Making "Bullet Train" (2011)
Made in collaboration with Espen Henningsen this consists of a huge aluminum relief mounted on a 22 meters long wallpainting. It is meant to be our version of a modern train hurdling through the abstract nature, giving off an energy field as it cuts through the air, and leaves a trail of fragmented colors and shapes.
Placed in the mess hall of the school for train mechanics in Drammen, we wanted to make something appropriate and cool, and trains are definitely cool. The wall we were given as a canvas was 22 meters long and 3 meters high, and we wanted to fill all of it. For an opportunity like this there is no need to be subtle.
When it comes to a large project like this, everything has to be planned out. Every part of the end result has gone through careful consideration, especially the aluminum train relief where so many pieces fit together and has to align with the wallpainting.
I make the train on the computer in vector form with all the layers on top of each other making sure every part is at the right position and distance from the part below. This is the cut on a waterjet in aluminum. From there it has to be sanded, stud-welded, primed, wet-sanded and painted. It’s a long process but in the end very much worth it.
After the whole thing is assembled it is off to the actual site to begin the wallpainting and mounting of the train. This time the relief was so big and complicated it was made out of several sections so it took some time to mount properly. Even a centimeter off would have consequences when the next piece was mounted. We did this simultaneously as the wallpainting.
For the wallpainting we chose 16 colors with color-codes to be the perfect fit from the sketch. Much like the train, but not nearly as complicated, there is an order in which the colors are painted. Each color is first taped up and then painted with two coats.
The end result is a massive train driving past as you have your lunch. It’s very cool to be a contributor to public art like this, where it can be impact people who maybe wouldn’t regularly see that much art. We were at least very happy with the result.