Text & Photography by Hunter Armistead
Photographer and videographer, builder, fun-lover, record label dude
I stumbled across Jay Gibson at the East Side Art Stumble near Red Arrow Gallery a few months back. He’s a cheerful and laid-back lad, though underneath his unassuming exterior is a dogged mad scientist and builder who’s working with a Nashville team, the ND Collective, to build a world-class sculpture for Burning Man.
A one-ton monolith 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide, “Kinesios” is truly a 21st-century creation. Sandwiched between two gigantic metal plates is a fantastic moving illuminated pendulum which doubles as a ride for Burners. It’s the best of the pieces commissioned this year by Burning Man, IMHO.
The 26-year-old came to Nashville three years ago from Charleston, where he attended SCAD to study Industrial Design and Watercraft Design. “It was an incredible experience,” says Gibson, who moved there from his home town, Brunswick, Georgia. The international student body and a highly charged and motivated atmosphere were ideal for Gibson. It was his Nashville friends at SCAD who prompted his move.
The tinkerer’s trek is seemingly inexorable. After his parents finally caved and gave him the ratchet set he had begged for, they found him a week later in the garage with the engine to their old Volkswagen completely disassembled. Gibson was six.
Gibson was not an especially good student in high school. He spent that time working on cars and “gaming the system,” always at cross purposes with the aggravated principal. In spite of so-so grades, his scary test scores and iconoclastic spirit got him into his alma mater.
The soft-spoken artist is bull-headed. Taking to heart his mother’s maxim, “There are no mistakes, only changes in direction,” Gibson works doggedly on all his projects, going “around or through” any hurdles.
Soon Gibson and his teammates will be loading “Kinesios” onto a semi for Burning Man. I’m pretty sure nothing will prevent them, if Gibson has anything to say about it.
More about the Burning Man piece: www.ndcollective.net
Gibson’s Instagram feed: @rogu3bagel