In the leadup to ArtPrize Nine, we're catching up with artists who've won grants to bring their work to the event this fall through the series, "5 Questions with...".

Today we're hearing from Luke Crawley, an Indianapolis-based artist who won an Artist Seed Grant to bring his interactive musical installation, "The Whirlophone," to ArtPrize Nine. Read on to learn more about this project, what inspires him, and more.

1. Describe the project you’re making for ArtPrize. What will visitors see?

Visitors will see a toy from their past childhood, or maybe one they have played with during their current childhood: a corrugated tube that makes sounds in harmonic intervals based on how fast you twirl it around, which I've dubbed "The Whirlophone." There will be multiple tubes attached to three wheels about 10' up in the air supported by steel frames. Visitors can turn a crank to make the wheels spin to produce the familiar sound, but in interesting harmonies with the other tubes on its wheel and the tubes on the other two wheels.

Hopefully visitors will see an opportunity to engage with the art and make some music!

2. How does this piece fit into your past work? Is this an extension of an existing body of work, or something new?

It's something new, but I've worked with bicycle mechanics on other works as well, just not in this way. I'm ultimately interested in sound art and kinetic sculptures that become their own aesthetically-driven instruments.

3. What’s your favorite artwork (by someone else) and why?

My favorite artworks are from my two boys, 6 and 8 years old. I could pick any of them, but my oldest drew a picture of me sitting in a chair. It was his first still life! My 6 year old finished a coloring book page and then proceeded to color in the entire rest of the page to give it a background because I said he should use the entire canvas! Watching children explore art is so pure and fun.

4. What inspires and informs your practice besides other art? What do you pay attention to? What do you research?

I teach science and math full time at University High School in Carmel, IN. Physics is my main specialty and main area of education. I try to involve and integrate science into all my art either conceptually or literally. For example, this installation is a great example of the acoustics of an open tube. I have actually used one of these toys in class to discuss the relationship of the harmonic standing waves set up in the tube in relation to the tube's length, and what makes this demonstration even cooler is its dependence on velocity and how the corrugation actually produces the tones. I strive to authentically incorporate art into my classes as a science and math teacher as well as authentically incorporate science into my art.

5. What is your dream project?

From a practical standpoint, it's any project that allows me to keep doing more projects! I'm mostly a public artist and welder, so for some reason I keep wanting to make bigger stuff,  but if I'm dreaming, I'd like to own a bunch of land and create my own sculpture park that incorporated disc golf and mini golf courses. I have a lot of ideas so the answer to this question often changes.

By Kevin Buist on