Chelmsford High Grad Aims to Create Art, Care for Environment
Josh Shiau is a student at the Rhode Island School of Design and is participating in an ambitious project.
Chelmsford High Josh Shiau, a student at Rhode Island School of Design, is taking part in a project to create and display a giant sculpture using 100% recycled materials and crowdsourced art from everyday people across the world.
Project Pinwheel, Shiau said, will be used as a statement on our commitment to a sustainable future and the power of community. The sculpture - an "Art Car" which will serve numerous purposes including vehicle, shelter, and art - will be on display in the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock, Nevada.
The group has a Kickstarter page to raise money for the project.
1. Tell me about the project and why were you interested in participating.
The initial idea came from a vague shared desire to build a huge inspiring sculpture. Burning Man naturally presented itself as the ideal stage for our art, being a venue made up of a community of artists, performers and tinkerers from across the country gather to build a self sustainable community founded on the ideals of self expression, inclusiveness, and individualism for one week every year in the Nevada desert.
This also required us to find a way to transport our art there, which eventually evolved into our current design for the RISD Art Car to act as a self sufficient vehicle, sculpture, and home to us for the duration of the event. In line with the philosophy of the Burning Man we are aiming to use 100% recycled materials for our project ...
Artists usually put a big emphasis on self-expression, which forms a very large part of our character. It is an idea not influenced by public appeal, fame, or commercial success.
But what if we could what if we could extend self-expression beyond the self to the entire world? What if by expressing our ideas we could empower not just ourselves but the entire global community?
This idea became the conceptual basis for what is now Project Pinwheel.
By reaching out to people around the world to submit their own artwork, whether in the form of drawing, painting, photography, poetry, prose, or anything thing else they can imagine, we can take part in the spirit of creativity of community and bring it to life in a harmonious, functional form. That is what Project Pinwheel is really about, and why I am excited to be a part of the team that is building, driving, living in, and displaying this inspirational work.
2. Have you always been interested in sustainability?
Conservation is not something new to me. Both as a student of RISD and a Eagle Scout from Chelmsford’s own Troop 212, I am well aware of good environmental practice and our responsibility to the earth. A couple years ago as part of my Eagle Project I spearheaded an initiative to control invasive species on Jones Farm. It focused on the safe and natural elimination of invasive plant species that was quickly spreading on the farm as well as opening a farm path for safer travel. ...
As a youth I don’t think the concept of sustainability is very complicated. Even without abstract ideals or dramatic projections, at the core of it we are simply protecting what was passed down to us.
It's what the forefathers had in mind when they founded Chelmsford and wrote the town motto: “Let the children guard what the sires have won." The way I see it, we have a duty to take care what was given to us and ensure it is something we can pass down to future generations.
3. Do you have ideas or strategies as to how you think this project will come together?
We believe by drawing on the community of artists, friends, family, our respective hometowns, and whoever wants to participate we can help to create a global network to help fund, support, and contribute their own voice to our cause. We sincerely believe that creativity and community are the best tools to change the world, and if we as youth in higher education are expected to be the ones shaping a brighter future, than we better start getting familiar with them now.
We are just starting the funding phase now. Following that, we will continue to our gathering phase, during which we will continue collect submitted pinwheels and donations, as well as potential material to build our car. Next is the four-week construction period in the summer, where we will gather the rest of our materials and build the actual superstructure on the car. The exhibition phase involves the journey from our base in California to the Burning Man grounds in Black Rock, Nevada, where we will then set up and parade around the desert environment to display the sculpture and pinwheels in all their collective glory.
4. How do you think you'll feel once the project is completed and on display?
I will actually be with the project from start to finish, helping to oversee and take part in the actual construction and display of the Art Car. Just seeing pinwheels come in from all over the world will is an unbelievably inspiring thing, it really helps you to appreciate the power of people coming together to accomplish something. I have no doubt that this will have a very large impact on me for the rest of my life. We plan on sharing some of this experience through an ongoing documentary we will bring home and developing blog updates on our site.
5. What help is needed from the community and how can people get involved?
Each pinwheel we're putting on the car requires an apparatus to attach it to the car. We may need a larger apparatus that allows all of them to detatch/reattach, as the car will be moving at highway speeds on the way to Burning Man.
The idea is for the price of school lunch, you can take part in the grand creative community experiment that is Project Pinwheel. In addition to helping us display your work, this project will require a lot of time, effort, material, and money to carry out, and we need your help to handle some of logistics of this immense undertaking.
Check out the group's page on Kickstarter for more information.