Inspired by The James Webb Space Telescope
designed + built by Art Donovan. Donovan Design. NY
This commission involved creating unusual lamp designs for a truly spectacular new wine cellar in historic River Hills, Wisconsin.
The owner is an enthusiastic connoisseur of wine, food, art, exotic time pieces, really fast cars and nurtures an abiding passion for science, technology and (yes!) Steampunk design. (Mark and his wife and partner, Sabina own a prestigious firm in Los Angeles and are the specialized, "Go To" resource couple when you're law firm is looking to enlist powerhouse, national and international attorneys).
Back to the lights: The lights were inspired by my visit to NASA:
These custom lights needed to provide an enormous (and fully adjustable) degree of perfectly color-balanced illumination. Multiple LED's in different color temperatures plus Ultra Violet bulbs were the solution. The pendant lamp shown here also needed to be particularly shallow in height to accommodate the 7' 6" lowered ceiling in the second room ( where the HVAC system is also placed.)
For design inspiration, I used the "James Webb Space Telescope" (lifting off in 2018). The shape of the telescope's, layered sun shields and it's 18 hexagonal mirrors were translated here into a slim, rectangular body with corner lights and an illuminated central disk.
The body of the lamp is finished in hand-rubbed graphite and has a subtle metallic sheen in dark neutral gray. The fins are matte black and the details are hand polished brass.
The Central control Panel features a "Magic Eye" illuminated by hidden ultra violet bulbs. The 'Magic Eye' was a visual tuning device used in RCA radios built in the 1930's. Vintage rotary dimmer knobs and toggle switches with indicator bulbs create fully adjustable lighting for all 12 interior bulbs- with the added bonus of being fun to operate and with a great tactile sensation. The hidden LED Up-Lights wash the ceiling with bright, diffused ambient room light. The Central Disk creates a diffused down light and the Corner Spot Lights create bright task illumination. All bulbs may be operated independently.
The bottom of the pendant has an engraved plaque and a gold leaf Elk, which is the owner's family crest.
CERN wall light
Custom Wall Light inspired by the Large Hadron Particle Collider at Cern.
The wall lamps for the wine cellar had to be equally unique and capable of throwing a great deal of light- in all directions. Hidden LED Up-Lights, Down-Lights and Central ambient lights create a complex glowing lamp.
As all my designs, it is entirely hand made and hand painted. The central portion, inspired by the L.H.P.C main collector is painted in a translucent, back-lit color that I call "Museum Blue"- a combination of many different color dyes that create a unique blend when illuminated from behind. Slabs of 1/2" glass project from both sides and are illuminated by the interior bulbs.
A decorative U.V. LED bulb projects forward.
Designed and entirely hand made by Art Donovan for Donovan Design NY
For information and custom capabilities, contact: Art Donovan donovandesign(at)optonline(dot)net
Our website design has been updated and now fully compatible for phone and tablets.
Custom lighting and lamps for all residential and commercial/contract applications.
(Shown here: "The Caravan" Wall Lamp. 32" tall with 24" silk tassel. Entirely hand made in NY by Art Donovan)
Thanks for looking!
"Hello, Cubed" 2015
After spending 40 years as a full time, professional artist, I’ll be the first to admit that my early background and disciplines hold sway over everything I create- be it sculpture, lighting design and very recently, returning to painting.
My new series of paintings are influenced not only by my background as an illustrator/graphic designer, but also reflect the approach that I use for all of my other design work.
When I paint and design, I work only on the “X-Y” axis in my concept sketches. Here, the rhythm and geometry of the silhouetted subject is “King”. Thus, my paintings take on this two-dimensional quality even when they’re sculptural. Symmetry, balance and the interplay of negative and positive forms are the qualities that I regard as most important.
The surfaces of my paintings are dead matte and completely opaque. The meticulous application of my custom-made paints is rendered to appear as if they were mechanically silk screened graphics. The image series sometimes appear like "slices" of a three-dimensional objects as opposed to brush-painted illusions of reality.
The new collection is created as a Set of 4 each and there is a very compelling reason for this approach: Although it was once the exclusive domain of professional artists, designers and art directors, the recent "mood boards" and visual reference collections now featured on Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr, etc, have turned everyone with a smart phone into discerning and savvy visual arts curators. These sites feature photography and art, not as singular pieces but rather surrounded by diverse, multiple images. Billions of images are now selected and regarded within this formatted presentation and because of the diversity of subjects and styles they have a collective and seductive energy. By presenting paintings of similar themes and styles, I believe the 'Set of Four' taps into that contemporary visual dynamic.
Each Set-of-Four in my series are vastly different from each other and unique to themselves. I don’t render permutations or variations on a theme. I create only one ‘set of four’ related images and move on to the next concept. Rendering hundreds of concept sketches, I distill the results into the strongest four images possible for each set. The panels in the series are 22" square with an overall size of 50" x 50".
I eschew heavy cropping and illusions of depth for the singular, centered image.
Primary colors, black and white and bold color palettes, minimal / singular imagery, unique configurations for framing, matte/phosphorescent paints and silhouetted subjects on stark, flat backgrounds. The subjects of each panel are akin to simple portraits, in a manner of speaking.
Maple hardwood constructions painted with opaque, super-matte acrylics.
I am inspired by human accomplishment. My paintings are informed by history, global cultures, literature, antique and modern architecture and both vintage and contemporary science.
The Series begins on Instagram and may also be viewed on my site HERE
Thanks for looking.
Entirely hand made with an adjustable arm and rotary dimmer on the mahogany base. The metal arc or "quadrant" is inspired by a number of objects: First, the Mariners' Quadrant used for nautical navigation, but is also used as a Masonic Emblem signifying a Past Master of a Masonic Lodge. The post is inspired by 19th century industrial tools and equipment usually made of iron, but in this case- steel and mahogany. Details, such as the customized bulb socket and handmade adjustment wheel, lend to the unique configuration.
Designed and built by Art Donovan, This desk clock features antique industrial elements along with a paired down, art deco sensibilty. Made of stained mahogany, brass and plain steel, the clock has custom made brass hands:
The Hour Hand represents an eclipsed Sun and the Minute Hand, a smaller Full Moon.
Featured at Asia's first Steampunk Museum Exhibition/ The Hangaram Design Museum- March, 2014 through May, 2014.
In the full time business of design for 38 years- all in- it becomes necessary to update or change the company logo every now and again. Sometimes the design can be "evolutionary"-keeping the original elements and gently altering the proportions so that the logo looks fresher but is still identifiable as the original. Other times the logo can be "revolutionary"- a complete redesign from top to bottom.
Our newest logo is evolutionary:
TYPEFACE: Extended Copperplate Light typeface changed to Extended Futura Light. The wide kerning and striking out the horizontal stroke in the "A" has been kept .
MARK: Our original Logo Mark (called a "bug" in graphic design) for years was a small, square B/W line drawing of a Mandala form. Actually it was taken from a photograph of our Outdoor Mandala and shopped into a line drawing. I have since replaced it with a simpler crescent moon, the size of which changes to larger or smaller depending on the application. On our website the moon is smaller and in B/W. Seen Here: www.donovandesign.com
Since "The Raven's Chamber" was a custom commission, I had the opportunity to include many details and secrets into the design just for the client's eyes only.
Many sources of inspiration here- from gothic to antique astronomy.
Made of solid mahogany, polar and walnut, glass, iron, plaster, polycarbonate, steel and brass.
Designed and hand made, top to bottom, by Art Donovan for Donovan Design, Southampton NY
It is my greatest honor to be the exhibition supervisor for Asia's very first museum showing of Steampunk art and design. The exhibition titled, "Steampunk. The Art of Victorian Futurism" opened to national fanfare at the Hangaram Design Museum in Seoul's massive cultural complex called the Seoul Art Center IDA on March 9, 2014. The artists are featured in 8 joined galleries in the museum.
How big is this place? Think Lincoln Center combined with MoMA and the Met Opera.
The Artists in the show hail from Canada, The U.S., Hong Kong, South Korea, Russia, China, Australia, Japan, The Netherlands, Greece, Italy and France.
Since there are over 130 works from 30 global artists in the show, the pics below represent only a very small sample from this comprehensive and most ambitious exhibition.
With Special Thanks to the Museum's Exhibition Director, Mr. Frank Yoo, liaison and translator for his tireless and invaluable aid.
The Artists (in formation)
I'll be posting many pictures of all of the works in the show soon on my Flickr page
Meanwhile a nice video from ARIRANG TV, Asia's largest English speaking TV network here:
The past thirty-odd years of the decorative and industrial arts have seen a tyranny of modernism. During these years there was scant interest in classical, ornate design elements. This contemporary minimalism, identified by the overused mantra of "clean, crisp design", had reigned unchallenged and nary an antique decorative flourish or hand-wrought detail could be found (effectively ignoring over two centuries of profoundly important design history)".
"Then Steampunk came along and expanded the scope of what is considered 'modern' design. Finally there was the freedom to not only include but celebrate handcrafted elements that took their inspiration from the 19th century arts and industrial crafts. This is a genre that promotes the blessed freedom to create without the aesthetic restrictions of the 'less is more' philosophy".
"It's important to know that Steampunk is neither a simple nostalgia nor a trip down Retro Lane. Running parallel and heavily informed by the current Maker movement, Steampunk strives to embrace modern technology, craft and art as it cherishes the evidence, not the obliteration, of the creative human hand".
Art Donovan, Bookish Interview. Nov 2013
The Siddhartha Pod Lantern. My very first Steampunk work. Early 2007. Featured in the world's first Steampunk Exhibition held at The Museum of the History of Science, the University of Oxford, 2009-2010. Solid, hand carved mahogany, solid brass and illuminated throughout. Hand painted gold leaf scroll work embellishments. A moon phase clock with a hand engraved face in the lower center of the design. 54" tall x 24" wide.
The Sun+ Moon Table lamp features an ultra thin, wire body in matte black steel.
A single, satin brass ring around the globe bulb reflects the light and appears to glow.
Balanced on the opposite end by a crescent moon in brass.
Evocative of the astronomical sciences in a completely un-ornate design.
Designed and hand made by Art Donovan.
Top link is from the New York Times 3/22/13
A tapered, spun filament lampshade. Brass and matte black. 7.5" wide x 13" tall x 6" deep. An electric candle bulb can be substituted for dramatic effect. A mahogany stained wall plate may also be specified. May be hung as a pin up lamp or hard wired. Designed and hand made by Art Donovan
"Instead of curlicues and scroll work over metal to conceal the inner
workings of things, Steampunk delivers the opposite effect. In short, it
is a full blown design exfoliation."
"But why now? Has contemporary modernism, which is so downright sterile in it's lack of ornamentation, run it's course?"
"Perhaps the answer lies in a restlessness and a desire for a messy vitality which allows the imagination to soar."
Written by Author & Architect, Anne Surchin, Pres./ AIA, 2008
(This title and excerpt is taken from the gallery journal for the world's very first steampunk design exhibition: "Steampunk. The new genre of art and design", It was held in Bridgehampton, NY., August, 2008. Among the artists included were Datamancer, Eric Freitas, Jake Von Slatt, Susan Rachael Forbes, Crab Fu, Jos DeVink, and Bethany Peters.
The event was created and curated by Art Donovan. The museography and design was created by Leslie Tarbell Donovan of Staging Places, Southampton.
All material © 2007-2008 Donovan Design Co.
The Raj. Designed and built by Art Donovan for Donovan Design. Ogee edges on both disks. Hand brushed in 8 layers of low satin stain- a deep brown-black in color. The lamp face has concentric rings of varing depths carved into it's surface. The light of the shielded bulb catches the edges of the circles. The steel clockface is finished in a matte, zinc gray with hand-made clock hands in electric blue and a gold leaf star on the sweep second hand. Weathered brass and satin brass details. 60 watt globe.
Couchette II Wall Lamp. Not Steampunk. But only a portion of my designs are in the Steampunk style. This is a Pin Up Wall Light. That is, no need for hard wiring it into an electrical box. It simply hangs on the wall with a small picture hook or wall screw. There is a micro On/Off toggle switch on the wall plate for convenience. Hand carved solid maple and brass details. May also be hardwired and done in custom colors, if desired. Designed and hand made by Art Donovan
Unlacquered, acid-washed solid brass, tempered glass and solid mahogany. 25" tall x 13.5" diam. The materials were selected for their very durable properties in high salt air and marine applications, such as yachts and staterooms. A full rotary dimmer located on the base and although the lamp would work in any residential or comercial location, it may be post-mounted for permanent, unmovable boat installation. Designed and Hand made by Art Donovan. You can view our collection of hand made, marine grade lamps here.
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My most complex piece to date.
A Commissioned Sculpture for a restored, mid-1700's Barn in Sag Harbor, NY.
The Grand Master is 6' tall x 5' wide and features an illuminated, double-sided center disk. Over three months to design, build and paint. Oversized, hand machined brass bolts. Solid Mahogany body.
*A Moon Phase Clock is located in the center and is back-lit with hand painted phases of the Moon.
*Five, 48" diameter, horizontal rings encircle the disk.
*The Crown Unit features moving, gas flame bulbs along with hidden up-lights to wash the ceiling with light. The amber glass plates are illuminted from within the crown.
*The custom Ceiling Medallion (not shown) houses CFL and LED bulbs with a 400 watt equivalent. The light washes the 23' high ceiling and provides full ambient illumination for the Main Room of the barn. This allows the lights in the unit to be dimmed to a more artistic and lower level.
*The two clockworks on the right are calibrated in special increments:
(Top) The time it takes the light from the Moon to reach the Earth in seconds. Avg. 1.25 seconds.
(Bottom) The time it takes the light from the Sun to reach the Earth in minutes. Avg. 8.3 minutes
*The swinging brass pendulum is back lit with a U.V. bulb.
*On the reverse side is a hand painted, Full Moon rendered in translucent dyes, while the craters are hand carved into the fiberglass surface. It was inspired by a digitally enhanced Nasa image- hence the exagerated details and color profile.
*Twin 42" diameter, Polycarbonate Convex Lenses cover both the front and back faces to suggest the crystal of a time piece.
*The industrial-styled gimbal and round bezel are painted in matte, zinc gray with the crown in matte black.
Designed and entirely hand made by Art Donovan for Donovan Design, Southampton, NY
I am very happy to announce that the second edition of my book, "The Art of Steampunk" (Fox Chapel Publishing) will be available this May. Expanding on the original artists featured in the historic Oxford Steampunk Museum exhibition, this edition illustrates the wide, creative influences of this wonderful genre. These new artists represent Steampunk in the most dramatic, creative and sophisticated manner. (Cover Art by Sam VanOlffen- Wait till you see!
This is certainly not news to those of us who have been working in the genre since it's begining but it is surprising to see, nontheless.
Steampunk hits in 2013- Via Forbes Magazine.
The 221B Gas Flame Lantern. Of course it's an electric bulb (on top) that moves and vibrates like an authentic gas flame. Named after that famous address that all Steampunks recognize, it's a classic Donovan design in brass, warm gray and black. Designed and handmade by Art Donovan.
The "Ravi Palace". 7 ft. tall x 2 ft. wide. An evolutionary Steampunk design where shape trumps ornament. Inspired by the design on spider silk tapestry! By Art Donovan. Read the full story of this work here.
Steampunk is a grand theater, referencing the past through modern eyes.
Herein, essays describing the uniqueness of this bougeoning genre of art and design.
Featured in the posts below are my works in Steampunk Art.
The 'flame' of the electric candle occilates inside the glass globe to a dramtic effect.
This bulb is the closest visual approximation of an actual candle flame available. The color, physical movement, size and glow is identical to that of a real flame. This unique configuration is based on original Victorian gas fixtures from the 1800's and echoes a Steampunk aesthetic. The electric candle uses only 3 watts of electricity. The base is made of raw, weathered brass and antique pine.
Designed and hand made by Art Donovan.