Sunset In Motion Art Show

Sunset in Motion Art Show by Thomas Beutel

I’m happy to announce that I  have a new art show called Sunset In Motion and it is currently at the Art Container at Playland at 43rd Avenue. It features several art pieces that I developed over the last 8 months. The show is open to the public and the schedule is:

Saturday Jan 18 – Opening Reception – 1PM to 3PM

Saturday Jan 25 – Open Studio – 11AM to 3PM

Saturday Feb 1 – Butterfly Automata Workshop – 1PM to 3PM

Saturday Feb 8 – Open Studio – 11AM to 3PM

Sunday Feb 16 – Craft Stick and Wire Automata Workshop – 1PM to 3PM

Sunday Feb 23 – Open Studio – 11AM to 3PM

Saturday Feb 29 – Closing Reception – 1PM to 3PM

You are welcome to come by a visit. Playland at 43rd Avenue is located at 1360 43rd Avenue in the Sunset District in San Francisco.

Some of the art pieces I have on display are:

Sunset in Motion

The Sunset District is wonderfully diverse in every way – people, buildings, houses, transportation, flora and fauna, and sounds. This piece attempts to capture this with mixed media – watercolor sketches of homes (these homes are current homes I took photographs of and later used as the template for my watercolors), set in a diorama that moves and makes noises. The streetcar moves back and forth when you press the green or blue buttons. The white button emits a Golden Gate Bridge foghorn sound, just as you hear it some mornings in the Sunset. The yellow button makes the sound of our outdoor warning system and the red button plays the sound of an annoying car alarm. The piece playfully immerses you in the “live” experience of what it’s like to live in a “moment of the Sunset District”.

Ask Karl the Fog

In summer of 2019 I came upon a photo of Ask Madame Ruby by the artist Kevin Titzer. It is a fortune telling machine where you ask a question and then choose a string to pull to see the answer. I liked the vintage charm of the piece and the look of it reminded me of some of the old mechanical pieces at the Museé Mechanique at Pier 45, as well as of the Magic Eight Ball toy.

I immediately wondered who might be the Sunset District’s Madame Ruby. I thought about the type of questions I would ask and the first question that came to mind was Will the fog come in today? That’s when Karl the Fog popped into my head. He seemed to be delightfully appropriate for the role of local fortune telling and weather forecasting.

I realized that the idea of Ask Karl the Fog would go well with another idea I had sketched out earlier in the summer, a fog automaton. In that idea, turning a crank causes billows of cottony fog to float slowly by whatever watercolor scene is placed behind it. The crank now serves two purposes–to move the fog and to add some suspense as Karl considers his answer.

Picture of Ask Karl the Fog, a fortune telling machine

Murphy’s Magical Windmill

I remember seeing the two windmills at Golden Gate Park when I was growing up and thinking how odd they were. Back then they had long fallen into disrepair and were without their sails. It was only relatively recently that they have been restored to their original splendor.

The larger windmill of the two is the Murphy Windmill. It was built to pump water for the park, a function that it performed for only a few years until the advent of electric pumps.

Now that the windmill is restored, its sails harness the wind for purely esthetic effect. But in my reimagining as Murphy’s Magical Windmill, the wind makes famous art pieces come to life. I use the motion of the sails to animate an art show and wow the miniature art lovers who come to watch.

This piece was particularly interesting to build with its octagonal shapes and miniature paintings. This is also my first attempt at making pin gears.

This piece is still a work in progress.

Picture of a model of the Murphy Windmill in San Francisco