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The Modern Airport Experience

In thinking about ‘Architecture’ as a theme for a piece of art, I kept coming back to the connection between the structure itself and human need for that structure. All structures are built with a purpose, but in our world today we require more than that. In addition to practical functionality, we also want to be comfortable and to feel good when we’re in the space. To meet those needs modern airports are much more than pathways from the parking lot to the plane. For one the exteriors are designed by world class architects to make an important statement about the community.

But it is the terminal interiors that inspire me. They are lofty, awe-inspiring spaces intended to prepare you to fly off on a grand adventure, or at least give you the confidence that you’ll get to your destination with the minimum of worry. I wanted this piece to focus on the height and elaborate construction of the ceiling, but at the same time I had to wonder how many people actually look up. They are all standing there barefoot, waiting for their belongings to pass through security while visions of airplanes fly through their minds.

For this piece I took several pictures of the Houston, Texas William P. Hobby Airport terminal. I selected a photo and had it printed onto cotton fabric.

My next step was to cut the fabric image into varies parts and fuse them onto commercially available fabric with a dark marbleized pattern. With that I could emphasize the edges of the building design, and develop my composition

I spent a significant amount of time placing the individual pieces and adding a couple of duplicate images until I was happy with the composition. I wanted the emphasis to be on the building and not the people, so I used a wash of grey acrylic paint to fade them out. Then I machine stitched over all in a random pattern that, to my mind, suggested the patterns on a flight radar screen. But it still needed something, something else not necessarily in the photo. In the end I used glitter tule to add ghost images of airplanes to the stitched flight lines. It’s a bit of whimsy that suggest all those people waiting for their belongings are thinking only of the getting off the ground.

Cindy Brendzel,

Here is a photo of the finished piece. The title is ‘The Modern Airport Experience’. It measure 24 inches square.

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