I thought we wouldtry something different today. I was privileged to have a conversation with designer to try and understand what makes them work so tirelessly and give energy to the everyday items around us. The Pleasure of seeing something fashioned in to a piece of beauty and the inspiration behind the process. Meet Kyle Buckner of www.kylebucknerdesigns.com Kyle is an American artist with a flare for the unique and elegant. Some of the best peices in design are cross over designs from other industries. Let us watch to see the shape revisited in footwear. Enjoy-Shoes www.designershoesblog.com Bill Dowling
What was the event or career path decision that took you into furniture design as apposed to another artistic direction?
KB- I can remember in my middle and high school years, I would draw furniture designs in most of my classes. I had planned on building some basic furniture pieces and attempting to sell them in my front yard on the weekends. However, when I was coming around the age of 15/16, cars were a popular topic. My father currently owns a Home theater and Car audio store, which specializes in custom installation of both fields since 1978. (Sounds Unlimited INC.,www.esoundsunlimited.com ) I started working there, as an installer in which I would install radios, DVD players, etc. I fell in love with it, and started getting heavy into custom installations in vehicles. I would live at the shop, putting tons of hours into creating these custom fabricated audio enclosures that fit the car specifically. After a few years, I began to catch some attention from company manufacturers and magazines all over the world. I was known for attention to detail in my work, and making designs that would fit vehicles as if it came from the factory. I started writing how-to articles in the Do-It-yourself section in the back of Car Audio & Electronics Magazine. These articles showed the step-by-step process in a very detailed description to the audience. This was distributed nationally. From then, they featured a few installs I had done as feature vehicles. I was invited to Rockford Fosgate’s, Top Gun Training in Arizona, where only 19 worldwide were invited. This was around the time in 2008 when the economy sloped, and people started to prioritize away from custom installations in their vehicle. Meanwhile, I was still young, and wanted to pursue something I could build with my hands, use my techniques I already knew, and move towards a new door that I seen a future in. So, I moved towards furniture, and you can’t get me away from it.
What are your background information school, apprenticeship, and overlapping career?
KB-While doing all the car audio installations, I attended Danville Community College right after High School, studying Electronics. I graduated with a diploma in that, and began to pursue graphic design. I did this through the Community College as well. However, I transferred to VCU in Richmond, VA to continue the graphic design degree. VCU offers a mandatory Art Foundation Program or AFO. You have to submit a portfolio to get into the school, and the AFO is a foundation program that allows you to explore different fields. This allowed students to touch all aspects of the school, before applying into a specific field. This helped out a lot because it still did not affect the four-year term needed. I was introduced to a Space research, Surface Research, Time studio, and Drawing studio courses in the AFO. Space research was one of my favorites. I got to build a lot of pieces, and this required a lot of craftsmanship, and with my previous car audio training and techniques, I was very fortunate. I can remember the professor had been making us create things out of different materials. The first material was wire, and the wire varied in different sizes as well. We had to think of something 3-d that we were going to make out of wire, which could have been anything. Everyone was supposed to come in with their wire, tools, and thoughts of what we were making. I had completely forgot about it and hadn't thought of anything, but I had my tools. So I had to have something that day, so the guy beside me had a key chain, which had a small cow on it. I asked him if I could borrow it, so I began working. I finished within a few days, and when I turned it in, she said it "was the best wire sculpture she had ever seen". She immediately ran out of the class with it and showed it to the other professors. I then gave them my permission to donate it to the Art Foundation.
The next project was to make something out of wire, and then skin it. It had to be something that attached to our body somehow, and served a purpose. So I created a piece that attached to the arm, and had three LEDs that lit up towards the end of the hand. The idea was to shine on whatever your hand was working on. I then used my car audio past, and skinned it with plastic and smoothing everything out with bondo, priming, and then painting it. When I turned it in, I noticed the teacher was getting kind of mad. SO she came up to me and said"Kyle, we were supposed to make our projects, not buy them". So then i had taken pictures of the step-by-step process. So i showed her , and it blew her away. She then again ran out of class to show the others.
Then, We had to make something out of cardboard that was taller than ourselves, so I chose the Chrysler building. I Went out and bought a ton of cardboard, and started building. The project was due in two weeks, so I figured I had time to get into some detail. I consumed over 50 hours in this project, cutting over 1500 windows exactly 1 1/8" x 1". They were all spaced out evenly, and the building ended up being around 10' tall. VCU displayed this piece on campus.
Our assignment was to pick our "precious object", or something that was important to us, and create a pedestal out of wood to hold it up. It took me forever to think of something, but my iPhone definitely fit the subject. I am absolutely crazy about Apple products, and most-certainly their iPhone. So now that the object was chosen, it was time to get started on the pedestal. The pedestal had to be around 3-4' tall, made out of wood, and somehow relate to our Precious object. VCU has a wood-shop, and we were allowed to work in there during our class-time. I would work in there, but it was no way I was going to finish by just using our class-time, so I began buying some tools. I would work on things at school, and then take them back to my apartment to finish. It came down to the night before it was due, and I was still working. I can even remember my room-mate (matt long) running up to me and saying "kyle, it's 3 o'clock in the morning!", as I had my band-saw running. I just figured it couldn't be any louder than our Washing machine! I just knew that I had to have it done by 8:45 class in a few hours. I finally finished around 4 o'clock in the morning and stayed up until class from fear of oversleeping. My pedestal had consisted of small icons which symbolized what the iphone features, and were all hand cut. I then added a few Apple logos , one large one as the base, as well as a small one at the top. The icons were all connected to a rod in the middle, which spins in the middle of the pedestal. I was highly motivated on this project, and was pretty excited with the finished piece, especially with around just 30 hours consumed by it. I then took it to the class, and set it up in our critique room, and everyone loved it. They were really impressed with the detail work. I really liked this project as well, so I felt like I should send some pictures to Apple, just to show my support. I searched everywhere trying to find an e-mail to them, and came up with nothing. I then went to the Richmond Apple store, and while I was buying something, I thought I'd ask if they knew one? I told them it was a school project, and just wanted to send them some pictures. I then started attempting to explain it, but ended up just asking him if he had time to look at some pictures. The next thing I know, I had around 15 employees surrounding me, passing around my phone. It then stops at a very well-dressed man, and it sits down, and starts flipping through them. He then stood up and shook my hand, and said "where is this display", and it was currently displayed at VCU so I told him. Then he asked when it was coming off display there, because he wanted to display it in the apple store we were standing in. Gizmodo ended up featuring the piece and it received about 8 thousand hits in no time. Mac life Magazine published it in one of there magazines as well. I ended up making an acrylic hand-made clock for the apple store’s favorite customer. You can see this clock on my website. I’ve done a few apple inspired pieces since then, as you can see on my website. One “bookart” project in my Surface research class was published on the web by Gizmodo, and received 130,000 hits in less than 24 hours. They had a link to my website and it actually caused my site to shut down from the flow of traffic. It was made out of wood, which I painted and drawn high detailed images on it to look like a macbook. One magazine actually wrote an article on the blog fight alone about whether or not the piece was a real computer. Another piece I made was featured later in Mac Life magazine as well, called the “iPhone featured”(you can see this on my site). I’ve done many other pieces that caught some attention, if you need more information on this let me know.
As function is important what do you find the most interesting piece you have down that combines art and function?
KB-Maybe the end-tables, or lounge chair. I feel like these are some very interesting pieces to look at due to the shape and detail. I enjoy standing back, and looking at these pieces. I look at the end tables and sort of separate them form their function in my head, thinking that they might even be successful as a sculpture itself. The layered look creates a very unique feel also, which is quite enjoyable to look at.
Do you ever think that a piece is not complete? Or do you go back to certain pieces until they are more functional?
KB- I always look at pieces after and wish I had done some things different. But I try to just learn from it and move to the next idea. I like to build as many pieces as I can, but in an appropriate way. I feel like I have so many ideas, and designs I want to bring to life, but so little time. All I can do is just keep moving.
I believe your pieces are beautiful and unique do you ever get that feeling on a particular piece?
KB- I do get pretty excited after I accomplish what I wanted, and the piece is in the final stages. I begin to catch myself towards the end, not wanting to leave the piece. I will stand there for a while just looking at what works on the piece, and what I could have done to create more of what I wanted. I want to create a piece that people want to look at, and if that is accomplished, I feel like I am moving in the right direction.
Do you ever know that's a winner when you make it?
KB- I enjoy a level of craftsmanship. When I make a piece, I like to create a ‘wow factor” in my work. Well, I attempt too. So I consider a good piece of furniture, something that makes sense, well thought out, and was skillfully crafted. I like to ask myself when I look at the piece ”How did they do that?” I also enjoy looking at pieces that I feel took a long time to finish. I’m not really sure why I enjoy this, but I always have respected time spent on someone’s work.
A winner to me, on my work, is to create a piece I feel makes sense, and if enjoyable to look at. I love unique pieces, that you can’t find everywhere. In every piece, I try to create a design that I feel hasn’t been brought to the table yet. Something that will not be overlooked, and will draw the audience closer to view the details and the attention that has been applied.
Please let me know what you favorite piece is right now?
KB-My favorite piece would be the lounge chair that I recently made. I feel like this piece came the closest to bringing my thoughts to life. But I have so many designs left that I can’t wait to bring out. All that I have brought to the table so far is only the beginning.
If you could please describe what you think you will work on next?
KB- I have many designs that I am currently working on. I have a few chair designs, as well as a cocktail table. I am also working on a kitchen table design for a customer in DC. I am super excited about this. I should have it completed by the end of October.
I plan to have an entire corresponding collection. From the couch, chairs, end-tables, coffee tables, everything to complete the room.
I just can’t get these designs out fast enough!
I plan on having my own line of furniture out as well. I want a collection in which is manufactured, and a line that is hand-made by myself. I enjoy hand-building pieces, and would love to offer this option. The hand-crafted selection will be offered with a lead time. I am now accepting orders for most of my current designs today.
I also love to design specific pieces for homes. This could involve working off of a picture of the interior of the dedicated room, or the customer’s thoughts of how they would like the piece to look. I will then use my creativity to sketch out highly detailed sketches, and we tweak these until the customer is happy. After both ends have been cleared, we execute the custom build. This way, we create a very successful contract to build a piece specifically for the room. I really enjoy this type of contract.
What else would you like to tell me about this field?
KB- Take everyone’s advice in consideration, but be you. Create your work the way you want to create it. There are no set guidelines to anything, and there will always be some other piece you feel is better than your own, but this creates drive. This creates passion. Just do your best to bring your idea to life, and then you’ve succeeded.
My goal is to create very unique furniture. I want to bring a whole different vibe and energy to the industry. Non-traditional, completely unique and interesting pieces. Very detailed oriented, and very elegant.
Thank You Kyle for your artistic insights please go to www.kylebucknerdesigns.com for more of Kyle's elegant and wonderful creations. Sincerely Bill Dowling www.designershoesblog.com