If you’ve ever read the plaque beneath the kinetic “pencil sculpture” on the lawn to the west of Ellison Hall, you know that “Flying Pencils” was created by Peter Logan in 1986 and acquired by the UCSB Art Museum as a gift from the David Bermant Foundation in 1996.
Logan was born in Witney, Oxfordshire, UK in 1943 and studied at the Oxford School of Art (1961-63), the Camberwell School of Art (London, 1963-66), and the Slade School of Fine Art, specializing in theatre and film studies, from 1966-68. He began making kinetic sculptures in 1968, and his early pieces were powered by electricity and were controlled electronically. From 1978 he has worked on outdoor sculpture using wind power, the character and strength of the wind determining movement (see . Logan has exhibited in London’s Tate Gallery, the Hayward Gallery, the Royal College of Art, and the Whitechapel Art Gallery, and his creations have been installed in places as diverse as the mountains of Switzerland and the North Sea of Holland, not to mention the UCSB campus. Logan works closely with engineers and architects and has recently been working on a new generation of solar and wind powered kinetic sculptures.
According to the UCSB Art Museum, “The fine balance and sinuous motion in Flying Pencils also rely on carefully engineered elements. Logan began experimenting with pencil sculptures on a working trip to France with engineer Peter Fry in 1982. The design for this piece was refined over several years and was modified again in 1996 for its installation at UCSB. Extending 27 feet into the sky, the stainless steel and aluminum pencils are a symbol of harmony between nature and technology, and a whimsical reference to the ongoing academic and creative work on campus.”
Article by Bill Norrington