Matthew Visyak's Domain

The Process - My experiences as an Allegheny College Art Intern Team Member

I have had the privilege of working on the sign fence project for two summers. It allowed me to not only branch my art skills to a new realm, but also experience the joy of working collaboratively with other artists. During my first year I worked alongside fellow artist Julie to construct three-dimensional hot air balloons for the fence mural. I was chosen for this task because of my strong sense of mathematics and geometry. Some rudimentary Calculus helped, but most of the custom bending for the balloon's fluted seams was done through the trial and error approach.

These are the infamous 3D relief hot air balloons that I was able to work on during my first summer at the internship.  I am standing to the side for reference.

Here is a picture of me (5'11") standing next to the 12 foot balloon for reference. The balloon was three feet off the ground so it stands at a massive 15 feet.

The Penn DOT employees were eager to join the creation process when the installation time came. They worked along side of us as co-partners, lending their expertise and equipment to help solve numerous installation problems. I had a preconception that it would be a burden to them to give us a hand. It turned out that they loved the opportunity to help out and it was a refreshing change from the normal everyday work they have to do. It was amazing to experience the pride that the employees have in this fence project. This is the only one like it in the United States so far.

The second summer as an intern, I had the task of constructing a huge Penn DOT road construction vehicle for the fence and Allegheny College's Bentley Hall. The artistic design of the fence took an extreme turn from abstract to realism during this summer. At the end of my second term on the project I was contracted to create a three point perspective snowplow, which would be used for the winter section of the fence.

The chance to work on a public art piece really excited me. I was able to grow as a collaborative artist and understand the value of teamwork in the undertaking of a massive project. About the only thing I gripe about is how hard it is to get all the aluminum metal shaving off of my clothes and the interior of my car. I guess this is a small price to pay for a rare chance to work with some of the most talented artists I have had the pleasure of meeting.

The Formal Process - Conception to Implementation

Many people were curious about what the "Read between the Signs" fabrication process entailed and sent me a lot of inquiries. As with any major undertaking, the Read Between the Signs mural takes on several phases to arrive at the final creative project. Normally I couldn't begin to describe the experience because it is a team effort involving many different roles and the tasks are divided among many people.

This is the finashed snowplow completed during my extended internship.

This is the completed snowplow from my summer internship solo project. The plow is shown with customized details such as the snow on the snowplow, the bulldog emblem hood ornament, and the PennDot logo on the door. I could not get a more upright shot because the structure now weighted well over two hundred pounds.

In my freelance project, I was able to explerience the whole process from beginning to end on my own. In this circumstance things are controlled enough to accurately document the whole process. The documentation for the 3-point perspective snowplow included all phases of development for the interested view, which included:

Entire Fence Mural Project