The Chicago Tree Project

Elain O’Sullivan

Slingshot #1

Rutherford Sayre Park

2018

My 65 years of creating art have always strived to inform as well as entertain. With this tree sculpture, I wanted to create more than a decorative treatment on the surface of this once majestic old tree. I wanted to take this now dying tree and imbue it with a new life of its own both artistically and intellectually. I also wanted to create a sculpture that would appeal to both young and old alike. I also felt that the tree deserved a strong, simple, but dynamic concept that would visually draw viewers close and engage them. A slingshot seemed to be the perfect solution for my artistic vision: to create simple, kinetic, and engaging sculpture for all ages, a whimsical thirty-foot child’s toy, a slingshot. 

The slingshot’s rubber bands are expressed by two stainless steel bands connected with a copper plate. These bands have been bent and shaped to create wave patterns to simulate the rubber bands in recoilThe wind will activate and bounce the stainless-steel bands, creating a kinetic sculpture that looks just like it had shot a rock into the air. At the base of the sculpture, Newton’s Three Laws of Motion will be reproduced. The Three Laws of Motion explain the science of a working slingshot and demonstrate the forces of nature that act on all slingshots.  

The intent of my slingshot sculpture is to engage the viewer to ponder art and physics.  It informs this dying ash tree to live again with much purpose.