Tristin-Lowe

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Tristin Lowe - Mocha Dick

Mocha Dick is a 52-foot-long recreation of the real-life albino sperm whale that in the nineteenth century terrorized whaling vessels near Mocha Island in the South Pacific. Mocha Dick, was described in appearance “he was as white as wool”, in an 1839 magazine article from The Knickerbocker, engaged in battle with numerous whaling expeditions, often sinking smaller boats, and was a source of inspiration for Herman Melville’s epic Moby Dick.

Mocha Dick,  2009, wool felt, vinyl coated fabric, and internal fan,127 x 165 x 609 inches. in Collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum Phila. PA

It’s so lifelike, you have to touch it. More than 52-feet long and 10-feet high, Tristin Lowe’s ghostly (ghastly) white sperm whale installation, Mocha Dick has the look and feel of an awesome creature of the sea. Made out of industrial wool that mimics whale flesh with its gashes, harpoon scars, and wooly barnacles, Lowe’s work is a marvel of ingenuity. 

tristin lowe, mocha dick, at VMFA.

Tristin Lowe’s colossal sculpture Mocha Dick is a fifty-two-feet-long recreation of the real-life albino sperm whale that terrorized early 19th-century whaling vessels near Mocha Island in the South Pacific. Mocha Dick, described in appearance as “white as wool,” engaged in battle with numerous whaling expeditions and inspired Herman Melville’s epic Moby-Dick (1851). Lowe worked with the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia to make the sculpture: a large-scale vinyl inflatable understructure sheathed in white industrial felt.

What better way to celebrate the Lunar New Year? This is the final week to catch Tristin Lowe: Under the Influence, featuring “Lunacy,” a 12 ½-feet-in-diameter rendering of the moon in intricately shaped and stitched white felt. On view in the Perelman Building’s Joan Spain Gallery  through January 29. 

Shooting Star - Percent for Art Artist Tristin Lowe

Image: Tristin Lowe. Shooting Star, Anodized aluminum.  4’x4” x 4’4” x 30’2”.


In September 2014, Tristin Lowe completed Shooting Star, a new Percent for Art project at the recently completed state-of-the-art SWAT/Bomb Disposal Unit/K-9 Headquarters in Northeast Philadelphia.  The artwork measures 4’4” in diameter by 30’2” long.  It is composed of an array of powder-coated aluminum elements that are derived from cultural patterns found throughout the world.  As a composite, the elements represent strength and unity within Philadelphia’s Special Forces units.  

The artwork was dedicated on March 23, 2015 by Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, and Chief Cultural Officer Helen Haynes.

Percent for Art Project Manager Jacque Liu sat down with Tristin Lowe to talk about his work. 

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We're totally normal.... for art kids.

If we were regular, we might freak out and ask for a photo with a famous movie star or musician. Instead, we have the same reaction to seeing a real-life artist in the museam next to his work and hastly ask for a group photo and then hyper-ventalate afterwards for at least 15 minutes.

Totally normal teenager stuff, ya know.

The Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy Announce “Shooting Star,” a New Public Art Commission by Tristin Lowe at the Special Weapons and Tactics/Bomb Disposal/Police K-9 Unit Headquarters - March 26, 2015

Photograph courtesy of the artist

PHILADELPHIA – The Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy’s Percent for Art Program, the Philadelphia Department of Public Property, and the Philadelphia Police Department are pleased to announce the completion of Shooting Star, a new site-specific public artwork by Philadelphia-based artist Tristin Lowe.  

Located at the recently completed SWAT/BDU/K-9 (Special Weapons and Tactics/Bomb Disposal/Police K-9 Unit) facility in the Northeast Philadelphia, the artwork is 32’ 2" long and 4’ 4” in diameter.  It is composed of an array of powder-coated aluminum elements that, as a composite, represent the strength and unity of Philadelphia’s Special Forces units.  Lowe states that he wanted “to create a sculpture of a shooting star meant to embody the exceedingly high standards and achievement of these elite police units.”  The artwork was dedicated by Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Chief of Staff Everett Gillison, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, and Chief Cultural Officer Helen Haynes on March 23, 2015.

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