Thursday, April 4, 2013


"If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration."

-Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), was the Croatian-born inventor and researcher who discovered the rotating magnetic field, the basis of most alternating-current machinery, the first of which he developed and built in 1883. He emigrated to the US in 1884, where he sold the patent rights to his system of alternating-current dynamos, transformers, and motors to George Westinghouse. This collaboration precipitated the titanic power struggle between the direct-current systems developed by Edison and the Tesla-Westinghouse alternating-current approach, which eventually won out.

In 1891, he invented the Tesla Coil, an induction coil widely used in radio technology. 

In Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he stayed from May 1899 until early 1900, Tesla made what he regarded as his most important discovery-- terrestrial stationary waves,  proving that the Earth could be used as a conductor and would be as responsive as a tuning fork to electrical vibrations of a certain frequency. He also lighted 200 lamps without wires from a distance of 25 miles and created man-made lightning, producing flashes measuring 135 feet.

 At one time he was certain he had received signals from another planet in his Colorado laboratory, a claim that was met with derision in some scientific journals.

Above is a proposal image for the 120 ft. long suspended sculpture Tesla which I recently completed at the Spokane Community College's new Technical Education Building.

I worked with the faculty, College representatives, and project managers to develop a unique artwork that responded to the activities inside the building (welding, electrical instruction etc), worked well architecturally, and engaged the curiosity and creativity of students, faculty, and visitors. The form of jumping electrical currents in forged aluminum was derived after many site visits, meetings, and a lot of daydreaming.

I was able to realize this enormous piece with the help and collaboration of my brilliant fabricator Dylan Anderson.

TESLA. 2011. Spokane Community College Vocational Technical Building; Spokane,  WA.  Aluminum (forged and anodized), copper.  22.5 ft x 119 ft x 10 ft. Commissioned by Washington State Arts Commission.  

*Thank you to Encyclopaedia Britannica for the historical information regarding Nikola Tesla.

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