WELCOME Sparseland Studios
Charlie "Blackcat" Smith
WELCOME Sparseland Studios
Charlie "Blackcat" Smith
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A lil bit ABOUT
A lil bit ABOUT
Sparseland Studios (Pictured Above) Charlie's West End Atlanta Art Studio
Artist: Charlie “Blackcat” Smith - (BFA Atlanta College Of Art 1992)
Charlie has held a license for flame effects since 2006
Charlie loves creating dynamic works of art from his dream world.
He has been producing these artistic creations
at Sparseland Studios since July of 1997.
Charlie specializes in one of a kind interactive creations of fine art & functional art.
The artistic creations are made from new, recycled, up cycled materials.
His playful and magical use of these materials bring these iconic creations to life.
Charlie's aesthetic is extremely unique and resonates with the communities
and environments that are created through his work.
Exhibitions, Events & Clients
Target Corporation, Target house@ St. Judes Hospital , Micheal Graves and Associates, Melia Design Group, Stang and Newdow, Johnson Studio, Radcliffe Bailey, Burning Man, Black Rock Art Foundation, Music Midtown, Suwanee Hullaween, Dubal Desert Rock Festival, DWPresents, Coachella Music Festival, The LA Arts Festival, The Great Googa Mooga, Bonnaroo, Okeechobee Music festival , The Love Burn, Transformus, Mile High Music festival, Bunring Flipside, Toast, Burning Bush, Critical Massive, Synergy, Oakland Fire Arts Festival, Desert Arts Preview, Eye Drum, Alchemy, Euphoria, Art Out Side, Atlanta Art on The Belt Line, Electric Picnic Ireland, Afrika Burns, Fire in the 4th Ward, Chattahoochee Nature Preserve, Inform Smallwood & Nickle, Guy Brown, Madison Cultural Arts Center,
he was Born 1966. He has been an artist since he was a little boy constantly making, playing and creating artful objects and images from his dream world. Since his college career earning a BFA from the Atlanta College Of Art 1992 Charlie has explored many facets of the art process. He has received multiple national and international grants, commissions, and exhibition opportunities creating both sole and collaborative visions. His devotion to the Artistic has launched him to creating both fine and functional art works for public and private environments, corporations, experimental art communities, music & arts festivals as well as residential settings. Charlie enjoys working with other artists, architects, designers, contractors and engineers to create artistic vision. His Atlanta based Art Studio is tailored to specialize in one of a kind creations. The works created are made from Mostly metal materials that are sometimes mixed with wood, glass, stone, light And Fire. His use of volume, line, shape, form, and texture lend to intriguing playful and deliberate iconic and symbolic creations. His aesthetic is very unique and resonates with the environments and communities that he creates and affects through his work.
The work of Charlie Blackcat Smith :
The last 20 years of my life have been dedicated to building extremely different art works that push the norm and stretch the imagination. I love exploring through my works with metal and mixed materials to realize the sculptural form. I find extreme happiness, gratitude and fantastic outcomes through the experimentation with the raw elemental materials and pushing their tolerances. Investigation of my heritage, exploration of my inner child, and mythical transformation are my inspirations. Through the playful and deliberate use of line, shape, and sculptural form, I find an aesthetic stimulation zone. This work is a gateway for me to express, share and explore my wacky dream world thru the creation of crazy contraptions! While my works may sometimes seem absurd or dangerous, pushing me and those who experience and play with my art out of our normal comfort zone, I find, makes for a particularly stimulating interactive art experience. I am driven to continue to create magical artifacts that stimulate the minds and activate playful instincts in human beings around the world, using the organic elements of the earth to create my dreams.
My work all starts on different scraps of paper, just casual notes, ideas and images jotted down, combined with stream of conscious stories. I typically tap into my own dreamtime experiences, mixed with child hood memories. I then hone these casual ideas by research using books, the Internet, interviews, conversation, all designed to merge past experience and fantasy into a forward vision I can make real These thoughts, dreams, and outside inputs are churned, twisted, and smashed; taking these fictions and fancies and turning them into physical facts is the goal of my artistic exploration. My art is mostly made of mild carbon steel and stainless steel. Iuse both standard and experimental metal fabrication techniques in shaping my pieces. I like making patterns on the surfaces of the sculptures through deliberate tack welds. This creates lines and accents the character of the piece. I use what I call The exposed process style This technique is used to create and reveal references to sacred geometry and numerology as a design element in my work. I also like using found and repurposed materials, such as parts of machines, and other industrial everyday objects. One of my favorite re-purposings was using uncut keys that open nothing at all as the feathers of the NE Firebird’s wings. Using thousands of keys to create texture and pattern makes for an unforgettable and unusual visual and audible experience. But none of what I do is meant to be kept from anyone who might want to play with it, interact with it, create their own use for it:
My mission is to create an intriguing, exploratory, and awakening playground.
My current body of work is filled with a fun-loving, Ratfink hot-rod culture feel made physical via rudimentary technology and the user-safe but dangerously compelling use of fire. This mix of metal, fire, and sheer playful what IS that?? contraptions is my artistic expression. The themes and references stem from my Generation X background my own specific human experience feeds my desire to create a unique space for human interaction, and that is what stimulates me and I have seen it stimulate others.
My art is not meant to be just from and for me. I have evolved and used methods to make the art creation process communal, a hands on community building experience. I do this through educational workshops which actually create the art object. And once made, a community is also needed for the use of the art, for its birth into the world, the interactive experience of pushing, pulling, and/or riding the art piece and making it do what it is meant to do, bringing it life as much as the artist or artists do. I have done this workshop process in many cities, building communities of art creation, and further community creation, that long outlive the immediate experience I facilitate.
These methods take the art process and experience to a new level of ownership and existence. I enjoy experimenting with multiple levels of physical involvement, by pushing the parameters of safety and
integrating the tactile human experience. My pieces are not just art to contemplate they are a place to live a physical world of risk and exploration. I hope that what I build will make a difference and change the way people view their world. My work says "C'mon kids, ride the ride, take the plunge, get involved and become part of an experience!" We are thirsty for art in our world and I strive to take it to a new levelturn viewers into collaborative artists themselves.
As part of my art exploration I like to blend into the on looking crowd. I ambiguously merge with the group to gain further insight into what the pieces can do and mean, becoming a participant
in my own work I lose the ownership position and get real time opinions and experiences of what the artifact is evolving to become in its very use
My pieces are not just to be displayed they are to be played with, experienced, used by everyone who gets near them. The expressions and reactions of those users
my final collaborators are one of my greatest rewards.
MAKING IT REAL!
MAKING IT REAL!
24/7 Time Star
24/7 Time Star
The giant 7 sided star on the Atlanta Beltline at 4th ward park. One of the most recognizable pieces of art on display in Atlanta right now, but… no one really knows who, how, what, or why this piece of art has come to be on the beltline? What is the story behind the piece? We are reaching toward a higher levels or engagement wanting to instigate interaction between building art and those who enjoy the art. Building a gateway of connectivity between the Art the Artist and the Community at large. We also want to educate communities about what burning man really is and what it means to us as artists and how this Style of art works in the our real world atmosphere.
Timing is Everything (The 24/7 Time Star), a large-scale interactive artwork created for Burning man 2012 also know as Black Rock City, Nevada. The piece proudly stands at The Fourth Ward Activity Field through seed money grants from Art on the Belt line And The Black Rock Arts Organization. It has been placed for a long-term, temporary installation in Atlanta, Georgia, where the sculpture was originally created. The refurbishment and installation of the piece engaged a broad community and was installed by a core team of artists. It was a grand congregation point during the 2015 belt line lantern parade. That event served as a an opening reception to the piece and an event in which the artist shared the scope of the sculpture and interactivity and the piece was displayed to the community. today it is visited regularly by many the thousands of people and art lovers and has become a city Icon.
The sculpture itself symbolically reflects the seven days of the week, the planetary symbolism of the days, the seven Hindu Chakras, the seven levels of heaven, and the seven virtues in a single tribute to the sun and the enabler of all life on Earth.
Artist Charlie Smith says, “This is a continuation of creating community through the building and installation of interactive art. The grand vision is sharing the artistic process of this project, creating a difference, and enhancing the participants’ viewpoint on the perception of what art can be, and in that change their world!”
24/7 Time Star definition: As the Feminine clock based in "Moon Time" motion, The Masculine "Sun Time" (Time Star) is the documenter of all moments! The dance of time is male and female working together: the moment of conception, the beginning of life's success, fostering and instigating - gestating relationships- creating and developing - tilling the soil - toil of human kind to reproduce - to extend to breed to succeed! To fill this world with art!
The Time Star's teeter-tottering movement symbolizes the tides' push n pull. And the time's a-ticking kids--let's work together to make this thing rock! The motion sets in as the new beginning begins!
As always, this project is a continuation of creating community through art. The inspiration of bringing people together to share their philosophies, visualizations through symbolism, and verbal communication inspires the conceptual quality of the artifacts that are created through incorporating individual talents and ideas.
creating this through the inclusion of the community through the teaching process, and methods of this type of metal fabrication (building big art and fire cauldrons), lends to the interactive essence of the project. Incorporating the individual and group intentions creates the context, interest, and intention that contribute to the overall magic of the sculpture.
In such, the creation of community leads to group ownership and connectivity through mass collaboration. This reinforces the unity of the sub-culture and intentions of our essence here on this crusty fire-ball of a planet.
THE FLEEBLE FLOBBLER IN ACTION !
THE FLEEBLE FLOBBLER IN ACTION !
Scale -The 22ft tall steel vessel was created for Burning Man through a seed money grant in 2008 ! Fir The burning man project it was a contained wood burning fire caldron. Today in 2017 it also has a life as a flame effects machine and has been shown at music and arts fesitvals around the world! The central vessel is a rotund clown figure. It has eight seats extending from the pivoting basin for participants to ride. This caldron is safe to be around and is very approachable for the participants of the event.
The enchanted evening of night finds you wandering in the blinky light infested dreamland of the open playa.
A fire poof here! A fire poof there! Every where a Fire Poof! You notice a giant cloud of smoke drifting about in the distance. What’s burning?. As you near you notice a crowd of crazed lunatics riding a giant clown-like children’s toy! The toy towers over the circle of participants spewing smoke and flame from its arms and head. Your chilled bones warm as you notice the red hot structures’ glow! A few steps back maybe? Hey you with the furry coat, get on! It’s your turn to ride The Fleeble Flobbler! Step right up! Step right up! It’s your chance to ride the childhood dreamer. The chaos prevails as sounds of clanking metal, ringing bells, laughter and spoken reflections mix around a sparking wood fire to bring you back to your inner KID.
The Fleeble Flobbler, childhood dreamer, is a literal icon of the childlike state of the American ideal. A toy, a ride, a clown, a fun time kind of place laced with fruitful bliss and the essence of an innocence backed by a governing monster. Ride the ride, take the plunge, the illusion is a dream and in this dream the interactive fun time The Fleeble Flobbler rocks around on a teetering eight seated base! It is fueled with the fire energy of the earth and powered by the physical energy of the human being. The Fleeble Flobbler is created with the intention to rejoice in the simpleton style of the social, economic, and political state we embody on this globe.
As with our past works we created The Fleeble Flobbler in our Atlanta based art studio through a series of workshops. We used this project to continue sharing the artistic process and technical skills with the community.