Elkbones, 2015
Elk, Jawbones, Steel, Resin, Motor and Mechanical Components
77 x 34 in


In the last few years, I have made a number of cross-country road trips, hiking and backpacking in dozens of America's national parks, forests, seashores and grasslands while also experiencing its many cities, towns and rural areas. I draw inspiration from all of these places -- everywhere from Wal-Marts to wilderness areas -- and on the roads among them.

My most recent work uses aesthetics, engineering and technology to explore the interplay of design, nature and consciousness.

Statement for Device for Simulating the Motion of a Tumblweed

I found this tumbleweed in eastern Wyoming after I watched it roll and hop along a dirt road, then come to a standstill against a fence in Thunder Basin National Grassland on December 24, 2012 after having camped there during one of my regular cross country road trips. I decided to give the tumbleweed a means of continuing its motion, with a mechanism and code taking the place of wind. This device retrieves wind data from the tumbleweed's point of origin via the internet to continually simulate the current conditions of that location.

Statement for (black box)

In its title, (black box) evokes black box theory, which explores our ability to understand a thing's inner workings based on its outward appearance. As its blinds open and close with the alternating motion and stillness or absence and presence of viewers, (black box) imitates intelligent behavior, surveilling its surroundings for the presence of viewer's warm bodies, responding to them with movement. Through this interaction, at times startling or alienating, (black box) invites viewers to be still and peer inside and become aware of the presence of others as they assume control over the piece and its environment.

About Sam Metcalf 

Sam Metcalf is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the University of Pennsylvania (BFA), and San Jose State University, where he received his Master's Degree in Spatial Art. Sam has exhibited work in Boston, New Orleans, San Jose, San Francisco, New York City, and in several other cities in California and New York.