It was a real pleasure to speak of the amazing group of pilots known as SCUL. I went over the influences, history, and philosophy evolving over the nineteen seasons of hundreds of epic adventures. Photos by Ben Holmes.
Back in August I gave a talk at 13 Forest Gallery about my childhood, starting and growing a bicycle chopper gang, and the evolution of the Astrobot as a species designed to live through the ages. It was a real pleasure to have such an engaging and provocative dialogue with the folks who came to[…]
Past Talk: The Evolution of a Bicycle Chopper Gang: Leadership, Management, and Teamwork for Fun on a Saturday Night
Wednesday September 23rd, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Artisan’s Asylum 10 Tyler Street, Somerville MA When I started a bicycle chopper gang nineteen years ago, I had no idea it would become anything more than a light hobby. As SCUL approaches its twentieth orbit, it’s time to look back and reflect on how we have evolved into an important part of this incredible culture[…]
I have the honor of teaching at the NuVu school in Cambridge for ten days starting next week: young students are going to make rolling musical instruments out of bicycles. I’m excited to see what thy come up with. But before we begin, I must learn how to weld all over again.
Tomorrow I go in for the first session of my dental surgery funded by the community. After hearing a few people say they had similar procedures and how brave I was for doing this, I must admit I began to feel nervous, but the feeling was brief. I’ve endured two separate five-hour tattoo sessions without anesthesia, so[…]
The fundraiser for my teeth has been life-changing and it hasn’t really even started in some ways. In the last six moths I have visited three different dental teams in eight visits. I have had molds made from impressions, x-rays, and a 3-D image of my skull to see where we can anchor things. Six[…]
I have a lot more experience with photography than I do with video, and while the two can be certainly associated, video has been a bit more of a learning curve.
Now that this season’s round of the Independent Film Festival Trophies are complete, and after a few hours of sorting donated metal, I’m onto something new. For years off and on I had been asking weld shops for retired tanks, but without much luck; so when Derek from the Artisan’s Asylum donated four spent SCUBA tanks I was ready to build something I’ve[…]
The fundraiser to help me out with my teeth has gained even more momentum: Steve Annear from the Boston Globe came along on a SCUL mission to get a sense of what the community I belong to.
There’s a GoFundMe campaign to save my teeth. Here is the story of how my smile got to be as it is today.
Jacob Larocca and Robert Masek from A Maker Tale got me to sit still for an hour to talk about bikes, art, making, managing, and foolish endeavors.
Living in New England means adapting your schedule to the weather. We’ve had a couple of back-to-back heavy-duty snow storms, and as a result my TIG welding class was postponed. Luckily I have Fang the snow bike: an old Schwinn Cruiser equipped with studded ice tires, a super low gear ratio, a big basket for ballast,[…]
Back in May the friendly neighborhood chopper gang infamously known as SCUL received a transmission from Soniya Tejwani, the Museum Educator at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, inviting us to participate in event called B.Y.O.B. or Bring Your Own Bike night, on May 15th from 6-9 p.m. While typically we ride on Saturnights,[…]
As some of you may have heard, I’m transforming the upper-half of my studio space at the Artisan’s Asylum in to a microgallery: to be called the Ready Room. Please join me in celebrating my new level of commitment towards sculpture and art in a celebration, and see my newest never-before seen works. Warning: this[…]
Motherboard September 3, 2014 // 05:00 PM EST It’s 2:00 AM in the morning on a Sunday in Boston, and I’m watching a gang of bike hackers climb a 25-foot bandsaw once used to cut lumber for sailing vessels. We’re in a desolate section of the Charlestown Navy Yard, where the massive Tobin Bridge looms[…]
BDC Wire It’s just shy of 22:00 (or 10:00p.m. in civilian time) and Fort Tyler is humming. Pilots are running ships through pre-flight checks, the navigator and tail gunner are intently hunched over a large tactical map, and the flatscreen readout on the wall slowly ticks towards 22:15. “Launch T-Minus 00:14:30” it reads, in blocky[…]
Skunkadelic Astrobot #223 rolls off the one-hu-man assembly line.
SCUL one-inch refrigerator magnet buttons in an array of bright colors.
I discovered this unusual birthmark on roof of the mouth of my cat, Bootsy Tiberius Khan, only two days after I put him in the basket of my trusty bicycle pickup-truck (aka the Skunkamobile) to take him home from the shelter: yet this is the first time I’ve managed to be lucky to be holding[…]
Like plasma through the thrusters, so are the seasons of a SCUL pilot I’ve been designing and producing SCUL calendars annually since 1998, the first of which was inspired from a calendar I saw when I worked as a finisher at Merlin Metalworks in Cambridge, MA. This inspiring tapestry was a promotional calendar produced by President Titanium, which[…]
The story of MOBOT begins as a seed planted by a Gary Larsen cartoon: can you guess the one?
I haven’t owned a car since before Skunkadelia, sometime around late 1999. While almost all of my transportation is me-powered, my art is really heavy, so I’ve had to rent a car for larger shows. For many of the smaller shows I’m proud to say I’ve hauled several hundred pounds in a steamer trunk; sometimes[…]
This was the first show Skunk co-curated, or acted as curator in any way shape or form.
For several years I have had the honor of making the trophies for the winners of the Independent Film Festival. While I doubt anyone is shooting with film cameras anymore, I find that style of movie camera so iconic that I went with it anyway.
Tejas did a fantastic piece on SCUL for WERS 88.9 FM on Sunday, May 19th, 2013. Here’s the clip for the archives. “No, I’m from Iowa: I only work in outer space.” –Captain Kirk WERS Live stream.
I made a raygun!
http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/28/the-engadget-show-35-portland/ Scroll down a bit.
Vive la Somerville Open Studios! Somerville Open Studios is an event not to be missed. 401 artists in twelve hours? That gives you 1 minute, 47 seconds to see each artist. Good luck! No one hu-man can possibly see it all without the aid of time travel devices. If you don’t have one handy, check out[…]
art inspired by fictional characters Curated by Susan Berstler The Nave Gallery Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church 155 Powderhouse Blvd., Somerville, MA Exhibit dates: March 17-March 31, 2012 Opening Reception: Saturday, March 17th 3-6 pm
The 2nd Event in the Art of the UnGrand Series Mobius 55 Norfolk Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 Central Square, 2.5 blocks from the Central Square T stop (on the Red Line) an exhibition of Museum-quality heavy-duty TIG welded toys and sculpture made from recycled steel by Skunk
By James Foritano January and February 2012 volume 6 number 6 Your sober art reporter thought he escaped to Storyland upon entering the modestly scaled environs of Somerville’s Brickbottom Gallery to view “Toys and Games.” In through the front door, past the seating arrangement in the lobby, a sharp right and… there they all were.[…]
Making a proper mask is tricky. Here’s how I made mine. Choose your material wisely. I use scrap of bicycle inner tube, which is fitting for SCUL’s style of heroism. Cut the material for the mask into a long rectangular piece that’s long enough to wrap around your head, with extra for tying in a[…]
SCUL puts out a calendar every year. Many of the photos used in the calendar is shot during missions, however it’s helpful to shoot in a more ‘controlled’ environment.
Toady I hurt the ole’ pickup truck of a cruiser, the Nitty-Gritty Pretty City Kitty-Witty. This is the first time I’ve personally done this to a bike, but I’ve attempted four repairs of the same kind, and succeeded in the last three. I did manage to make it to my destination. Time to do a[…]
I’ve resisted posting a picture of my pet friend Nemo for as long as I could. He’s a Congo African Grey parrot. Yes, he talks. He says good morning when I wake up, goodbye when I leave, and hello when I return. He says ‘bicycle’ for food. Other sounds he’s repeated are “patina” (it’s a[…]
A few years ago I was lucky to get my hands on some leftover tubing samples from work. I made myself a bulletproof flask. I’m sure this thing is tough enough to survive being run over by an eighteen wheeler. The cap is made from a loose-bearing bottom bracket cup from a three-speed bicycle.[…]
I’ve been plying around with a serger. I got some XL sized thermals, and tailored them. Inspired by Hapto. I’m shooting for sci-fi military, with practicality and repeatability. I’m having a lot of luck with army surplus and standard-issue thermal stuff, then modifying it to give it flair. Each shirt will be a little different.[…]
Today Pywaket and I went out to My Aunt and Uncle’s house in Mendon to pick up an antique barber’s chair. I plan on making some modifications, unless I get an offer beforehand. Look out, collectors!
My friend Asher shared her pizza crust recipe with me years back, but I’m just now beginning to experiment with baking. It’s great getting sticky and covered in flour, and it’s not nearly as finicky as I suspected. I’m very pleased with the difference it’s made from using store-bought crusts. 2 cups flour + (one[…]
Trophies are custom made to order. $75 and up. depending on complexity and size.
I’m often reminded of how positive and Friendly the Boston Area really is, despite it’s cold reputation. I know Brent because I pester him at Bob Slate Stationary in Porter Square. Everyone in the store I have come into contact with has been friendly and sharp as a tack. Many have come in support to[…]
This is a new prototype for low power lightening field for a ship. 300 LEDs lasted the entire mission.
More like these.
Marlon and his new family, Leanne and Brendan.
Skunkadelia’s Prototype Poseable Articulated Metal Astrobots Not that long ago, about 3 in the morning, I jumped up from a near sleep with a Eureka moment. About a month earlier Self Destruct, a friend and fellow pilot, suggested I make my robots poseable for stop animation. I pictured purchasing ready-made stop motion sockets and trying[…]
As promised, here’s a look at the trophies commissioned for IFF Boston.
Some very early photos of a Proteus Class Astrobot.
The fine folks of IFF Boston commissioned me to make actor Kevin Kline his career achievement award.
Artists` Choice Exhibit – Somerville Museum Museum Events and Hours Stop by the Artist’s Choice Exhibit at the Somerville Museum for a chnce to preview the work of many SOS artists in a single location. With participating artists invited to submita one piece of their choosing, the show is ana enjoyable and convenient way to[…]
One of the el drivers shorted. Must have been that battle with the sarlac on tatooine.
Complete with secret key (pictured). Last season the ole’s Disko-Deth-Stah mast suffered from severe radiation exposure, and froze to one solid hunk of iron. Alphamission is upon us, so it’s scramble time until Sunday!
This photo was taken in December of 2008, when the robot traveled by T to Cathy’s office. Marisol thought the robot would be cold and she knit him a hat!
Here’s the link to the news story. I said “sexy oily bits” on NPR! Yay, me!
I… You… We… ROBOT! Space 242 242 E. Berkeley Street Boston, MA RSVP to get in January 29—February 19, 2010 Opening Reception Friday, January 29, 6—8p Artist talk Friday, February 19, 7—8p Gallery hours Fridays 6:30-8:30p, Saturdays 11a-12p & by appointment
Skunk creates a Missing Link, a fantastic creature made from old bicycle chain.
This morning was the installation of the SRS Redbone, at Redbones. Things went well, thanks to Rob Gregory and the ‘do-it-all-guy’, PJ.
Available custom made to order. Welded stainless steel bicycle spokes. I made this triptych for a SCUL couple marrying Saturday. I can make yours at this scale and complexity for $60, less if you want something simpler. I have lots of ideas that are more complex.
Leotard got the Iron Cog for the 2009 season. Hooray for Admiral Leotard! The Iron Cog Award is the highest honor you can receive in SCUL. It is typically given to only one pilot once per season. Each Iron Cog trophy is different. I try to make each trophy suit the pilot. Sometimes they spin[…]
It’s the last week of SCUL season, and there’s a lot to keep my busy. A great deal of it is classified, but I can talk about the two Maggot-dinners I’ve had. Maggot-dinners: sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? Quite the opposite. When someone would like to join SCUL, there is an induction period. They find[…]
A quick report. Saturday was good. MRC was very productive. DubbleU replaced the sonic disruptor dishes on Cloudbuster, and Treekiller upgraded the laser mounts for the Disco-Deth Stah. We also replaced some of the mast. Retard got Lazarus put back together again: no small feat considering it split in two mission before last! We had[…]
There’s more to making art than the obvious moment of creation. You need to mine and collect what you make things from. Supply run to Broadway Bicycle School! Hungry robots need metal, and B-Way’s the place to get it. It’s very helpful to have a bike shop like Broadway nearby for me to pick from[…]
This is one of those projects that sits for six months before starting, and then it only takes a day to execute. Leaves me wondering why I waited so long. It doesn’t look like much in the photograph, but in meat-space it’s mesmerizing. Six rechargeable LED tea lights independently spin and subtly illuminate the ceiling.[…]
This journal has been sporadically kept since 1985. I’ve been using a homegrown brand of runes to code it. There was a book making project at the Holliston High School art class, and we got extra credit if we illustrated it. I had just cracked the secret code on the inside flap of this book[…]
Yesterday I gave a talk on SCUL at Nubtalks, putting cool people in a room together since 2008. The talk was entitled: The Dirty Secrets of Miracles – What it takes to keep a bicycle-nerd-gang in the air.
The artist known as Skunk puts a new spin on old bicycle parts and odd bits of junk. By Joel Brown Globe Correspondent July 4, 2008 The Space 242 gallery in the South End was crowded with freeloaders last Friday, but there was no problem spotting the artist known as Skunk. He dressed like[…]
Skunk invents robo-art Luke O’Niel July 2008 Since the dawn of time, kids have longed for one thing: badass robots to come to life and be their friends. Until science figures that one out, we’ll settle for imagining adventures with the metallic sculptures by Somerville artist Skunk, many of which are made from discarded[…]
Sam Nejame Gallery 242 242 East Berkeley Street, Second Floor Boston June 27 through July 18 Many Bostonians know Skunk by sight. He is a man hard to forget. You may see him on his way to work perched on a tall bicycle constructed from two frames ingeniously welded together. And at night if[…]
The Mister Potato-Head of the future! A life-sized robot sculpture with re-arrangeable magnetic facial features. height: 66″ weight: 140 pounds $2,200
by Sarah Ligon December 2001 Captain’s Log, Star Date 11.03.01 mark 11 hours. Having found myself in uncharted territory, I latched on to a passing band of marauders who allowed me to accompany them on their own mission into the Cambridge System. Halfway into the mission, the group’s leader, Fleet Commander Skunk, set a[…]