The following is from the Nov. 15, 2013, edition of Art & Seek. Greg Needel is the director of the Innovation Gymnasium at SMU.
November 18, 2013
By Anne Bothwell
Greg Needel is first and foremost a mechanical engineer. His art is really just a byproduct of his innovative design process. Greg builds things.
He studies movement and light and mechanics, and then he builds machines that aid in creating art. And, in turn, what he builds becomes art. Since he was a child, Greg has been fascinated by robotics and art. Six years ago, he married the two into a profession, and now he inspires others to make… to engage in hands-on creation – mathematically, scientifically, artistically. Greg is the Director of the Innovation Gymnasium at SMU and is actively involved with Dallas Makerspace, “an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization made up of local artists, engineers, makers and thinkers who enjoy making things and learning new skills.”
Greg has, in a way, developed his own brand of art, inspired and influenced by sculptor David Roy and motion control artist and inventor Bruce Shapiro. He plays with gears, using them to generate kinetic art using motorized movement, light and layers of color. Greg likes to make people think when they experience his work. He wants us to ask why. To wonder how. He wants what he creates to fall outside of the realm of normalcy.
Greg was first introduced to Art Con almost immediately upon his move to Dallas three years ago. He learned of the philanthropy through his colleagues at Dallas Makerspace, and last year he contributed his own piece for the first time. This year, he’s enjoyed once again working alongside other local artists to create a new piece titled ‘Mind in Motion,’ which makes use of non-traditional gears and layers of color and movement. In addition to enjoying the process of making, he’s anxious to see the finished products of his fellow artists’ hard work. For him, “the wonder of art is essentially the marriage of process and result.”