angle steering box that mounts cleanly inside the front frame section right below the foot well. The added benefit of this design is that it enables me to offset the original steering shaft forward and left 5". I can then center my brake and gas pedals while providing much more foot-room to get in and out of the vehicle. Under the car, this steering offset provides far more room for the radiator and intercooler. Once the steering was fully assembled I was pleasantly surprised by how tight the steering felt. When turning the steering wheel there is zero slop and immediate wheel response. I then reinforced the dash with a horizontal bar and made it removable to make installing the gauges, computer, air switches, and the pedal assembly easier in the future. 

All 8 of the doors (including the newly spliced in ones) were remounted and trued. Each door, proudly wearing 50 years of life, needed plenty of loving mallet blows and tweaks to ensure proper latching, door gaps, and body lines. Many of the trim pieces were reformed to bring them back to life. Reinstalling the trim on the body will be a final step. 

A wonderful new air valve unit from Accuair was installed providing far superior control of the air suspension system. The best part is that the unit is so well made that it gives the vehicle an entirely new stunt to go along with it's repertoire, true to lowrider tradition; 3 wheel motion. If that means nothing to you, then let me break it down; It gives the vehicle the ability to lift a wheel nearly a foot off the ground, balancing on one front wheel and one opposite rear wheel. The best part is that the frame I built that runs throughout the vehicle doesn't flex a bit while under this increased strain. Awesome, and such fun to watch. 

Eastbound: 

Sometimes you just need to act on an opportunity when the time is right. I am heading to Brooklyn for a few months. For an artist NYC is a great place to make work and immerse in the art community. The Econoline and all its parts are carefully buttoned-up, and I've left the studio keys in the hands of a dear friend to watch over. It's interesting that so far being outside of my usual studio routine has provided valuable perspective and fresh ideas about the piece; along with time to research and sketch out the final details that will bring this project to its full potential. 

To all of you who are anxiously awaiting the unveiling of the piece, fear not; I have great things planned for early in the new year. 

Again, a huge thank you to all for the ongoing support and enthusiasm. 

Enjoy the pictures. Thank you Lea Bruno Photography

Update: March 2013

Odd Couple Organ Selection Makes For Unlikely Harmony

I'm well aware that an update of all that has evolved in the past month is overdue. My how time flies when you're having fun. 

There is something so gratifying in generating and finessing steel forms that bring together the custom-built tube frame and the original Ford body proudly wearing all 50 years of its life and use evident in its curves. In amongst a ton of research and part-hunting, some exciting progress has happened with the body. Somewhat reluctantly, I've begun to cover up these carefully-selected components with sheet steel panels. Starting with the rear wheel tubs and moving to the fronts, I've curved and fit crisp new 16 gauge "cold rolled" steel into place.  

Since I last wrote, we've sourced and acquired a truly unique (and international) drivetrain combination for this eager old soul. Purists, brace yourselves. 

The border-disregarding assembly begins with a modern Volkswagen Turbo Diesel motor mated to a good-ole Toyota truck transmission via a CNC-machined (and beautifully simple) adaptor. This highly fuel-efficient, yet wonderfully torquey powerhouse of a motor will eventually connect to the ground via a custom driveshaft then to a Nissan 300ZX rear suspension subframe. All of this, carefully wedged into the charmingly stubby 60's Ford Econoline body, floating low on airbags. 

In amongst a ton of research and part-hunting, some exciting progress has happened with the body. Somewhat reluctantly, I've begun to cover up these carefully-selected components with sheet steel panels. Starting with the rear wheel tubs and moving to the fronts, I've curved and fit crisp new 16 gauge "cold rolled" steel into place.  

Heavily influenced by consideration for the final interior experience, the extra bay doors added to the left side of the body not only add light and air, and lovely symmetry to the interior, but also increased ease of fabrication.