This work of art has a fairly cool story behind it. In March 2001, I purchased a new Sony VAIO (pronounced "vigh-oh", rhymes with "bio") PCG-R505TSK laptop computer... I've had quite a few Sony laptops over the years, and am a big fan of them. Anyway, in May 2001 I went on a trip to Seattle to see a show of new work by David Huchthausen, which included Implosion Sequence DRH93W. Combined with its docking station, the new laptop was too large to fit into the protective sleeve I use when carrying my laptop around, so I put the laptop straight into my backpack. It was during this time that something in the backpack put a very large, and very annoying, scratch on the laptop's case.

Nothing I tried, and nothing David Huchthausen could think of, could get rid of the scratch... I tried nail polish, colored pens, and even light sandpaper to try to buff out, conceal, or polish out the scratch. Needless to say, I was rather unhappy about the scratch, so I decided that the only way I'd be satisfied was to replace the laptop's case. I called Sony and ordered a replacement case, which I installed myself.

At this point, I had an extra case with a large scratch on it that was in every other way still usable. Suddenly, I was inspired: Why not cover up the scratch with a painting? Since I know Bob Rankin quite well, I called him up and explained my idea to him... he had never done anything like it before, but we had nothing to lose, so he said he'd give it a shot. I told him that I really liked one of his paintings that he's kept for himself, a very large abstract canvas, and asked him to paint something in the same style. This is the result.

Since Bob wasn't sure how well the powder-coated magnesium alloy of the case would hold the paint, he decided to play it safe. So, before painting the work, he sanded the surface slightly, and then applied two coats of primer. Once the surface was ready, he painted the work on it. You can see some squiggles and dots scattered throughout the painting; these are derived from the VAIO logo that was cut into the surface of the case. Finally, he added several coats of urethane sealer to try to protect the paint from normal wear and tear. (So far, it has held up perfectly.)

When I received the case back from Bob, I reinstalled it on my laptop... it looks very cool, and quite a few people have told me that they think it's an excellent idea. This is the only laptop I've ever seen that incorporates a work of art... I'm not sure it's an idea that works for everybody, but it sure works for me.

I named this work VAIO Boy as a reference to the movie Fight Club, in which the narrator is referred to as "IKEA Boy" because of his proclivity for IKEA furniture products... if there's anyone in the world who would be "VAIO Boy", it's me. :-)

Click here to return to the Collection.