Environmentally-scaled comics create a walk-through information space, delivering
all the impact of the enveloping painted space of murals, with the easily-read
economy of visual depiction that's found in a comic plus its narrative text.
I was commissioned to illustrate a museum exhibit called LIGHTNING! at the
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, on exhibition through the
first half of 1987.
Exhibit Designer Madeleine Graham was looking for comic illustration in
the style of the old Captain Marvel comics, with big yellow lightning bolts
and primary colors. My 8" x 10" ink drawings were turned into
6-foot serigraphs, colored and hand-lettered by museum staff then mounted
on the walls. I also painted murals of storm clouds and thunderbolts, plus
The exhibit filled a narrow corridor with a mix of large cartoons of simplified
pictures and text, collaged photography and scientific apparatus, while
a video screen played instructional videos and great scenes of lightning
from Hollywood movies. In other words, a grand immersive multi-media information
space which prefigured virtual versions to come.
The LIGHTNING! show and memorable experience of working with a museum
exhibits crew inspired me to my own fine arts installation in the form of
a science or natural history museum.
"The Self-Referenteum" was an installation at the Southern Exposure
Gallery, San Francisco, May, 1988, my part of the SFSU Conceptual Design
Program MFA candidates' show. Objects affixed to the wall in my "Hall
of Extended Adolescence" on exhibit included a spring-bobbing Mike-fetus,
a squeeze-bottle containing smelly cigar breath, and the 1974 Ladytar designed
with Jim Rees
In late Fall of 1993, "The Biotechnology
Zone" was another example of an installation of mural-sized wall
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