LIFE IN FLUX – To Challenge Apathy in the 21st Century

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"I love fresh ideas about everything". Adriana Siso founded her contemporary industrial design store in 2002 in Santa Fe, NM. With a background in Fine Arts, Adriana has been an innovator, bringing to the Santa Fe area, original and unique industrial design products by some of the most creative design firms in the world.

The first design partners Molecule worked with were Vitra Design Museum, Moooi, Cherner Chair, and other well-known national and international brands. Today it partners with other world-class manufacturers like Vondom, Loll Designs and Moroso.

Molecule operated out of a recycled and renovated shipping container building, the first of its kind in Santa Fe. Currently Molecule is available through the online store and by appointment.

Sustainability is an important area of interest and ongoing exploration for Molecule, which offers product lines with a focus on conservation and ecological stewardship. A recent alliance with the Vertical Aeroponic Growing System – Tower Garden, promises to offer a lot of inspiration in the growing field of aeroponics as the future of agriculture, industrial design at its best.

“My sole aim is to leave everything in suspension, in flux, in order to avoid our community solidifying into a conventional academy. Our initial resources may be few, but our spirits are high, receptive, and excited, and that seems to me to be the most important thing right now”.

Walter Gropius, architect, founder of the Bauhaus School

At Molecule Design 
1226 Flagman Way, Santa Fe NM
Opening reception: 5pm to 7pm, May 31, 2019
Work on display through July 31, 2019

In a time where living demands homogeneity and compliance, the passionate creative voice of four local Santa Fe contemporary artist-designers is distinctly singular and clear.  What remains curious and inspired after meaning is lost is what connects their work. How to draw nearness from the vastness of the inner chasm, the personal solitude that reflects a world that alienates? The line that connects them in fragility, self-confidence, humor, grit, transcendence, growth, and ultimately transformation, shows the edge between realities and the fierce by-product of a survival instinct turned to poetry, metaphor, satire, beauty, and commerce. Power couple Michael Jantzen and Ellen Jantzen, artist-entrepreneur extraordinaire, Justin Crowe, and audacious sculptor-funambulist Jamie Hamilton challenge the familiar and invite us to reflect and deepen in the timeless emotions that emerge from fear, life and death preoccupations, adaptability and infinite evolution. As if from a zero-zone of antigravity suspension, this is the place where true innovation unfolds. Disciplines merge, and new thought processes are born from recurrent cycles of change.

Jamie Hamilton – Jamie Hamilton is a sculptor and aerialist currently living in Los Angeles, California.  Drawing from a background in building, sport, and music, Hamilton’s work evokes precarious and mythic themes such as dreams, death, and love.  Desire and its perils fuel the work’s exploration as it traverses methodologies of structure and physical capacities by asking viewers to realize the ever presence of wonder. Hamilton holds a BA from Bard College and a MFA from Transart University.  He currently works as an artist, freelance designer, and builder. Jamie has shown extensively in New Mexico, California, New York, and Germany.

life in flux
Jamie Hamilton, 2015, steel, nylon, neoprene, aluminum, 70’h x 260’w x 150’d

Clandestine Walks is one of Jamie’s aerial explorations on the natural and urban landscapes.

“There is a quote by Marcel Duchamp “America’s greatest works of art are her bridges and her plumbing.”  I love looking at the power lines’ graceful arc as they run between pylons… They are challenging inaccessible structures that defy easy relation. I feel them beckon. They are lonely in their utility, bored with their purpose.  They want to be played upon, to give a stage to those who dare.”

Jamie Hamilton

As engineer designer, fabricator, and performer, Hamilton takes a stance on total responsibility, perfectly weaving his containment nets or building the aerial structures upon which his life depends. The work can be summed up as an experiment in possibility, the construction of a bridge connecting idea and intention to action and creation. Using mirrors, steel, and magnets to explore the interaction of invisible force with tangible material, Hamilton investigates paradox and the confusion which arises from a mind that believes itself separate from experiential phenomena.

Up-is-Down is an 8’ high steel, glass, and aluminum sculpture, part of the Incompleteness Theorem series, which is a monumental land art performance project involving high wire walking, design, building, and physical training.  Jamie’s sculptures for this project are directly connected to the tenacity and precariousness of survival that reflects the reality of error, where misconceptions on his part can be costly. As the Stomach Bleeds, is made of steel, glass, and rubber.

up is down jamie hamilton - life in flux
Up is Down 2015, steel, glass, aluminum, 8’h x 3’w x 3’d. Will be on view at Molecule

Jamie’s sculptures and high wire performances have been featured in Voyage LA; Vasari21; Art and Cake; Los Angeles Times; LA HOME; Adobe Airstream; ArtNews; Santa Fe New Mexican Pasatiempo; Welding Journal and THE Magazine to name a few. He has participated in Currents-New Media Festival, shown at Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art, Axel Contemporary, CCA, Site Santa Fe, Museum of Fine Arts. Recent solo exhibitions, at Torrance Art Museum, California, and Santa Fe Institue. Hamilton was the Finalist for the 2017 Site Santa Fe Spread Grant Award, and in 2017 and 2018 Jamie was nominated for The American Academy for the Arts and Letters Art Award.

Justin Crowe – Justin Crowe is a conceptual ceramic artist and entrepreneur originally from Northeast Ohio. In 2011 he received his BFA from Alfred University, in New York. Justin has created witty sculptural artwork about our culture’s role in new technologies such as mobile tech, QR Codes, and online social networks. Recently Justin has been the founder and CEO of a few ceramic production businesses, that he runs at the moment.

Two of his most hilarious projects are PAUL, a Kickstarter project, lightweight life-size foam-cast human figure as contemporary design object for the home or a community charger to inspire creativity in the workplace. The first Paul was completed in January 2014 and he has been exhibited at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in California and was selected as a finalist in the DATA (Design Art and Technology Awards) competition in Pittsburgh, PA. The other project is Selfie Arm, a collaboration with Aric Snee. Fascinated by the idea of technology and its illusionary ‘connectedness’ and ‘sociableness’, Snee and Crowe created the ‘Selfie Arm’, the sarcastic solution to a quintessential problem — nobody wants to look alone while they mindlessly snap pictures of themselves. When you take your selfie, you look like you’re holding someone’s hand. Selfie Arm went into a limited edition production run.

“I’m on a quest for experiences that bring richness to life in the Digital Age. My artwork and businesses have impacted over 500 million people worldwide through viral marketing.”

Justin Crowe
  • paul phone charger
  • tile composition

A natural interdisciplinary–clear representation of our current times–Justin’s talents have taken him through the path of an Author and Managing Director of various culture magazines, like DesignFave, a successful visual culture blog; and Director of Operations at CFile Foundation, an educational resource for ceramic art, design, architecture, and technology.

But what he is mostly known for at the moment is his involvement in the Cremation Business. After the death of his grandfather several years ago, Crowe thought that there must be a better way to memorialize a loved one other than to load their remains into a very expensive box and then bury it in the ground, or keep cremated remains in a jar in the closet. He thought there might be a way to use his art to create a tangible, even everyday-usable memorial. This opened an innovative direction towards an industry that is expanding and re-thinking its death-care future.

Justin thought about incorporating cremated remains with the more common ingredients of clay, feldspar, and flint to create the glaze for ceramic objects. This is how Chronicle Cremation Designs was born, developing products that include cremation jewelry, candle luminaries, coffee mugs, cremation urns, and more. At 28, Crowe became the first to commercialize the creation of ceramic artwork made in part from cremated remains.

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Cup, Chronicle Cremation Designs

“I got a call from a woman who said, ‘My husband died about six months ago and he always wanted to be turned into dinnerware.’ I was like, ‘Well, you’ve come to the right place.’ So I am making a coffee cup for her right now glazed with her husband.”

He said the call prompted him to create a place setting consisting of a plate, a bowl, a salad plate, a coffee cup, and a whiskey glass, the line was named Lifeware. The rest is history. Now Justin is a leader in the funeral industry. He is currently working with many funeral homes offering his products. The service has expanded to pet remains. Justin has also become an Author and Managing Editor for Connecting Directors, the premier progressive online publication for funeral professionals.

There’s nothing stopping Justin Crowe. In 2018, he founded his latest company, Parting Stone. Justin will be featuring products from his Parting Stones focus at Molecule.

“In collaboration with Los Alamos National Laboratory, we developed a remarkable technology to transform cremated remains into clean, touchable, beautiful stones called Purified Remains. Purified remains are a solid alternative to cremated remains in the form of white polished stones the size of pebbles. The result of our purification process is a clean, convenient, touchable, and beautiful new form of human remains. Purified Remains can be displayed tastefully in glass containers, shared with family, and carried with you daily as a memento. When a family chooses cremation in a funeral home, the funeral director will ask “Do you want to receive the remains as cremated remains or as purified remains?”

Justin Crowe

The Purified Remains startup won Justin the 2018 Santa Fe bizMIX Competition top prize. He has been featured in Ceramic Monthly, Design Boom, CQ, CNET, CNN, Digital Trends, The Santa Fe New Mexican,The Guardian, NPR, Mashable, and the Today Show.

Ellen Jantzen – Ellen Jantzen was born and raised in St. Louis Missouri. Her early college years were spent obtaining a degree in graphic arts; later focusing on fine art. Ellen spent two years at FIDM (the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in downtown Los Angeles and received her advanced degree in 1992. After a few years working in the industry, including several years at Mattel Toy Company as a senior project designer, she became disillusioned with the corporate world and longed for a more creative outlet. Having been trained in computer design while at Mattel, Ellen continued her training on her own using mostly Photoshop software.

Ellen doesn’t consider herself a “photographer” but rather an image-maker, as she creates work that bridges the world of photography, prints, and collage. As digital cameras began producing an excellent resolution, Ellen found her perfect medium. It was a true confluence of technical advancements and creative desire that culminated in her current explorations in the photographic arts, using both a camera to capture imagery, and a computer to alter, combine, and manipulate the pieces.

life in flux
Equilibrium, from the series Unexpected Geology, print available at Molecule

Ellen’s work has been shown and published internationally and nationally. She has received many awards spanning an extended career. Some of the most important in recent years: Finalist – One Eyeland’s Top 10 Landscape Photographers 2018; Fine Arts Winner Rangefinders 2018 Photography Awards; The Photography Gala Awards  chose Ellen’s work to be featured in the 5th Biennale of Fine Art & Documentary Photography October 4-21, Barcelona Spain; Gold Winner in the Annual Tokyo International Foto Awards (Fine Art-Special Effects, Professional) for her series, Coming Into Focus; the Winners Exhibition at ICA Gallery, Tokyo from May 12-16; Special Photographer Of The Year in the International Photography Awardsand 1st Place Winner in the International Photography Awards-Digitally Enhanced Category. Ellen Jantzen’s work has been commissioned multiple times and is in prestigious corporate and individual collections worldwide.

“I was working on my series, Disturbing The Spirits when my parents suddenly died. Place of Departure is the work I have done since… I feel that my life has fundamentally changed, but sometimes all seems the same. Where did my father go? Are my parents now united? What does life mean after it leaves its body? Does the life-force rise and connect the terrestrial with the celestial or does it evaporate into thin air?… I now speak with clouds, the earth…with trees. Words fail me.”

Ellen Jantzen
  • sylvan -c-print

Michael Jantzen – Michael Jantzen is a well-known, intensely prolific, international artist and designer. His work merges art, architecture, science, technology, and sustainable design. In the 70s he received a BS from Southern Illinois University, and an MFA from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. Not trained as an architect, yet Jantzen has used architecture to conceive inventive ideas about how to manipulate and rediscover the built environment. Most of his work explores the habitable space, where he injects sustainable functionality and metaphorical references about the ever-transforming needs of its occupants. Jantzen’s endlessly innovative objectives allude to the continuously shifting, fast-paced world we live in, and offer creative solutions to inhabit spaces that can change as we do, that are transformable, interactive, modular, and relocatable, and at the same time, beautiful.

malleable house michael jantzen - life in flux
The Malleable Autonomous Retreat House, an interactive house that can change its shape to accommodate changing needs. There will be an M-Retreat model on view at Molecule
life in flux
Space-Time Transformation Light Sculpture, painted acrylic. On view at Molecule

Part of Michaels’s collections and series’ are functional objects and digitally modified images of his wife and himself, some using a great sense of humor. 

Space-Time Transformation Light Sculpture was inspired by the concept in physics of a space-time continuum that illustrates the movement of an object in space and time. Michael explains that in this case, parts of a cube appear to be moving out from each of its faces in the form of six square frames.  Each of the frames has been slightly rotated, multiplied 10 times, and glued together. Five of these glued together frames assemblages have been attached in different directions to the center cube, which has been enclosed with translucent white plastic and contains a small light bulb. The top section of frames is removable in order to access the light bulb.

“The intended visual effect of the design was to create a physical structure through which the concentration of white light appears to be thrown out in every direction from the center of the cube. The hope is that this approach conceptually enhances the idea of a space-time continuum, through which the light itself is manipulated.”

Michael uses CNC machining to fabricate his models and sculptures.

Most of Michael’s work points to the awareness of growth and multiplication or division, as in his 3D objects and renderings or his photomontages. Objects get fragmented and deconstructed or grow fractally. Many of the sculptural and architectural works he has conceived are intended for outdoor use and public places, parks, and gardens.

  • solar house michael ellen jantzen
  • masquerading in solar house

Michael Jantzen’s work has been featured in a multitude of books, magazines and newspapers. Some of the magazines include Wallpaper; Architecture Magazine; Dezeen; TreeHugger; Architectural Digest; The AIA Journal; House & Garden; Popular Science; Domus; Elle Décor; Esquire; Dwell; Metropolis; Art Forum; and Newsweek. Newspapers include The New York Times; The Los Angeles Times; The New York Daily News; The Chicago Tribune; Der Spiegel; The Washington Star; The Kansas City Star; The Detroit Free Press; The Tampa Tribune; and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Some of the books include Architecture in the United States; Architecture Now; Architecture in the 20TH Century; The 21st Century House; Brave New Houses; Architecture Art; High Tech; The Solar Living Source Book; and the Atlas of Eco-Architecture.

life in flux
Prefabricated Modular Solar Public Gathering Place, rendering

His work has also been featured in TV documentaries. It has been exhibited at the National Building Museum; the Canadian Center for Architecture; the Harvard School of Design and Architecture; the Russian Institute of Architecture; and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 

Michael has been cited as one of the pioneers of the sustainable design movement from the 1970s, and has taught sustainable design at Washington University in St. Louis, and at the Art Center College of Art and Design, in Pasadena California. Michael has been a consultant on many projects for various organizations such as, the Herman Miller Company; Advanced Structures Inc.; BioSphere 2; e-solar; the Lawrence Hall of Science; the Buckminster Fuller Institute; the Missouri Botanical Gardens; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Washington University in St. Louis; Neiman Marcus; and NASA.

“I am very happy to have been asked by the Co-Director of Cluster for Sustainable Cities Dr. Alessandro Melis to become a member of their research group. I hope that my extensive personal research into the reinvention of the sustainable built environment will be of value to the goals of the Cluster organization.”

Michael Jantzen, April 2019

The Cluster for Sustainable Cities at the University of Portsmouth is an interdisciplinary research hub working at the interface of sustainable architecture, urban planning, social sciences, ICT and engineering. Michael was also recently invited to participate in the Venice Architecture Biennale of 2020. 

Come by to meet the artists May 31, 5 PM to 7 PM.

Life in Flux, curated by Adriana Siso, for the Art Meets Design series at Molecule Design.