Miles Pepper is a kinetic sculptor based in Pullman, Washington. His sculptures, which are set in motion by the natural movement of air, reflect his affinity for the "machine aesthetic" and his interest in the use of energy sources in nature.
The evolution of his work stemmed from a persistent need to create, a lengthy art education, and an exposure to a variety of skilled trades. He studied most of the art world disciplines, including drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, ceramics and various methods of sculpting. He also took courses in metals technology, has had experience in construction, and learned to repair the different vehicles he has owned. Together, those disciplines have given him the skills he uses today.
Pepper has been commissioned to create many public artworks, including for the Oregon Zoo in Portland, the city of Oxnard, Calif., the cities of Corvallis and Bend in Oregon, and the Portland International Airport. He has art-related degrees from Sierra Community College, University of California-Davis, and California State University-Humboldt, all in California, and Washington State University in Pullman.
The concept of the boat appears in the legends and myths of human culture all over the world. On every continent, in almost every civilization, mankind has applied creative ingenuity to set out upon the water. The kinetic dream ship atop the new Beacon Hill Branch uses the image of a small wind-blown boat as a metaphor for human curiosity. It represents our instinctive desire to know and understand, our capacity to dream, and our passion to explore and discover the world around us.
The spirit and concept of this idea was sparked by a library book called The Kon-Tiki Expedition that inspired me as a young reader. Based on the true story of six men crossing the South Pacific Ocean on a hand-hewn log raft, the adventure details a three-month journey against all odds. Their leader, the late Thor Heyerdahl, was attempting to prove his theory that the settlers of Polynesia could have been of South American origin. The expedition's success was an inspiring beginning for Heyerdahl's lifelong endeavor to understand the role of the boat in the early distribution of mankind. His examinations of prehistoric boat petroglyphs around the world have supported his theory that the parallel between the development of the boat and the spread of human culture is part of our common heritage.
My intention is that this small wandering sailboat be interpreted as a metaphor for each individual's personal journey. That the library, like a port at the edge of a great ocean, be viewed as a point of departure from which each traveler may freely set sail. That the art piece, floating above the building, function as a visible and animated landmark for both the library and the Beacon Hill community. That this Dream Ship represent a place to explore, a place to discover, and a place to dream.
— Beacon Hill Branch artist Miles Pepper
About the writers
Prose and fiction writers selected were: Anna Balint; David Bowen, Elaine Iwano; Ted Iwata; Janice Kennedy; Claudia Mauro, and Shira Richman.
The pieces were recorded so they could be played in the branch entry hall and added to the Library's CD collection.
Haiku writers selected were: Stephanie Cerezo; Xiu Vinh Mao; Craig Thompson; and Kathleen Craig. Stephanie and Vinh were in third grade at Beacon Hill Elementary School when their submissions were selected.
The haikus were engraved into outdoor quarry rocks.
See About the Literary Work for more information.
Special thanks to:
Funding was generously provided for the quarry rock haikus by the Friends of The Seattle Public Library; Marenakos Rock Center donated the stones. The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, which manages the Library's public art program, generously funded the audio recordings.