The two polygons with empty centers represent the rings that the ball had to go through for a team to win (even though there was only 1 ring per court).
Did you know some of these rings were placed up to 6 meters off the ground?!
The zigzagging polygon represents Aztec feathered serpent deity, Quetzalcoatl, the boundary-maker and transgressor between earth and sky. Quetzalcoatl appears in Mesoamerican architecture and art. The following image shows the snake diagonally, as it appears on this grid, along the side of a pyramid.
The seemingly random dots represent rubber balls used in the ballgame, which were actually made of real rubber. When looking at Quetzalcoatl and the rubber balls as portrayed in this piece it’s almost impossible to not think of the snake game that came preloaded on Nokia phones for a few years.
I associate circuit boards with Mesoamerican art because of the geometric shapes/patterns and the earthly/jade green color they both tend to use. With all these memories of Mesoamerican cultures and vintage videogames combining, I felt it would appropriate to finish off the piece with something involving a circuit board and my own experience playing games that involved magic and fantasy.
The piece’s canvas was inspired by a video accelerator card, which is mainly used to enable computers to run games with better graphics, or a classic Nintendo cartridge, which is very similar, but fits the square shape better.
Anybody wanna play some Aztec Ball 3000? Let me just blow on this cartridge...
I created gridz sometime around November 8, 2013, which is Hermann Rorschach's birthday. Rorschach was a psychologist that developed the famous "inkblots test" as a psychoanalysis method. The idea of something so seemingly-simple as an inkblot provoking such deep-rooted thoughts to surface fascinated me.
Another concept behind gridz is Piet Mondrian’s style of abstraction (i.e. Broadway Boogie-Woogie). Mondrian abstracted or “simplified” his compositions to the extent of reducing elements to vertical and horizontal lines and primary colors. Similarly, gridz are highly abstracted and limited which makes creating them a straight-forward and relatively simple process (like inkblots!). Ironically, this abstraction and simplicity are what allow gridz to serve as windows to deeper and more complex ideas. In other words, gridz speak directly and clearly, with minimal interference so that the minds of both creators and viewers can take the spotlight.
Gridz share many similarities with mandalas: spiritual and ritual symbols used in Hinduism and Buddhism for meditation and trance induction. Mandalas are generally square-shaped and use symmetry, repetition, radial balance, and many other elements that are also common in gridz. These stylistic elements in combination with a variety of shapes can make gridz highly meditative, taking both the creator and viewer on a journey of self-discovery through association. This process of meditation and discovery is very personal and can differ greatly between viewer and creator.
Other styles of art using similar elements to gridz are:
Regarding the use of descriptive/creative gridz titles: Initially, before completing the 30 Gridz Series, I had envisioned eliminating the use of creative/descriptive names for gridz and adding this restriction to the list of characteristics listed above. The intention behind this restriciton was to extend the minimalist nature of gridz and prevent any additional influence that the title may cause on the observer. For instance, if I called a grid "Bird", the viewer would immediatly think of a bird before even experiencing the piece. Instead, for the 30 Gridz Series I used a sequence of title names in the follwoing format: "Grid-XX". After completing the 30 Gridz Series and experimentally tagging them with descriptive names, I noticed the pieces were instantly more popular--people liked being guided by the title. I decided to make the use of suggestive titles optional, but in its purest form girdz will have non-descriptive titles.