Today I start my practice. Neon Fabrications’ mission is to support and inspire others to realize their own creative projects! I mean everyone and will especially focus on bringing the creations of wildly, underrepresented Queer People of Color (POC) to our public space.
Like Alex Arrechea said, sharing our experiences is one of the greatest things we can do at this time. Neon Fabrications is my platform for sharing myself with you. If last week was a ‘Gut Check’, this week is getting at the heart of the newsletter. ‘The why’ in which I’m writing and connecting with you.
When we make art, we share our stories. And in my opinion, we should be prolific about it! It makes us all better to have shared, listened and seen that which we don’t fully understand. It informs ourselves and our larger discussions outside of design.
During quarantine, I’m commissioning and collaborating on a ceramic artwork with a good friend of mine Jenna Lee from SHoP Architects and an installation with my colleague Joel Mermoud from UAP Company. Quarantine us closing some doors but leaving others unlocked and opening new opportunities not there before.
This week we’ll focus on my collaboration with Joel, a business woman who’s work as a Queer POC has gained even more acclaim at a recent MIT symposium and a duo making space for black women here in Brooklyn through public art.
As usual, check out my instagram @seanbillykizy for quick and easy content throughout this week. Or scroll down for hot material right now!
3D Printed Trellis
My apartment is adjacent to a community garden and this year is my first Spring on the block. I’m super grateful to have landed a 10’x10’ plat and my seedlings are already bursting through their indoor soil beds! But these babies are about to get real big and the beans and cucumbers are in need of a trellis to grow up strong.
In walks my colleague Joel, or at least here he enters in our virtual collaboration across the East River. We’ve sent 3D models over email, shared pics, tested a 3D print here at my home studio and are off to the races to build a 8’ tall custom trellis! What’s the parameters you ask?
We’ve laid out a series of ½” standard copper pipes and 3D printed custom plastic joints to create what will surely be a sight my neighborly co-gardeners haven’t seen. It’s colorful, it’s metallic, it’s functional, its parametric, and it’s going to be covered in vines! We’ll walk you through the design models and show you how it physically comes together live this next week over Instagram.
Business women and men and them are also creatives who design. When MIT decided to invite speakers to a Entrepreneurship Symposium in response to the current pandemic, Arlan Hamilton stole the show.
As an African American LGBTQ+ woman, she epitomizes strength and champions overcoming adversity. She came from homelessness to raising $10M for her venture capital fund Backstage Capital. Yet she vulnerably begins her segment by pronouncing:
“I don’t think I’m very strong right now. And I think that’s the point. We weren’t built for this…I think a big part of strength is being very vulnerable and allowing yourself to bend. (Not break). … The showing up is what I’m proud of.”
May we all show up for each other in any and every way we can at the moment.
Minority Monuments Rise Up
You may have seen earlier posts from me this year when my office fabricated and installed Kehinde Wiley’s anti-confederate ‘Rumors of War’ sculpture in Times Square. What a spectacular feat from everyone who had their hand in the project, and there were many.
Monuments representing Black America are taking center stage recently. NYC has also created She Built NYC to construct 7 monuments to women across the city because only 5 of NYC’s 150 historic statues depict women. It’s ‘about damn time’ as Arlan would say.
African American architects Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous have designed a monument to Shirley Chisholm. Ms. Chisholm was a trailblazer as the first black woman elected to Congress. She not only made space for herself in Washington DC, but now will command space on the SE corner of Prospect Park with this new commission. Amen.
It’s works of art like this by minority architects, resilient business people like Arlan and consistently sharing your skills with your community like Joel has offered with our garden trellis that will get us out of this time feeling stronger than we did before.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”
– Brené Brown