Designs for Life

An art selection committee from Ivy Tech asked for proposals for local artists to help them furnish their new Ivy Hall. I conceived and proposed, a multimedia installation that could be completed by the 22 artist members of our Artists’ Own retail art coop.

So that the members of our coop could participate equally and in an organized format, I had each artists (myself included) illustrate a different relationship word or concept from design vocabulary. I selected the best 22 design vocabulary words, that could be positively applicable to both art & life. To ensure random assignment, I had the artists pull their words from a bag.

The purpose of the work was to offer the general student guidance and the possibility for life organization (i.e. balance, harmony, variety, movement, economy, focal point, proportion, etc.) in the same manner I give beginning design students the IDEA tools to organize their artworks.

My own design word to depict was ‘Integration’, done in acrylic paint on masonite, with a slightly raised metallic edge. I signed the plaque A.O for both Artists’ Own & Ann Ohnimus (my aka art name).

The design words & artists

  • BALANCE . . . . . . . Lorie Amick
  • BOUNDARY . . . . . . . Bobbie Vance
  • CLOSURE . . . . . . . Mary Burks
  • CONTINUITY . . . . . . . Sylvia Whitesides
  • DEPTH . . . . . . . Carol Morgan
  • DIRECTION . . . . . . . Michelle Woods
  • DOMINANCE . . . . . . . Caryl Rae Hancock
  • ECONOMY . . . . . . . Kathleen Kitch
  • FOCAL POINT . . . . . . . Vicky Bollock
  • GROUPING . . . . . . . Joanne Kuhn Titolo
  • HARMONY . . . . . . . Patty Herr
  • INTEGRATION . . . . . . . Linda Vanderkolk
  • INTEGRITY . . . . . . . Anita J. Krug
  • MOVEMENT . . . . . . .Linda LeMar
  • PATTERN . . . . . . . Cyndy Clauss
  • POSITIVE/NEGATIVE . . . . . . . Gail Johnston
  • PROGRESSION . . . . . . . Sharon Owens
  • PROPORTION . . . . . . . Sandy Daniel
  • PROXIMITY . . . . . . . Sandy Eismin
  • REPETITION . . . . . . . Janet Fox Elmore
  • RHYTHM . . . . . . . Darlene Mitchell
  • VARIETY . . . . . . . Lisa Walsh

This collaborative work by members of Artists’ Own, a cooperative of local artists, was designed to enrich and celebrate this community site. Regardless of the media or tools a designer uses when working with the elements (lines, shapes, colors, textures and values), the ultimate goal is to create a sense of oneness or unity. Though varying individually, a synergistic effect results when all are organized together. Each piece illustrates an important visual aspect in art. The aesthetic solutions we consider as artists are closely correlated to the complex life choices we all make. With the elements unique to your life, we hope our ideas inspire you to create your own successful design for life.

Via the plaque next to the piece at IVY TECH
  • Dimensions: Twenty three (22 artworks & 1 plaque) evenly spaced wall forms of 18” x 18” x 6”
  • Medium: Acrylic Plexiglas, metal, metallic lettering (and individual artworks in various media)
  • Year: 2001

Farm Family Objects’

I was a grad student during my first large public work. It was designed for a commission won in 1991 to commemorate the 145th continuing year of the Farmer’s Market location at 5th  & Main Street, in Lafayette, IN. My sculpture sketch was selected and funded by the Friends of the Downtown (by community donations raised), to help revive & beautify the downtown. A selection committee quote: “We saw apples and oranges, but went bananas!” The three life-sized figures represent a farm family (man, woman and child) presenting their goods at our historic Farmer’s Market. With Roy’s welding expertise, area-farm knowledge, barn space and a flatbed wagon to lay my palette of figurative parts out on, I was eventually able to hold each piece perfectly in place for him to weld. For this design, I especially sought to create a public artwork that would be appreciated by farmers in appreciation of them, as well as my community-at-large. The sculpture’s double-entendre title sought to bring our community and nation’s slow demise of family farms to the forefront of our community’s consciousness. My own great grandparents first settled here as a farming family. Providing an educational source (when parts recognized from earlier times are identified or start stories by old-timers to a younger generation) can often be overheard at the sculpture, as I had hoped would be the case.  This sculpture has become a community favorite, often being dressed, holding signs, or decorated for various holidays (by unknown others or me). When new, I’d designed the sculpture with many hidden (but still movable) parts, a pun or two (‘green thumb’ gardening claw), and a healthful community warning (Shields are for Your Protection: Keep Them in Place) appropriately doing double-duty as the child’s shorts. Since this sculpture’s installation, the Farmer’s Market has continued to grow stronger and is flouring today.

– Indiana’s oldest farmer’s market – – in continuous operation since 1839 at the same location in downtown Lafayette.
– I knew Roy from country dancing in 70-80’s. By 90’s he’d welded small animals from 4-5 found objects. Has now retired to Charles St., Laf.
– To interested viewers, I sometimes share the little-known secret that ‘art lovers can make the child’s head turn’ when they pass by.

A story, with photo (by……) of Roy and I appeared in the Lafayette Leader while we were working on it won a photography prize. (date …?)
– Someone anonymously mailed me a clipping of a photo & blurb of my sculpture in the National Enquirer (undated, year …..?).
– Photo below by Dave Umbarger of how it looked in the early years, with pavers I placed to encourage movement & sound interactions with it.
– Changes: Street islands remodeled, trees & lights added, sign moved; In 2016, encroaching trees cut back & new lights, words in crosswalk. A few things have been bent (flowers), broken (‘Wheat’ & ‘Oat’ pockets), rusted crookedly (pie), or fallen off (horseshoe pocket on rump), etc.
– Personal references included: Roy’s beard; my bun. A photo by my sister Kathy shows Roy and I installing the sign (to not block sculptures).
– Listed on Wikipedia (was part of a national census to identify public sculptures in America)

RoadsideAmerica tip for Farm Family Sculpture: