Monday, September 17, 2012

The Amazing Journey - a bicycle automaton with parallax effect

Automatist Keith Newstead has made many pieces featuring bicycles, but this one has got to be one of the most intricate and grand that we've ever see here at The Automata Blog. The automaton was a commissioned piece and is titled The Amazing Journey

Th Amazing Journey

Newstead explains the origin of the piece:

John Lau has asked me to make a different version of my automaton 'Brians Brilliant Bike'. He would like me to feature his wife, Vivien, surrounded by all of their pets. He wants the automaton to remember his wedding -- such a nice thing to do.

The depiction of the human characters, John And Vivien, is lovely.

The bold colors and menagerie of the animated creatures adds tremendous amount life to the piece. This is a video you can watch more than once. Did you notice the acrobatic mouse on the front wheel of the bike? The rabbit's swagger as it conjures? The gentle swaying of the snake?

Mechanically, there is a lot to take in: pulleys, belts, linkages, joints, rotating objects as well as the metal combined with wood. Most fascinating for me, is the extremely clever rotating background. By rotating several discs behind the scene at different speeds, Newstead has simulated a parallax effect with wood and paint!

As usual, the artist has some great in-the-making photographs of the automaton on his blog. Check them out.

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