Art Series: Cool Globe Artists (#2) – One Earth, Multiple Resources

ArtStyle will be presenting a weekly art series throughout the summer on the participating Cool Globe Exhibit artists. In this second series, we feature: Joe Compean’s One Earth; Deirdre A. Fox’s Tapping Geothermal Resources; Alessandra Kelley’s Spiral Chance; and Nancy L. Steinmeyer’s First We Scream, Then We Act. All images are provided courtesy of the artists unless otherwise noted.

Joe Compean

Joe Compean Peep Hole View
Peep Hole View

Background: Freelance photographer. B.A., Photography, Columbia College, Chicago. Website:

Theme and Description: One Earth is a celestial sphere with the constellations represented on the surface of the globe as they would appear from space. Each star is illuminated with a fiber optic rod that lights up at night. The globe also has 6 stereoscopic viewers (for people to look through) installed along what is perceived as the celestial equator. Each viewer has one of my stereoscopic-slide photographs, depicting various locations on the earth. The stars and viewers are lit from inside the globe by solar powered lights.

My globe serves as a reminder to people that there is only one earth, and they need to cherish it. It does this by placing people as if they were looking down on earth from somewhere in the universe. The stereoscopic viewers act as telescopic devices that showcase how unique the planet earth is. The stars represent how probable it is that we can populate another world.

Joe Compean Globe Night.
One Earth. Located halfway between Balboa and the Field Museum on the lakefront walkway. Globe #80. Sponsor: Cool Globes.
Joe Compean Globe Hatch
Inside the Globe

Method and Medium: In order to accomplish the interactive nature of my globe, I had to cut a 3-foot-wide access hole to the inside. This allowed me to physically enter the globe, and install the solar lights, stereoscopic viewers, fiber-optic rods, and push-button switches. For all of the solar lights that I installed, I also installed solar panels on the outside top of the globe.

For each of the 6 viewers, I drilled 2 holes for the 2 lenses that comprise a viewer. I installed 6 solar spot-lights (one for each viewer) in the middle of the globe that light the viewers from the inside. Each spotlight is wired to a push-button switch that is installed next to each viewer. When the button is pushed, the spot light illuminates the stereoscopic image (of the earth) inside the viewer.

I first mapped out all the known constellations as they appear from space and then drilled all the holes that hold the rods. There are about 450 fiber-optic rods installed in the globe. Each rod is about 5 inches long. The nature of fiber-optic rod is to collect light along its shaft and direct it to its ends. Only a quarter inch of each rod is visible from outside the globe. The rest of the rod is on the inside. I installed 4 ambient solar lights in the middle of the globe to shine light on the rods from the inside. A photosensitive cell inside their solar panel triggers these lights. When the sun goes down, the solar panels turn these lights on, which then light the rods that serve as stars.

After drilling all the holes, I had my globe painted a metallic blue car finish. Since I was only painting it one color to mimic outer space, I wanted to have a very weather-resistant paint finish. Once painted, I installed everything and closed the access hole that I cut out.

Joe Compean 3d Mountain
Stereoscopic View of 3D Mountain

I'm very happy with my globe and with having the chance to be a part of this project. It was a huge undertaking, but it was well worth the time and effort. I appreciate the opportunity to interact with the public on such a scale and have it centered on something we can all relate to. This is what public art is all about.

Deirdre A. Fox

Deidre Fox.

Background: Graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), 2002, concentrating in animation, painting and printmaking. Exhibits widely in Chicago. Residencies and awards include Center for Book and Paper Arts (CBPA), Columbia College Chicago; Ragdale Foundation; City of Chicago, Dept. of Cultural Affairs; Illinois Arts Council; and Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Art. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection, Flaxman Library, SAIC, and CBPA, as well as private collections. Her work explores the continuum of life, death, and renewal conceptually; and in the processes that she develops and uses to tread the in-between metaphorically and visually –- 2-D and 3-D, static and motion, abstract and representation, conscious and subconscious — she simultaneously captures the continuum. Website(s): and

Deirdre Fox Globe2
Tapping Geothermal Resources. Located at Navy Pier. Globe #108.
Sponsor: Allstate Insurance Co.

Theme and Description: My globe's theme is tapping geothermal resources.

Beneath the thin layer of rock that makes up the earth’s surface is a clean, renewable resource called geothermal energy. This energy can be produced by capturing hot water and steam from deep in the earth or by using the relatively constant temperature of shallow ground to heat and cool. Tapping geothermal energy is an affordable and sustainable solution that can reduce fossil fuel dependence. My globe depicts the earth’s magma in four views and superimposes indicators of geothermal energy sources, such as geysers, and the locations of existing geothermal energy plants. These visual cues make geothermal energy seem like a simple choice.

Method and Medium: The globe is primed, burnished with pigment, and sealed.

Deirdre Fox Globe

I spent 100+ hours on this project. I was surprised to learn how many geothermal energy plants are up and running.

Alessandra Kelley

Alessandra Kelley
Photo: Richard

Background: University of Chicago, and BFA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Specializes in egg tempera. Has taught art and egg tempera techniques at various workshops and community centers (Blue Gargoyle, Chicago Public Library) and at the Evanston Art Center. Her work has appeared in group and one-person shows, including Dominican University; the University of Illinois at Chicago; the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point; and Édifice Belgo in Montréal, Québec. Website (where those interested can also learn about egg tempera):

Alessandra Kelley Globe
Spiral Chance. Located at Navy Pier, front corner. Globe #104.
Sponsor: Invenergy LLC.

Theme and Description: The theme of my globe is renewable energy for Illinois, encompassing wind power, geothermal energy, and solar power. Illinois has an abundance of resources which can be developed to produce renewable energy. Wind, as any resident of Chicago knows, is plentiful. Illinois has 4 operating wind farms and 11 more, planned to convert wind through turbines into electricity. Solar power, also abundant, can be used to generate electricity and heat, warming residences and businesses. Geothermal pumps use the inherent temperature of the earth to heat and cool buildings.

My globe is divided into longitudinal bands. The blue and green bands, which have a deep, inviting perspective, show renewable energy use and ecologically sound behavior. The brown and grey bands, which have less depth (one is a trompe l’oeil stone frieze), show wasteful energy use and environmental devastation.

Method and Medium: This globe is painted with acrylic paints, which are sturdy and weatherproof. (Most of my paintings are egg tempera, a classical homemade paint of egg yolk and pigment, which is utterly unsuitable for outdoor art.) As I could not fit the globe into my studio, I painted in my garage. The raw fiber glass needed cleaning, then priming. I mixed the paints with a medium designed for fiber glass.

As with many of my paintings, I had only a general idea of what the final result would be. Most of my work is allegorical and symbolic, and it tends to grow in complexity in my mind as I go. I worked on the globe for about 3 weeks full time, changing and adding elements as I went.

Alessandra Kelley Globe Detail

My root theme was wind power, which emerged in the overall design of the globe. The blue bands of sky are filled with spirals and swirls, representing wind. The globe itself is meant to look like a gas giant planet (such as Jupiter) from a distance, a further echo of clouds and atmosphere.

Nancy L. Steinmeyer

Nancy Steinmeyer Cleaning Globe

Background: Professional artist for more than 30 years (a magic trick considering I still think I'm 35). Due to a short attention span, she has worked in a wide variety of media including drawing, 3-D paintings, mixed media constructions, murals and paper sculptures. For the past year, she has been working to create solution-based global warming educational materials for school-aged children, including board games, a storybook, picture puzzles and a pledge to the planet. Her work has shown throughout the country, including in the Sears Tower, West Bend Art Museum in Wisconsin, and Charleston Heights Arts Center Gallery in Las Vegas. Her work can be found in both private and public collections, including the former Lt. Gov. Corrine Wood and the Illinois State Museum. Website:

Nancy Steinmeyer The Scream
First We Scream, Then We Act. Located along the lakefront walkway. Globe #82. Sponsor: Nixon Peabody Attorneys At Law.

Theme and Description: First We Scream, Then We Act. One side has a background of brightly painted concentric circles. Over these circles in a black outline is a drawing of Edvard Munch's famous The Scream. On the other side, brighter colors outline and cover the continents, looking a little like the jet stream. Over this colorful pattern is an outline drawing of James Montgomery Flagg's Uncle Sam, challenging us to act now.

Medium and Method: Upon the acceptance of my design I thought, “Golly I wonder how I'm going to paint this?” In addition to that question, I had the problem of the basic logistics of dealing with a 5-foot object delivered in a colder than normal late February with a two-month deadline. This was clearly a garage project, but ours is not heated. So before the 200-pound globe was delivered, using heavy plastic, white painter's tarp and a staple gun, I created a painting habitat. This alternative studio was complete with 2 space heaters, carpeting, 2 thermometers, and a TV. The outdoor enamel paint needed at least 50 degrees for application and an additional 6 hours afterwards to dry properly. On the colder days it would take 2 hours to bring the plastic studio up to temperature. On those days I realized how accurate the term “Cool Globes” really was.

Nancy Steinmeyer Uncle Sam

My favorite question so far: To begin explaining the Cool Globes project I would ask, “Do you remember the painted cows in downtown Chicago?”

During one of these conversations, Mary Margaret, the woman I was speaking with asked, “Were the cows life-size?”

I responded, “Yes.”

Mary Margaret replied, “So are the globes life-size too?”

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