Mahoney’s most artistic endeavor has certainly been one of the more unique things seen here at CHS—and that’s mostly because of the technique he uses to produce it. The piece itself hinges on the physics of “Pendulum Painting.” This is a form of art in which a pendulum, or fixed object hung from a point so it can swing freely back and forth due to the force of gravity, constantly releases paint or some other material onto a canvas.
It certainly sounds pretty simple—let gravity do all the hard work for you, right? Well it’s definitely easier said than done. Professionals have accomplished the same thing using huge, room-sized pendulums that oscillate to create a desired effect on an enormous piece of paper. Danny Mahoney decided to try and replicate this very same process with nothing more than some fishing lines, a tripod, a paint bottle, and ingenuity.
After multiple design iterations and test runs, he managed to create what I found to be a really cool piece of abstract art. As the force of gravity accelerates the pendulum down toward the Earth, the momentum built up causes the mass to swing in the opposite direction to a height equal to the original position. Newton’s Law of Inertia sums it up by stating that an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by an unbalanced force. Both potential and kinetic energy alternate as the pendulum swings, and all these components end up coming together to create different paint patterns as the paint bottle swings.
I interviewed Danny for his thoughts on the piece:
What inspired you to create Pendulum Art?
Danny: I saw a piece made like this on Instagram and social media, but I didn’t know how the design [Pendulum] was made, so I had to make my own contraption.
What do you think this piece represents?
Danny: Unique design.
Do you have a favorite artist who inspired you to make this?
Danny: My mom, but she did not inspire me to do this.
Do you plan to do more pieces like this in the future?
Danny: Yeah, maybe using different designs, overlaying paint with different colors, different color patterns, and even painting the background different colors.