Public Private

Filled under: Art

Date posted: April 15, 2011


 Public Private was a regional juried exhibit created and hosted by PONSHOP of Fredericksburg, Virginia April 2011.

PONSHOP Art Studio and Gallery of Fredericksburg, Virginia

PONSHOP Art Studio and Gallery of Fredericksburg, Virginia

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“‘Public/Private’, will challenge participating artists to explore the relationship between the public and private realms of our lives and how those associations manifest themselves in our everyday environment.”

Public: (adj.) Open to the knowledge of judgement of all.

Private: (adj.) Secluded from the sight, presence or inclusion of others.


My interpretation of the prospectus led to me think of how people tend to live two lives: a public life and a private life. How we act and what we say often varies whether we are in public or in the privacy of our homes. My first piece I wanted to explore more of our state of mind than our physical actions.





The piece  itself is made from 3/4″ thick MDF, 23″ tall, and 17″ wide. The finish is black satin lacquer. Each of the eight lettering rows has a dedicated LED color strip with each rows brightness independently controlled by a PICmicro MCU using the two white buttons on the front. The lighting pattern breaks the top and bottom halves up to indicate a grouped relationship.

A quick video:


The chosen words represent opposing states of mind. In public, an attitude of friendliness and happiness gets us further than an attitude of gloom and misanthropy. In public we may choose to only search for rainbows, but in private we might only find storm clouds. In public we may tend to network with others ( with friendliness, but in private we may view others ( with contempt.

We tend to hide our what is on our minds for more of a people friendly mindset. We hold a smile as if we are thinking about kittens, but once we are at home our minds may tend to race with stinging thoughts like scorpions.

All and all, I think my goal of conveying the notion we hold two mindsets, one for the public and one for our privates selves, has failed. In my opinion, if art needs an explanation, the message is unclear and purpose has not been achieved.

My next piece I attempted to simplify the notion using a comic.





The piece itself is constructed by several layers of 1/4″ thick HDF finished with satin black lacquer at 22″ tall and 17.5″ wide. The two illuminated panels are .220″ thick acrylic engraved on my CNC machine.

What we say in public varies from what we say in private. Take for instance a young child playing and pretending he or she is a unicorn. The adult being a generally friendly person replies with generic placating acknowledgement of the kids enthusiastic declaration. However, in private and amount peers, the adults true opinion comes to light.

My last piece I wanted to look more at our actions than thoughts or words:






The piece itself is made of multiple layers of 1/4″ thick expanded PVC at 17″ tall and 8″ wide. The two acrylic panes were engraved on my CNC router table.

In private we tend to act our natural selves without hesitation due to a lack of possible judgements. However, in public we are greatly concerned with how other judge us, therefore our actions are influenced by the observation of other in the public realm.

In private one may indulge and enjoy a tasty pie. While in public one may hold their desire in  order to appear constrained with self-control.


Well that’s all I have for Public Private. I did not place this year. My media is hit or miss depending on the judges personal preferences. See entries by other artists for Public Private by visiting the PONSHOP blog archive post:

See my lasts years entry for Square City.

Cutting the acrylic: