The secret of the mysterious portholes

Dandelions

When you look through these windows you see the world through the viewpoint of artist Patrick Jacob. He likes to show you the small wonders of nature very close up. Take a look.

 A strange ring


 Brown mushrooms


Orange mushrooms


 Roses and a pile of bricks covered with leaves


You look through here.


How he works.

These remind me of my amazement when looking at the dioramas in science museums when I was a kid. I would always forget the science and wonder: what were the diorama artists doing to make the sculptures look so real?

From an interview with Mr. Jacobs at Charles and Ford:
Can you tell us a bit about how and when you started sculpting in the way you do?
In graduate school at the Art Institute of Chicago, I was completing a very large fiberglass sculpture for an upcoming show. To get an idea of what it would look like in the gallery, I made a small model of the space and put a miniature version of the sculpture inside. But it didn’t work – I was just standing there looking at an object resembling an architectural model. I wanted to be transported somehow into that space and feel what it was like to be there. I bought a small concave lens, cut a hole in the side wall of the model and inserted it at the height of the imagined viewer. The lenses have a negative focal length, which, by bending light, make things further away seem more distant. You could peer into the model with an altered sense of reality. I suddenly found that I could control the viewer’s perception to make a small space seem infinitely large. The funny thing is that the other students told me that in the end they liked the model much more than the fiberglass sculpture!

You use hair in your work ‘Three Fairy Rings’, what other interesting materials do you use and how did you discover you could integrate them into your works?
I use different types of hair, depending on the project. Fluffy dandelion seed heads, for example, are made out of various sizes of white hairs from my neighbour’s cat, Daisy. A cluster can take weeks to complete. Other materials include neoprene, wax, copper wire, and gampi tissue paper, vellum, paper clay, foam, and aluminium foil for creating plants, leaves, flowers as well as bodies of water and mountains. I also use hemp fibers and vellum for creating various sizes of grasses. Most often the cheapest, simplest materials work best. I want to suggest objects or spaces just enough for them to trigger in the viewer’s mind a kind of imagined reality.
- Interview with Patrick Jacobs, Charles and Ford>>
- Patrick Jacobs>>

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