Art Series: Cool Globes (#3) – Smart, Peaceful, Natural, Efficient Globes

ArtStyle will be presenting a weekly art series throughout the summer on the participating Cool Globe Exhibit artists. In this third series, we feature: Ken Klopack’s Intelligent Earth, Aesop Rhim’s Peace on a Cool Globe, Beth Shadur’s For the Seventh Generation, and Joi Leo Wagenberg’s Mighty Methane.

Ken Klopack

Ken Klopack

Background: Graduate degree, Gifted Education, Northeastern Illinois University. Retired Art Teacher, Chicago Public Schools. Faculty at Penninsula Art School in Fish Creek, WI, Art Institute.

Theme and Description: This globe shows the earth as a representation of the brain. The land areas are covered with concepts, ideas, and programs deemed as solutions to the environmental problems of our earth.

We must cherish and respect our planet by inhabiting it intelligently. Human intelligence is the most powerful tool we have to create a world we can all live in. We must use our brain, our intelligence, as a worldwide problem-solving force without self-interest, ego, political, ethnic, class, or economic issues.

Ken Klopack Intelligent Earth
The Intelligent Earth. Located at Navy Pier. Globe #106.
Sponsor: Lucy R. Waletzky, M.D.

Method and Medium: I created an original colored drawing of what I proposed to do in pencil and showed organic shapes of the brain in ocean areas. On the continents, I took the titles of many environmental programs that could provide solutions to global problems and illustrated them in a graphic style on the land mass areas.

The painting of the globe took about 70 hours over a period of 3 months. I used acrylic medium with various brush techniques, as well as glazing techniques, to create a depth and richness from underlying colors that show through the painting surface.

Ken Klopack and Globe

Being an educator, I wanted this project to inspire people to show them what they could do to help the “Green Cause” using their intelligence.

Aesop Rhim

Aesop Rhim

Background: BFA, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea. MA, Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology. Currently, Artist-in-Residence at The Peace Museum of Chicago. Website:

Theme and Description: Hydropower. If you have ever watched a water fall, gone whitewater rafting, surfing, or swimming in the ocean, you have seen or felt the power of water. Capturing this power from the movement of tides, the crashing of waves, and the channeling or damming of rivers to make energy is called hydropower. Hydropower has been used for thousands of years, and currently about 20% of all electricity worldwide is generated this way. The U.S. is the second largest producer of hydropower in the world, and we use hydropower for 7% of our own electricity needs. Hydropower is a clean and efficient source of renewable energy. Modern hydro turbines can convert as much as 90% of the available energy into electricity, without producing greenhouse gases or other pollution. It prevents the burning of 22 billion gallons of oil per year. From hydrokinetic energy to wave energy conversion, new technology may expand the possibilities of water power. Will hydropower be the “tide” of the future?

Aesop Rhim Globe
Peace on A Cool Globe. Located in front of The Field Museum, near the Shedd Aquarium. Globe# 32. Sponsor: Skip, Meg and Katy Herman.

Method and Medium: When Cool Globes asked me to submit a design for the project, I was fascinated and honored to take part in this important and timely project. I researched global warming in preparation for the project. In particular, Al Gore's book and video An Inconvenient Truth provided valuable information on this subject. We all know that global warming is a real “inconvenient truth,” which we must face in the years to come. Peace on A Cool Globe represents hydropower from the oceans. All around the globe, I depicted peaceful oceans with the movement of tides and waves (the source of hydropower). Beautiful and colorful seagulls are flying over the globe, which connects to the lifetime theme of my art — peace.

Aesop Rhim Globe 2

As a Korean-American, I introduced Cool Globes to Chicago's Korean community and produced my own video about the project. In my video (which was broadcast on the Korean TV network), I explain how to protect our planet from global warming, introduce several of the globes, and strongly urge everyone to visit the Cool Globes at the Museum Campus and along beautiful Lake Michigan, and inspire visitors to learn about some possible solutions to global warming.

Beth Shadur

Beth Shadur Photo

Background: MFA, University of Illinois-Chicago; AB with Honors, Brown University. Artist-in-Education for the Illinois Arts Council in Chicago, IL. Internationally exhibiting artist, mural artist, curator and educator. Exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in U.S. and abroad, including at the Art Institute of Chicago; the Drawing Center in New York City; the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY; the Butler Institute of Art in Youngstown, Ohio; and at the Colorado Springs Art Museum, Colorado Springs, CO. Created over 125 large public murals as public, private and community art projects in both the U.S. and Great Britain. Her work is published in many books, catalogues and articles, most recently in the International Journal For Arts in Society. Website:

Beth Shadur
For the Seventh Generation. Located half a block north of The Field Museum along the bike path. Globe #73. Sponsor: Sara Lee Foundation.

Theme and Description: The theme for my Cool Globe is the Seventh Generation — the Native American Iroquois tradition of caring for the earth for the seventh generation to come. The globe depicts various symbols from world cultures indicating how each culture values the earth. These symbols appear in the ocean areas on a cobalt blue surface, with Chinese wave patterns indicating the love of water. In the ocean areas, there is text explaining the Iroquois seventh generation concept, a quote from Leviticus — “For the earth is mine” — in both Hebrew and English, as well as a poem written for the globe by Arizona poet Lois Roma-Deeley.

The globe looks at the more spiritual value of caring for the earth, as reflected in its symbols. The turtle in Lois Roma-Deeley's poem is also the name of the Iroquois clan whose role is to protect the earth. The bee from the Jaan culture (Hinduism) is a creature that takes its sustenance from flowers, but provides a balance in nature by also pollinating. The blackbird, a Native American symbol as a being who protects the earth, is presented holding a white feather, also a symbol for protecting the earth. Finally, in the land areas, flowers indigenous to Illinois are presented to accentuate the Native American value of using indigenous plant materials to preserve water.

Method and Medium: As a mural artist, I used materials and methods that would work well for the exterior location for the globe. I sanded and cleaned the fiber glass globe, and then primed it with three coats of exterior Benjamin Moore water-based primer. I drew the images on with conte pencil, and then fixed the images with latex paint. I then painted the globe with combinations of Benjamin Moore latex paint and Golden acrylics, using very vibrant colors, and mostly realistic imagery. Finally, after hundreds of hours of research, globe preparation, and painting, I put on three isolation coats with Golden mediums, before having the globe coated with an automotive varnish. At the north suburban site, the six artists who worked there hired a local automotive firm to spray our globes for maximum protection in the exterior elements. We wanted our globes to hold up to the intense sunlight and heat during the day and cold nights that may affect their permanence during the summer.

Beth Shadur Poem

The process of this project was very satisfying, as I was one of six artists to work in a suburban warehouse. We bonded and shared much information and collegiality during the globe creation process. This added to the excitement of being a part of this meaningful project.

Because I do public murals, and often work with imagery that is socially engaged, this seemed a natural project for me, and reflected my own environmental concerns that have previously been addressed in my personal work. I am delighted to have been chosen for this project, and am proud of my globe. I think that Cool Globes has taken on an important educational role in these times where people are finally addressing the issue of global warming, and I have found myself more closely informed on this issue.

Joi Leo Wagenberg

Joi Wagenberg Painting

Background: BA, Art, Columbia College Chicago; The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Freelance artist in acrylic, ink, and pastels. Custom wine label designs for Website:

Theme and Description: Methane as a renewable source of energy. Decomposing garbage emits powerful methane gases that can be harnessed for energy, as opposed to releasing it into the atmosphere. This technology is in place in some parts of the country, decreasing the need for electrical power in surrounding communities. Another bonus: lower electrical bills.

Joi Wagenberg Front
Mighty Methane. Located just south of Balboa and Lake Shore Drive along the lake front bike path. Globe #83. Sponsor: Caterpillar.

Method and Medium: On top of the globe, a metal well-head (currently used on landfills emitting methane into the atmosphere) curves back down to represent the re-circulation of methane-use to the earth. Stainless steel rods are zig-zagged and welded to indicate power/electricity generation. I applied acrylic glazed layers in squiggled strokes, and “tie-dye” circles throughout the upper green continents and blue oceans — as if each stroke was energized. I painted the equator band in CAT-Yellow latex (Caterpillar yellow), as the engine-base houses the silver metallic tubes funneling the methane from below. Painted see-through electrical outlets and switches reveal the lush oceans and land. The garbage painted below in rust, olive and earth tones, was extremely labor intensive. It becomes one big band of trash, mosaic-style, encircling the globe. This reminds us that each item we place in the landfill doesn’t just disappear without paying a price to the planet. Lastly, I sprayed auto-body clear coat in layers for sealing and achieving a high gloss.

Joi Wagenberg Side

Using the already available methane for power and keeping methane gases from contributing to the cardon dioxide build-up are two good reasons to highlight this concept. I also wanted to motivate those in charge at the corporate and legal levels to reduce waste that doesn’t decompose effectively. Consumers are limited to products and services sold in their communities. We need more ways to reduce waste that doesn’t decompose effectively. Adding recycling service and bins everywhere is a good start.

I personally approached Caterpillar (based in Illinois) for sponsorship, as they build lean-burn engines necessary for the methane to power conversion. A company perhaps known best for tractor engines can actually make a positive difference and inspire the use of technology in the most unlikely places.

Being both the artist and the educator was such a privilege. I enjoyed the task of finding a creative solution and problem solving with form, color, and texture to get the message across. And using a sphere for a canvas was definitely a great new adventure.

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