Nicholas Fraser

The Blog

The holes are ready for poles...

Deb Unger's always helpful crew helped Rob Swainston and I dig the holes for the 24' wood poles that were scheduled to arrive the next day. The very chill and friendly Peter used a mini excavator to dig my two, which needed a pretty large hole to accomodate the 30" sonotube concrete form, all 6 feet of it. Much broken crockery was found (all this land is landfill I'm told), institutional stuff from the 30's. Here's some process shots:

12' sonotube arriving in the trusty Tacoma...

my own mini Michael Heizer...

Rob shovelling dirt with Peter in the Machine


Next Up: the poles!

Fabrication Completed

All the casting, mold making, welding and wood working culminated this last weekend with the assembly of the final arrow-shaped sign of cedar, steel and birdseed. The follow are some in process shots:


The very first one!





Loading my trusty little Tacoma for the ride to Randalls

That's only 8 of 16. The other set is already on the island, waiting to be installed...

Excerpt on All Consuming progress from recent interim report to RIPA

As April draws to a close, here's where things stand:

Arrow Frames:

I just completed a 10 day trip/mini-residency at Sculpture Space in Utica to fabricate the 16 arrow frames that will hold the birdseed letters of All Consuming. In those long uninterrupted days I built, primed and drilled 16 steel tubing frames. I also built and painted 32 cedar frames with 1" steel mesh insets. I also fabbed a jig for the drilling of holes in the two wood poles (keeping the spacing consistent and the holes parallel is critical)

I loaded about half of these frames in my pick-up for the return trip and go back up to Utica this weekend for the rest.

Birdseed Letters:

The larger seed letters (the ones spelling the city names) have all been cast. This involved cutting wood forms of the letters and building a simple vacuum form box to make plastic molds from the wood forms. Once these molds were ready, I spent a week mixing seed with gelatin and corn syrup and filling the molds over and over unit I had everything needed.

I'll be cutting the smaller letters this weekend, making plastic molds and mixing seed again for the rest.

Progress Report: April 13th

With about 7 weeks until FLOW15 opens, things are progressing on many fronts. 

FIRST: I'm nearing completion of casting the city names in 1" thick and 8" high letters made of birdseed, gelatin and corn syrup (non-high-fructose variety). 142 characters in all, with 6 additional letters spelling the name NIMRUD, which is an ancient city in Iraq near Mosul. I may include NIMRUD as it's ruins are currently under attack from the barbaric miscreants of ISIS and I want the work to be timely and of the moment.

Here's a few process images from the casting process, which is very lo-tech. Heat water, add gelatin and corn syrup. Stir into seeds. Mash seeds into molds. Let set and remove to dry. So simple, your three-year old could do it.

SECOND: My fellow FLOW artist Rob Swainston is helping me cut the letters for the small characters on his CNC machine. After cutting one test, I realized the 4" height was too small to be easily visible. So I'm increasing the size to 6" and making the arrow-frames slightly larger to accommodate this increase. Here's a sketch showing this larger size:

The Artist

Nicholas Fraser(b. 1969, Lakenheath, United Kingdom)

Nicholas Fraser's projects combine and recast texts and phrases from sources elevated and mundane. He explores our compulsion to communicate and the gap between what we intend to say and what's expressed. Often site specific and highly ephemeral, his work draws connections between histories and issues of the moment, making us aware of our position in a wider continuum.

Fraser began filming storefronts in 2010 for the ongoing project Fronts, collecting a comprehensive video-based, web accessible lexicon that also functions as a manifold portrait of contemporary street-scapes. He earned his BFA at the Atlanta College of Art (1995) and his MFA at SVA (2008).

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