• The Inspiration - "Where did the idea come from?"


Marji Roy with kinetic sculpture at Wood That WorksMarji, in 1973 with her bicycle chain sculpture.

I came late to the world of art. My early years were spent in the realm of science and engineering. My father was an engineer who worked on some of the early jet engines and we were both fascinated by the space program. It was the 60’s and every launch was a big event. I went to Boston University on an engineering scholarship and my dream was to become an inventor. Engineering led to chemistry and finally to physics as I found I had a general interest in a lot of subjects. 

One of my best friends from high school was a sculpture major at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. We started trading visits frequently and I was exposed to the artistic creative process from the inside for the first time. I was fascinated. I saw it as another type of creative problem solving, not all that different from my advanced physics courses but with a completely different goal.

Kinetic Sculpture by Marji Roy completed at RISDAnother machine like sculpture by Marji - mechanical but static.

One of Marji’s projects was a very large wooden chain and gear sculpture. It moved when you turned a crank. I was very excited by this piece, it showed me a side of art that was totally new to me. I had lots of ideas for other projects she should start but she just gave me one of her smiles and moved on to other projects. 

Part of learning to make art is learning to see in images. Marji’s sister and roommate had a black and white darkroom set up in their apartment and taught me how to use it. This fit right in with my physics and chemistry studies and I started trying to take and process interesting photos.  I didn’t create anything to remember but I did learn to look at the world in a new way and began to think in images.

The exposure to art and photography started me seeing the world differently. To this day, I find art and science to be closely linked.