Craig Cree Stone - Image Emergence: Promenade of Clouds

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This interconnected work of sculpture, cast shadows and shadow images stained on concrete is intended to create a unique experience that relates to ‘flight and the future’, the requested theme for the Promenade artworks.

The Promenade is located in downtown Long Beach, California. This Public Artwork is part of a three block Redevelopment Project and was funded by private companies through the City's Percent for Art Program.

Interview about the project in the Long Beach Post



From the requested theme of “flight”, the first experience for visitors is to be up among the clouds: the 5 shining stainless steel sculptures straining to break free of the ropes holding them. Another aspect of flight is how it provides a new perspective on the world, to see how the world is interconnected in unexpected ways, to see how similar natural structures occur in different places and across different scales.

Regarding the theme of the “future”, the ideas and experiences that have resonated with people throughout history will likely remain central to the human experience in the future. As technology interconnects the world more and more, and science moves from reductionism to understanding complexity, new mysteries will be revealed, and the search for new connections and meaning will continue.

With these concepts the artist has created a multi-layered work that can be enjoyed simply by walking among the shining clouds; or the viewer may come back many times, to see how changes in light over time vary the appearance of the sculptures and cause the cast shadow images to emerge/appear and disappear. Repeated visits to the site will allow viewers to explore the many images with the further enjoyment of making new connections of their own.

Some of the ideas that connect the work:

The way our minds perceive images emerging from random patterns: seeing images in the shapes and shading of clouds, constellations among the stars, or a dragonfly in an ink blot.

The way images emerge from connected smaller parts: A printed image made of halftone dots, a galaxy made of stars, or the mural image at the end of the Promenade made of ceramic tiles, which depicts clouds that were another inspiration for the use of clouds in this artwork.

The way images and ideas emerge and fade over time, such as the shadow images cast from the sculptures which emerge and fade depending on the light. Many images, such as the birds, sun, clouds, stars, and constellations are all things that disappear and reappear. Some images, such as the Ti'at plank canoe and condor/thunderbirds, represent things that were once common in California, that had faded away and are now coming back.

The way structures in nature are connected by underlying forces: The spiral shape of a shell, a hurricane, a fingerprint or a galaxy.

All the permutations of flying: from the complex emergent behavior of a flock of birds, to the new technology of the Solar Sail - a spacecraft powered by light itself.

Time-lapse video: interaction of cast shadow and stained shadow images



Public artwork dictates the use of durable traditional materials, such as stainless steel and concrete. This piece attempts to create new experiences using these old materials, by using the steel sculptures to cast image shadows that change over time, using lighting to create another experience at night, cutting a grid perspective illusion into the concrete, and making permanent shadow images using a proprietary staining method.

Solar Sail Sculpture Shadow Emerging