My first experience with public art was as a construction volunteer for the Bicycle Memorial, located on the Depot Avenue Rail Trail in Gainesville, Fl. The memorial is dedicated to the 6 fallen cyclists, 2 who were killed, in a crash on December 26, 1996. The 6 large sculptures were constructed of rammed earth and embedded with the frames and parts of the accident victim’s bicycles.
The project was conceived and directed by sculptor Eric Amundson and community activists Brad Guy and Linda Crider. Community volunteers were involved in the construction of the project. This project went a long way to pay tribute and help heal the cycling community and gave me my first insight into the power of public art.
Gator Trails Art Exhibit
May 2002 – April 2003
Two of my designs were accepted and then created for the public art project “Gator Trails“. They were 2 of 60 – 5’ tall, stylistic gator statues that were decorated by area artists and placed on trails in public places throughout the City of Gainesville and Alachua County. The project is based on a series of very successful art exhibits throughout the country that combines community pride with whimsical art, using a local icon in a new way.
“Vincent Van Go Gator”, was a whimsical self portrait of Van Gogh as a painting alligator. I was able to capture something of Vincent’s personality here.
“G 3000” was a futuristic, morphing, robotic gator and was a statement about man’s tinkering with the genetic code and where that might lead us in the year 3000.
The statues were both created in my newly constructed studio. After the exhibit, they were auctioned off to promote the arts in Alachua County. Photos and information about the exhibit were published in the art book, “Gator Trails”.
Gainesville Solar Walk – Bronze Plaques
This is a project that I became involved with as a volunteer of the Alachua Astronomy Club. The Gainesville Solar Walk is a public art project that was designed and produced by artist Elizabeth Indianos, the Alachua Astronomy Club and the City of Gainesville. It is a linear scale model of our solar system, nearly a mile long. There are ten monuments, each 12’ tall and weighing 6,000 lbs. representing the Sun and the nine planets. The project was built in 2002, before the planet Pluto was demoted to minor planet status. The monuments are placed to mark their relative distance from the Sun. It is located in Gainesville, Fl along NW 8th Ave, between NW 34th and NW 23rd Streets.
I helped to cut the styrofoam molds for the monument castings and then helped to design and install the 10 – 14” bronze information plaques mounted on each monument. These plaques provide the true scale for the solar system model. The outside circumference of each one represents the size of the Sun, at a scale of 14 billion to one. Within an orbit arc, on the far left with an arrow pointing, is located each planet’s scaled, respective size. Each plaque also contains a title and symbol with a graphic depiction of what that object looks like through a telescope. There is also much science information here including rotation and orbital periods, diameter, gravity, axis tilt, distance from the Sun, and how some of those values are relative to Earth’s. The plaques are located at an accessible height for children and the handicapped and are raised to provide interpretation by the blind. This feature also provides an excellent opportunity to create decorative rubbings of each plaque.
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Copyright © 2018 Tim Malles
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Artist Member – International Association of
Astronomical Arts (IAAA)