Friday, April 12, 2019

Trust Me | All-Metal Modern Hanging Art Mobile by Mark Leary

On trust

“I gave everything,” sparrow cried.
“And now I have nothing.”
Fox waited a moment, then spoke:
“Trust me, child. You have your voice, and your song is strong and true.”

Mobile: Trust Me

Size: Approx. 22" wide x 36" tall

Materials: Galvanized steel and stainless wire

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Fornever | New Metal + Wood Modern Hanging Art Mobile from Mark Leary

“This time will be forever,” she said. 
“There will be no next time,” she promised. 
“You are the one,” she swore. 
Yet spring would end once again, pink petals dusting sidewalks with magic. 

Mobile: Fornever 

Size: Approx. 25” tall x 25” wide 

Materials: Sheet metal and backyard harvested live-edge laurel wood, gently shaped + dry finished 

Thoughts while making: I live in Portland now, but there’s a small canal that runs behind my house in Bend. Every evening just before sunset, the light reflects up off the water onto the undersides of the leaves of the maples, aspens, and a gentle mountain ash that line that canal. 

 I called it the Light Show, and I would come out just to sit with it. Dazzling. The golden shine cascading. A warm glow filling. 

And the ducks. Oh, the ducks. They flew low along the canal, speeding home from wherever the day held them; sometimes splashing down in a rainbow of light and color and sound. 

Taking it all in from my big ol’ papasan chair, I would dream and drift, and often cut out random shapes for future yet-to-be mobiles. I made each of these three recent wood + metal mobiles from the last of a box of shapes I cut out while living in Bend. 

Nothing lasts, necessarily. But neither does it end.

Friday, April 5, 2019

On Conjuring | New Wooden + Metal Midcentury Modern Mobile | Mark Leary Designs

“Are you sure you’re doing it right?” she asked.
“I have no idea,” I responded.
And we both laughed then,
because we knew it really didn’t matter.

Mobile: The Conjuring
Size: Approx. 16” wide x 23” tall
Material: Sheet metal + backyard harvested live-edge laurel wood, gently shaped + dry finished

Thoughts while making: I lit some Nag Champa as I made this mobile. Partly to get rid of the lingering smell of burnt brussel sprouts. Mostly because this mobile is headed to #Virginia

 I was still a kid, really. Living on the ocean in Seal Beach, CA. She rolled in like a wave. Changed everything. Packed up my ‘86 Honda Civic hatchback, and moved to Harrisonburg, VA, where I proceeded to eat a lot of #Velveeta and write truly awful poetry. 

Incense seemed ever present. And while the universe had different ideas for what that relationship would become, the smell of #NagChampa will always conjure up a rich feeling of possibility … and fabulously smelly hippies.

Wood and Metal Modern Mobile | Mark Leary Designs

“This alphabet,” explained gray wolf, “does not contain letters or numbers.
It holds the space for you and me.
So please be careful with the words you choose.”

Mobile: Untitled
Size: Approx. 21” tall x 27” wide
Material: Metal + backyard harvested live-edge laurel wood, gently shaped and dry finished

Thoughts while making: I was quiet as a kid. “Why don’t you say anything?” my mom’s mom would ask at the dinner table. “You’re such a #doof,” she would say … which didn’t help, especially since I was scared of her. 
Many years later, I came to learn Gramma was a writer, among many other things. We started corresponding when I was in college. I don’t recall why. But the small stack of handwritten and dot matrix letters are among my greatest treasures. 

Although wracked with pain, she would write about gambling at the casino, kids wearing baggy pants, @TacoBell (the only thing she would eat at 83), and to tell me something she never said in person. 

In one of her last letters written in April many years ago, she closed with “I have a feeling this is not going to be a long letter because I am shaking and I can’t type very well. You don’t have to answer this because it is more of a note than a letter. I just want you to know that I love you and I miss you.” 

Today, I’d encourage you to use your words, and use them care-fully and well.

Monday, April 1, 2019

On living with pride: New Colorful Mobile Teaches Me a Lesson

“It’s simple,” they said. 
“Be biased toward those who treat you with respect and care. 
Be prejudiced in favor of kindness and honesty. 
Be discriminating in the thoughts you hold and company you keep. 
And most importantly, love with your whole heart, and let others do the same.”

Mobile: Pride

Size: Approx. 31” tall x 21” wide 

Colors: Belton Moltow Premium paints in Signal Yellow, Light Orange, Lobster, Traffic Red, Burgundy, Indigo, Night SEEN Blue, BOOGIE Viola, Shock Blue, Jeans Blue, Menthol, and Clover Green 

Thoughts: What happens when a client asks you to take a two-color mobile and light it up like a rainbow? Fear and doubt, that’s what. I was concerned the end result would look like a clown barfed up confetti. 

I was fearful it wasn’t going to look good. Because it was different. Because it wasn’t how it was “supposed” to be. Because it was “too much.” 

But I believe art is collaborative. And taste is personal. And helping other realize their vision is critical. And exploring new ideas is essential. 

So I did it, and – wow – l love it. 

Such a great reminder of, well, so many things

Sunday, March 31, 2019

On celestial unrest: New Tabletop Mobile from Mark Leary

“But I’m not ready to get up,” complained sun. 
“I’m in the middle of a really good dream.” 
“It looks like you’ll be getting overtime again,” said moon to her stars, as she asked them to hang out a little bit longer.

Tabletop mobile: Moondream 

Size: Approx. 18” wide x 15” tall 

Colors: Belton Moltow Premium paints in Shock Blue, Pastel Kiwi, Cashmere Yellow, and Tar Black 

Thoughts: Glow-in-the-dark stars. That’s what surfaced for me when I was painting this tabletop mobile yesterday. A seven-year-old me. A #universe scattered before me on my bedroom’s rust-orange-red shag carpet. Trying to figure out the perfect pattern. Where to place those 3-4 oversized stars and that one crescent moon. Why only one #moon?! Scraping off patches of popcorn ceiling (sorry mom + dad) to make them stick better. Turning off the lights and counting down the minutes until I couldn’t see them anymore. Drifting off under a plastic canopy of illuminated #magic that I still don’t understand how it works.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

As the bird flies: New Tabletop Mobile

“Often,” sparrow explained, “the best path forward is neither straight nor fast.”

Tabletop mobile: Topsy Curvy

Size: Approx. 18” tall x 15” wide

Colors: Belton Moltow Premium paints in Walnut, Hemp, Vermillion, and Cashmere Yellow 

Thoughts: I’m excited to be creating a small series of new original and signed tabletop mobiles for the incomparable Pierre Paret and his @acmemidcentury shop in #Alexandria, VA. 

If you’re in the area, I encourage you to drop in and say hello (and try not to drool over the selection of #midcenturymodern furniture). Pierre is one of the nicest people I know, and has a passion for rescuing (and loving) the #italiangreyhound

Saturday, March 23, 2019

On shades | New Mobile - Bl(ink) | Mark Leary Designs

I really wasn’t trying to be difficult. 
“Is it a yes or a no?” she demanded. 
“Is there any other option?” I asked. 
“Because I’m feeling something more in the middle.” 
Frustrated, she stomped away from my truth. 

Mobile: bl(ink) 

Size: Approx. 22" wide x 15" tall 

Color: Belton Molotow Premium paint in Tar Black 

Over the past 10 years, I’ve easily made more than 100 of this design. The original design, Am I Blue, comes in 6 different shades of blue. In recent years, other color combos have spun on the same design (Evergreen in, um, greens, and Phoenix in reds). Yesterday I was asked if I could make it in black. Not shades of black and gray. Not white to black. Just black. It’s interesting to me that I’d never considered just using a single color on this design; a nice lesson to be open to other’s insights on our own “designs.”

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Ready to Ship Hanging Art Mobiles - 1 of a Kind - Spring Sale

Spring has sprung. 
Gray has turned blue. 
That yellow thing is back in the sky. 
And I’m about to kick off a season of mobile-making workshops. 
That means I need space… 
So it’s time to clean out the studio. 

Take 30% off any of these already-made mobiles. Three of these are my fave mobiles I made in 2018. Can you guess which ones? One-of-a-kind, not to be reproduced. First come, first spun. 

Visit my Etsy shop to grab one (or more) of these while they last.


On the illusion

Leaning in, the tree asked again: 
“You think you have *what*?” 
The spring leaf defiant: “Control.” 
“Ah, I see,” said old oak, remembering when she was young. 
“And when you let go, *you* will see, too.” 

This is evidence of more than a handful of attempts at control. When I finally let go of what I thought it *should* be, the base for a new tabletop stabile showed me what she wanted to be … although it took me a couple of hours to get there. 

Progressive frustration gave way to flow just past the breaking point. Sometimes I press so hard at the focused solution, I totally miss the opportunity of stepping back and allowing. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

On remembering who you are

Standing alone there in that darkened forest, her fears crept like shadows. 
“I am,” whispered mouse feebly. 
“I am lion,” she stuttered. 
“I am lion hear me,” the words coming louder. 
“I am lion hear me r-o-a-r,” all the forest listening. 
Her belief filling the night with light. 

#tbt : That time in 2004 when I got the wild idea to start making mobiles … and got a little carried away

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

On self-perception

“It sure looks like one to me,” mused sparrow. 
“It’s definitely not,” countered red fox. 
“If it’s not a crown, then what is it?” 
Adjusting it upon her head, red fox said, “It’s a golden circle of self-esteem, studded with sparkling self-belief, and ringed by creativity and passion.” 
“Um, okay,” replied mouse. “But it still looks like a crown to me.”

Stabile: The Crowner 

Size: 18” wide x 18” tall 

Colors: Belton Molotow Premium paints in Petrol Blue, Linda’s Sunset, and Tar Black 

The Crowner, inspired by the genius of Sarah Crowner’s gorgeous Stretched Stems 1 and 2 from her Beetle in the Leaves exhibition at MASSMoCA has finally found its base. 

Off and on over the past few weeks, I’ve been playing with different wire bases to turn this mobile into a stabile. 

Unlike many stabile’s that use a heavier and solid metal bases, I like using wire to match the feel of the mobile itself. This can lead to some interesting, um, challenges in balance and counterbalance. 

With The Crowner, I wanted to create an ultra-simple minimalist and fluid base that kept with the beautiful organic motifs Sarah Crowner celebrates in her phenomenal work. 

I was aiming for a visual representation of a breath of wind. I hope I’ve done her justice here. 

For fun, I added a slight curve on the bottom of the base, so it rocks as well as spins