I made two new cereal boxes to place on the shelves of Hooper’s Store. When I was pasting new labels onto the old cereal boxes, I discovered that the cereal in the box had expired in 1999! We’re at work right now preparing for Season 44 – there are so many details that need to be refreshed.
The magazines for Hooper’s Store were getting kinda ratty, so I made a few new issues to add to the shelves and spruce the place up in preparation for season 44. I was using random photos from my camera’s memory card, hence the odd topics – like “Quackers,” the magazine for ducks who like to eat crackers, and “Pierogi Party,” a childrens’ magazine all about dumplings.
I designed a menu for an episode of Sesame Street where Cookie Monster auditions to join the Cookie Connoisseur’s Club, led by David Hyde Pierce as “Commander Chiphead.” The menu features such treats as snickerdoodles and shortbread and crystallized ginger cookies.
Here is a clip from the episode:
After a break between seasons that was long enough for me to complete a masters degree (Museum and Exhibit Design at FIT,) Sesame Street is going back into production, and I’ll be returning to make props and graphics for the show from now until the season wraps up in the middle of December.
I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces, both human and puppet, and spending time making things out of construction paper and glitter. Luckily there are a few “dark weeks” in the schedule to allow time for me to put the finishing touches on my portfolio and compile a list of exhibit and museum design companies that will be receiving resumes. If you have any suggestions of places that might be a good fit, please let me know!
My desk is just how I left it!
I needed to make a last-minute Halloween costume, so I glued together this mask from an old cardboard box, feathers leftover from a stork puppet I made a while back, and some felt, pipe cleaners, and – of course – a handful of plastic googly eyes.
I modified two trash cans with seats and little wheels so that they could compete in a slow and sneaky race in Central Park.
This prop was used in an Australian show called “Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year.”
I made this giant baby carriage so that a grownup could fit inside. It uses heavyweight plywood, BMX wheels, and welded steel to support a big person. Katie Akana and Jessie Voris handled the fabric and upholstery, And Katie also served as test pilot for a race down the hallway of the woodshop.
This prop was used in an Australian show called “Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year.”
The florist’s storefront on Sesame Street needed some dressin’ up, so I made this sticker for their window, along with some stickers for non-existent credit cards.[SinglePic not found]
Well, this one was a challenge. I needed to make a pair of artificial hands shaped like beer cans. Also, the cans needed to be remotely filled with beer so that the actor could drink from them. Also, they needed to explode as if they were shot with a bullet. Also, they needed to spray fountains of blood.
I needed to cut the cans open so that I could fit a plastic tube that I could use for my pneumatic hardware. Also the finish needed to be sanded off of the cans so that new labels could be applied.
Jason Singleton helped me to rig these cans up to a couple of vegetable-sprayers (filled with alternately O’Doul’s and fake blood) and lots and lots of pneumatic hose.
This foam sword pops out of a coffin and stabs someone! Since we couldn’t fit a whole sword in a coffin, and we couldn’t stab anyone for real, I made the sword in two halves.
The front half to pop out of the coffin (I rigged it to operate pneumatically,) and the hilt, which has a flat base to attach beneath a hole in the actor’s clothes. The blade is made out of silver-painted foam, and I was able to get a serrated effect by wiggling the razor blade as I cut. The hilt was made out of a goofy old gold lame’ belt, which I brushed with a light coat of brown acrylic paint.
I made this magically-opening walnut for the Adult Swim mini-series “The Heart, She Holler.” It works in a way that is similar to the old springy toy animals made out of beads that droop when you press on their plastic base.
For my version, I made a new base out of plastic tube, springs, and washers. Next I carefully cut a walnut into quarters and made tiny wire hinges so that it would flop open when the spring was discreetly pressed. It is almost impossible to get the meat out of a walnut without breaking it, so I needed to epoxy mine back together!
I was called in as a Production Manager to help out with the workshop on a Project Runway spinoff called “Project Accessory.”
The show needed someone to help organize and upkeep all of the tools and materials required to keep their team of designers busy. It was my first time working on the production end of things, and it was pretty fun! There was such a variety of techniques happening on the show – jewelry, sewing, painting, casting – the cast members all had their own specialties, and it was a challenge to keep everyone supplied.
It reminded me of my days back in the Parsons School of Design product/furniture shops – except if EVERY DAY was the day before finals!
I drew these pictures for Sesame Street – Prince Charming and a Princess involved in their day-to-day activities.
It appeared in an episode where an apple ipad was used for the the first time on the show.
Someday many years from now, my grandkids will ask me “Grandpa, were you ever a television robot star?” And I will be able to honestly tell them “Yes children, I was an EVIL television robot star.
I built this robot out of all sorts of odds-and-ends. A funnel, bucket, two mini plasma spheres to make a head, and two wheelbarrows to make a body. The legs are made from wiggle board and plywood, and then I attached a bunch of wires and junk circuit boards… with plenty of silver paint to make things look futuristic.
Courtland Premo made a remote control base for the robot by dissecting a remote-control golf bag carrier.
It gets very hot in a robot costume!
I built this machine to sequentially shoot a contestant in the toes with rubber bands.
The mechanism works with screws which are placed around the barrel of a crank-operated winch every few degrees. As the crank is turned, the rubber bands fire off one-by-one.
I built this five-passenger bike by cutting apart and welding together the parts from three tandem bikes, and adding a bit of black gas piping where I needed straight tubing. It actually worked too, and I was able to take it for some wobbly rides in the studio! (Though the rear seat was responsible for shifting gears, since my cables weren’t long enough.)
Inflatable hot water bottles were added to make exploding seats (by Jason Singleton and Jessie Voris, I think)
The second in a series of swingsets that made me feel bad!
I created a swing out of heavy black rubber to hold a contestant so that their knees would graze against a carpet as they swung, getting a nasty case of rugburn in the process.
This challenge almost made me puke.
I made a welded steel mechanism that swung three flounders into the face of a contestant as they played on a swingset. The fish are all put in motion by a pneumatic cylinder that rotates the fish in the opposite direction from the contestant.
My stomach was churning as I tried to zip-tie the flounders in place, but Katie Akana not only bravely attached the fish for me – she also broke out a big bucket of slime to make the fish extra revolting.
I cast these rubber hands and built them to pinch a contestant’s cheeks. A spring-powered clamp was modified to make the fingers pinch. Jason Singleton built the motors which moved the hands from side-to-side.
I built this ATM machine with help from Daniel Rasa. The shell of the machine is made out of MDF and plywood, and acrylic components were added for lighted signs and to simulate buttons.
It re-uses the mechanism from the groin-punching slot machine that I’d built earlier, only with a new cast silicone hand that held a fistful of phony money. Courtland Premo programmed a LCD photo frame to act as an ATM screen for the stunt.
This was a simple modification that only took a few hours to complete – an elliptical trainer that I welded arms onto, so that it could punch a contestant alternately in the stomach and groin.
I welded together a pair of steel hands to squeeze contestants’ behinds. The hands were pulled shut by bicycle brake cables which were tightened by spinning a crank. I covered the hands with liquid latex coated foam. The arms wear sleeves stitched together by Jessie Voris, and the lower support was re-used from a catapult built by Courtland Premo.
This machine was built to give five contestants a wedgie… SIMULTANEOUSLY! I welded together the steel pipe and I-beam frame and hooked up two 12v electric winches to a bar, which in turn was connected to the contestants specially grommeted underpants (by official Silent Library grommeter Jessie Voris.) Courtland Premo figured out a way to operate the winches with a remote control and a small 12v battery.
Hitting a contestant in the face with a series of waterbottles was a fun challenge! I made a net out of some surplus green vinyl strapping, and a steel pipe frame to hold all of the bottles in single file. When a motor pulled on an end of the belt, they would drop into a hopper one-by-one. At the bottom of the hopper was a little conveyor belt powered by toy car motors, which would feed each bottle into a tennis ball launcher to fire them at the contestant.