Kaleb Lyda Art Studio is one of many Caroline students who will have their art at the center of the annual Arts Day everywhere on April 12.
The second year installation, “Obscura Domes,” features pinhole camera sculptures made of wood, plastic and glass. Lyda’s work will be on display at the Davis Library, but the UNC-Chapel Hill celebration will span campus-wide with art activities, pop-up performances and more colorful installations.
What is the significance of your sculptures? What inspired them?
My goal for the sculptures was to create an artistic experience for anyone who interacts with the work. I believe that these kinds of experiences allow people to become aware of the world around them in a way that transcends purely intellectual endeavor. I started working on the Obscura domes in January using CAD software and cardboard models and then built the complete domes using wood and corrugated plastic. My budget was pretty tight, which was both stimulating and fun as it forced me to view everyday items as potential components. The lenses I used to focus light, for example, are from reading glasses – and they do their job well.
The internal structure of the work is based on the iconic geodesic dome designed by R. Buckminster Fuller, who was a teacher at Black Mountain College as well as an architect, author and inventor. I chose to incorporate the camera obscuras partly because of my personal fascination with the history of photography and partly as an examination of the experience of sight. Camera obscuras have a logical scientific explanation, but they still retain a certain magical quality that escapes explanation.
My main inspiration for the Obscura Domes was the history and ideologies of Black Mountain College, which was an experimental school that saw the study of art as a central part of liberal arts education. It was only active from 1933 to 1957, but many teachers and students became very influential in the arts and in all disciplines.
Why are you majoring in art? What motivates you as an artist?
I’ve always been a craftsman – my childhood involved a lot of sculpture made from office supplies – but I didn’t see myself as an artist until I came to UNC-Chapel HIll. During my early years here, I tried a lot of classes and departments. Each class challenged me in its own way, but I struggled to see how they connected. It wasn’t until I took a conceptual art class that I realized that art can be a framework for learning in depth about the world and making connections between disciplines. Art is as interdisciplinary as you want it to be, and I am inspired by how art can interact with all aspects of life.
What motivates you to participate in Arts Day Everywhere?
The chance to bring art out of galleries and into everyday life is always something that fascinates me. Everyone brings their own perspectives and lived experiences to their art, so Arts Day Everywhere is a chance to learn and explore a range of personal ideas and stories. I love that my work can get involved in the incredible variety of performances and events on campus and hopefully inspire others to see art as both a means of self-expression and a gateway to meaningful experiences.