ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Look up – it's a bird, it's a plane, it's... a fleet of fifty 8-foot wide reflective dragonflies! Art meets aviation and animation in the air above the courtyard at Mesa Contemporary Arts for "Spark! Mesa's Festival of Creativity" this month, thanks to Scottsdale artist Jeff Zischke.
His site-specific installation of iridescent dragonflies is made from solar LEDs, reflective and refractive dichroic Mylar, and plastic polycarbonate tubing. The sculptures, suspended 30 feet high, reflect light during the day and are brilliantly lit after dark.
Zischke, 59, became hooked on art as a child in his native New York after adopting a paint-by-number portrait of a German shepherd left unfinished by his mother. He never looked back, and went on to study ceramics, painting and sculpture at Eastern Michigan University and Arizona State University. A prolific public artist, Zischke and his YouTube videos were part of a show in 2010 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. His art also occupies parks in France, Italy and Japan.
Zischke has a public art installation called "Water Striders" at Scottsdale Waterfront (March 20-23) and is creating a 24-foot-high horse from stainless steel tubing for WestWorld of Scottsdale. "I am driven to create every single day," Zischke says. "That is what I do. I am a conceptual person making something new all the time."
The Spark! festival takes place March 19-23 at Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St., Mesa. "Dragonflies" will be on view for three weeks beginning March 14. See more of Zischke's work at jeffzischke.com.