Art Through Motion – Maker Faire Drawing Machines

jchismar Art Through Motion

Art Through Motion is an exhibit created by New Jersey artist John P Chismar for the 2017 Greater Newark Maker Faire (Saturday May 6, 2017) and Totawa, NJ MakerFest (Sunday June 4, 2017). Attendees of all ages are encouraged to interact with several wooden mechanisms to create individual works of art. The mechanisms create drawings reminiscent of Spirograph toys, some creating random spirals, others creating very specific spiraling curves.

jchismar Pendulum Art
Wooden Pendulum Drawing Machine

The first, and simplest, mechanism is the Wooden Pendulum Drawing Machine. A canvas suspended by strings is pushed into a pendulum motion and a marker is dropped into a fixed position over the canvas. The entertaining result: crazy squiggles and spirals.

The second mechanism is a modern version of the Magic Designer toy which became popular in the 1950’s. The canvas is attached to a large gear which rotates slowly as a crank is turned. The drawing apparatus is attached two two other gears which rotate more quickly. The resulting drawing is something that closely resembles that from a Spirograph (solid colored artwork above).

jchismar Magic Designer Toy
Magic Designer

The third, and largest, mechanism is a Three-Pendulum Rotary Harmonograph. This hypnotizing mechanical device uses three pendulums to draw fascinating geometric designs. Two pendulums move the drawing apparatus while the canvas is attached to the third. When set into motion the drawing apparatus is lowered and the wild designs form before your eyes!

The fourth mechanism is a praxinoscope. The praxinoscope is one of the oldest animation devices invented in 1877. This simple mechanism uses mirrors positioned inside a circle of sequential drawings. When set into a spinning motion the images appear to animate, see the video below.

Currently all of the devices are in the prototype stage. As you can see, the praxinoscope creates an animated firework exploding. I am working on new animated sequences and improving the design and operation of everything mentioned above. Rest assured everything will be in top notch working order for the events. I hope to see you there!