When we were approached by LAND Studios to submit a proposal for a gateway sculpture in the Gordon Square neighborhood our excitement and creativity ran wild. Immediately we were drawn toward the iconography of roadside attractions. The aesthetic of Superelectric revolves around two major themes: Fun and Americana, and roadside attractions are emblematic of both. These American landmarks were used to draw motorists to the neighborhood and helped place those neighborhoods on the map. In that same spirit we would like to introduce the most fun “You Are Here” marker in the country, the Gordon Square Paddle Ball.
What it Accomplishes
Instantly recognizable, the paddle ball sculpture will serve as a symbol to everyone entering through the west side corridor that they have arrived in Gordon Square. When leaving the neighborhood, the back of the paddle will read “Thank You For Visiting”. In addition to being both a fun landmark and interactive sculpture that pedestrians will enjoy taking selfies with, the paddle ball serves as a graphic branding opportunity for the neighborhood. The paddle face lends itself to a range of options for typography, symbols, and welcome messages. The paddle ball icon could be used as a fun “You Are Here” marker throughout the neighborhood.
Construction of the piece is a painted durable 3/4″ sheet steel paddle, reinforced with steel gussets. The ball would be constructed of formed 12 gauge steel sheet and attached with 4″ schedule 80 extra strong pipe. The overall height would be approximately 14’ tall and 7’ wide.
Superelectric has collaborated with our friends at Graphite Design + Build to generate some preliminary construction designs and material options. GD+B has 15 years of experience creating public art. Their sculptures can be seen at the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Zoo, Columbus Zoo, and Toledo Metroparks.
Graphite Design and Build Project Examples
The Paddle Ball game was invented in Cincinnati, Ohio by Williams R. Lind in 1921. It was manufactured by the Ohio Art Company, more widely known for their other creation: the Etch-A-Sketch. The paddle ball is an Ohio icon and a fun throw-back piece that resonates with the vintage vibe of numerous other businesses and institutions in this neighborhood. Between Edgewater Beach, Superelectric Pinball Parlor, CPT, Capitol, Talespinner, City Breaks, and Near West Theater this neighborhood’s identity is as much about “Play” as it is “Art”. This piece aims to be both public art as well as a sign proclaiming our neighborhood’s determination to bounce back!
Gateway Sculpture Street Views
Although they are mostly known for their love of all things pinball, Superelectric started as a screen printing company in 2007 and was formally organized as an LLC in 2014. The owners Ben Haehn (BFA-Printmaking), Nathaniel Murray (BFA-Digital Media), and David Spasic (BFA-Ceramic Sculpture) are all practicing artists and residents/homeowners of the Gordon Square neighborhood. They have collaborated on a number of public art projects in the Detroit Shoreway area including Literary Lots at the Carnegie West Branch of Cleveland Public Library. They are also active members of the Cleveland film community and current members of IATSE Local 209. The trio have worked as prop makers in numerous productions filmed here in Ohio including Fate of the Furious, Unstoppable, Charnel House, Bye Bye Man, Missing in Cleveland, Fun Size, Criminal Activities, and Draft Day as well as numerous national commercials. They currently have a studio just down the street from the proposed sculpture location at 78th Street Studios as well as a pinball parlor in the opposite direction next to the Capitol Theater.