Commissioned by Artpace and designed by Johns, the Chalka Khan (hahaha) was inspired by the Spirograph. At a demonstration on the Artpace rooftop, Johns and glass artist Jake Zollie Harper showed us the magic: The upper portion of the 5×5-foot machine can be spun around (much like a playground merry-go-round) by its top handles, turning the interior gears (and bicycle wheel, included to create friction). Loaded with several thick pieces of chalk, the gears are engineered to rotate in their respective cycles to draw beautiful, overlapping, elliptical patterns in multiple colors on a large sheet of butcher paper secured on the base of the machine.
The Chalka Khan will debut this Saturday as a Creation Station in our Chalk It Up Kidzone on downtown Houston Street. Powered by small, dusty children, it should produce some serious art and ridiculous amounts of fun.
Image credits: Reagan Johns and Jake Zollie Harper rock Chalka Khan. Photos by Wendi Kimura