Wearable Art – L.E.S. Skatepark

When visiting the L.E.S. Skatepark for the first time, I felt like an outsider to a niche subculture of skaters. Skaters often seemed to isolate themselves from others when they were skating. At the same time, other skaters also seemed to use skating to bond and had conversations with friends

The environment made me think of these words:

  1. Loud
  2. Grungy
  3. Welcoming
  4. Closed-Off
  5. Dirty
  6. Dangerous
  7. Grey
  8. Dull
  9. Vibrant
  10. Mixture

When planning my wearable art project, I thought of creating a piece that incorporated a feature of the park that stood out: the sound. This skatepark is one of the only ones I’m aware of that resides underneath a road. The subway rattling constantly overhead and the sounds of grinding skateboards creates a very auditorily busy environment. I wanted to draw from this, creating a piece that resides near the ear and thus affects the wearer’s experience with the piece.

I was also inspired by the fencing. The entire skatepark was surrounded by a tall chainlink fence. This repetition of the chainlink pattern and involvement of metals against the concrete backdrop was intriguing. I wanted to incorporate this metal aspect into my piece, inspired to use paperclips to echo the interlocking chainlink repetition.

The first iteration of my design was comprised entirely of these paperclips, as pictured above. When deciding to develop this idea into a piece, I logistically didn’t think the paperclips would create enough of a structure on their own. I changed my idea to have a structured piece around the ear and involve paperclips hanging, in order to still get across my concept of using the hanging pieces to create sound for the wearer.

After creating my maquette, it came to my attention how cardboard would really look. I took the advice to create the body out of wire. This would prove to be a more difficult process, but it would be visually rewarding.

At Material ConneXions, I found some materials that weaved to create strong abstract structures, like the one pictured above. My original sketch showed more of a ‘wrapping’ technique, however, when I started to work with the wire, I realized it was closer to weaving or sewing. I found an interesting pattern that was relatively simple to do and created the bodies of the two main structures of my piece with this technique.

I think my presentation with Katherine and Raun came together very nicely. We all were able to speak on our experiences of the L.E.S. Skatepark and it was interesting to see the variation in our outcomes. I think my presentation spoke to how I grew to view the skatepark differently as I visited several times following the initial visit. I was able to speak to individuals at the park and get to know the variety of personalities present. Many people arrived just to skate. To take themselves out of their daily life and have a moment with themselves and their board. I was able to express this through my earpiece and get this message across, which differed from Katherine and Raun’s interpretations of the space.

I am satisfied with my final piece. It is a sturdy yet delicate structure and conveys what I took away from the space. The difficulties in craftsmanship turned out to create a beautiful structure. The lines and organic shape give the piece motion and variety, and visually, it is a very interesting piece. This was truly my first experience working with wire, and though it was difficult, I enjoyed figuring out how to maneuver it.

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