Windhover Hall is transformed into a winter wonderland this holiday season, with 40 new art-inspired snowflakes on display through the first week of January 2020. Museum staff collaborated with local artist Fred Kaems to create nine unique snowflake designs, inspired by popular works of art in the Museum’s Collection. Read on to learn more about the creative process, from the artist himself—and see the final designs up close!
How did you select the artworks that are featured on each snowflake?
FK: I wandered through the Museum’s Collection, after having talked about the project with David (Exhibition Designer, Milwaukee Art Museum) and Alison (Design + Brand Lead, Milwaukee Art Museum); I tried to see every piece. I was looking for unique shapes that might translate well into these cutouts. I snapped photos of more than 100 pieces that caught my eye, and looking them over, I narrowed down by about half.
How did you transform each artwork into a snowflake pattern? Can you explain the design process?
FK: After looking them over again, I started sketching shapes from about 20 of my favorite artworks, looking for forms that could be simplified and would be recognizable as silhouettes. I took those shapes and digitally started to collage them together, rotating and mirroring them into the types of symmetries that snowflakes have. I tried to use each combination of shapes in a couple of different ways, looking for a good balance between legibility and strength for the actual cutout. I shared these collages with the Museum’s Design Team. We made a few adjustments and narrowed it down to about a dozen that everyone liked. I then created final digital vector files that could be used to cut them out with a CNC machine.
Do you have a favorite out of the nine final designs?
FK: That is a tough one, but probably the design based on Song of the Towers. I have always loved that painting so I knew that I wanted to make a flake based on it.
How/where can we find more of your work?
FK: You can find it around the city in the numerous murals I have painted. Online, you can follow what I am working on through my Instagram @fred_the_artist or find me on Facebook. I also have some of my finished work at fredkaems.com.