An Abstract Video Based on My Grandfather’s Sculptures
Carl Lynwood Shapiro was a scientist and inventor whose myriad creations ranged from children’s toys to shirt buttons. After earning a Doctorate in Science from Harvard, he worked as a chemist for some of the largest companies of the era before founding his own plastics manufacturing firm with a factory in Queens, NY.
Dr. Shapiro also had an artistic side. That creative, alchemical spark is evident in the hundreds of stunning plastic sculptures that he made in the 1960s and 70s.
Carl Shapiro was my grandfather and, since I was a small child, these sculptures have enchanted my imagination. Some of my earliest memories include gazing at the beautiful translucent cubes that lined my parents’ shelves; the mysterious obelisks on display in my Aunt’s house; or the figurative sculptures in my grandmother’s apartment.
Several of the sculptures are in my home today. Family heirlooms infused with magic. That they look virtually new - even though they’re well over fifty years old - is a testament to my grandfather’s genius with chemistry and commitment to his craft.
Two years ago, I had the idea to photograph them. They enchanted me once again. I began making videos of them. This video is the culmination of those explorations. While I know that I could not hope to capture the breadth of my grandfather’s work, I used his sculptures to inspire and nurture new design, animation, and VFX ideas. I view much of this project as a conversation, not just with Dr. Shapiro, but with my own primal memories of these beautiful works.
My cousin, Robert Intriligator (another of Carl’s grandsons), composed the music in this video, his own contribution to this testament to our grandfather.