Brian Ledwell

Some guy and a tagline

Humans of Oshkosh


Just before the event


Humans of Oshkosh is a class project by Grace Lim. She has done a number of these theamed events;

  • Airboat Rescue 1
  • War throu their Eyes

In the Humans of Oshkosh project she teaches her students how to give intereviews and the end result is a large presentation.

Its an excellent example of Teacher/Student collaboration that really makes an impact on the students learning expierence. It also goes a long way to building community relationships with the University that I think is imparative for the survival of a campus.

Grace asked me to be the "Art Director" for this project. She wanted to display printouts of the stories and initially thought shed just tape or pin the prinouts to the walls and I sort of looked at her like she was insane. Thats fairly normal :) . I thought about what the project was about and a couple of ideas keep floating to the top. The idea of "community" and people interacting with and learning about each other was appealing to me. The second thought was these stories are of people, people are imprefect and being imperfect we all have blemishes and scars but beautiful inspite of them. How could the displays could reflect that idea.

For the community idea I decided to use Plexiglass for the panel that would display the stories. Plexyglass is transparent so youd see someone you might not know reading the opposite side. Its an imediate meeting thou the negative spaces created by imperfectly positioned stories on the panel. Initially I wanted to use glass but considering these are designed to be moved often it became a safty issue. If this was a perminant display I would have liked glass because its easier to clean and keep from scratching.

The display stands themsleves are made of branches of trees mostly Maple and Ash. Like every human each branch is different, some of them have blemishes, each is unique but work together to create something beauitiful.


Humans of Oshkosh PlaqueThe plaque that each display has at the top had to be reflect the name of the event and be reproduceable (because I needed 15 of them). I wanted it to fit in with with the naturalness of the displays. So I made them look like bark. I found some old 3d letters that were going to be disposed of so I rescued them made some molds and painted the final plastic piece. Ive added some process photos below this if your into that sort of thing.

The making of these objects 

Molds for the humans of Oshkosh plaque 

There were a series of molds used in the creation of the plaque. I started out with the text. Positioned some premade 3d letters on a block of wood. This was handy because I didnt have to carve the letter forms. Then made a mold of that and pulled one plastic plate of the letters. Then made a quick mold of some real bark from my walnut tree. Made some paper thin plastic reproductions of that bark. Made another plain block the size of the final plaque and sculpted and glued the bark mold onto that until I got the whole panel looking like bark. Made a mold of the bark. Pulled a plastic positive of that bark and worked the letter form into the texture. Continued to work texture onto the surface until the letters and bark worked together. Made a mold of that. You can see the final mold in the upper right. The plastic place that gets pulled from this is then painted to look like bark.

Some of the plaques are designed to be displays on tables for those I mixed in sand into the plastic to give the plaque some weight. The ones that hung on the stands are pure plastic and very light in weight.