Sound Art, Kinetic Percussion and Kinetic Art by joel Sampson

New Media and Sound Art is my newest body of work and the main direction I am working in. It took me a while to get here, but it seems a very logical step with my diverse (ok, checkered) background. It is combines technology, visual art, music and design into a fun, often whimsical art form.

I call the electro-mechanical sound art Kinetic Percussion because solenoids move, LED lights flash and it plays musical rhythm patterns on found and made objects. The drum patterns are programmed with a microcomputer that triggers the solenoids and LEDs. I personally write the drum patterns, program the computer, design and hand wire the electronics and do the mechanics and overall design. It's very time intensive, one man band but I enjoy the variety of the tasks. They operate on an American made 24 Vdc power supply. The solenoids require quite a bit of power.

The response to my Kinetic Percussion has been very positive. I have received numerous awards and it has been covered by the Dallas Morning News, Art & Culture, Glasstire and Dallas Arts Review.

I'm working on some electronic rather than electro-mechanical sound pieces. This give me more options and I can put a volume control on the work so it can be turned down. The Kinetic Percussion pieces are loud! Plus I'm working on some art that moves but does not make sound. A lot of cool things are in the lab!


I designed this computer printed circuit board in 2013. It makes assembly faster.

Jax Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain (2014) is made of roofing shingles, PVC down spouts, blue LEDs and a microcomputer that plays the sounds of rain and a thunderstorm. Unlike the Kinetic Percussion, it has a volume control. It's cool to look at and generates pleasant white noise and wishful thinking of rain in Texas!

I have a video of Listen to the Rhythm on You Tube.

Pipe Dream (2012/2013) features five percussion instrument: a Pearl 13" cymbal, a pan, a small skillet, a made wood block with a mahogany surface and a plastic 5-gallon paint pail that sits on the floor. I use 3" PVC pipe to mount some of the objects on.

The pedestal is made of 3" PVC. A power supply and 5-gallon bass drum are below the sculpture. The top section is 28" x 24" x 24" and the pedestal is 37" high.

I have a video of Pipe Dream on You Tube.

Pipe Dream

Jax Jax (2013) features four percussion instrument: a Pearl 13" cymbal, a Latin Percussion cowbell, a made wood block with a mahogany surface and a plastic dog food container that sits on the floor. The power supply also rests on the floor. The computer and start button on mounted on the wall.

This work was featured in the 2013 Preservation is the Art of the City sponsored by Historic Fort Worth. The collage in the display are by Maureen Brouillette, my wife.

Knock, Knock Knock, Knock (2012/2013) is a three instrument Kinetic Percussion. It features a long pan, a Latin Percussion cowbell and a Latin Percussion tone block. It is programmed with three short drum patterns that rotate. One of the patterns is the traditional "shave and a hair cut" rhythm pattern. I designed an optional circuit to allow the Kinetic Percussion to be connected into a standard 24 VAC doorbell system for a unique and loud doorbell.

Knock, Knock could be wall mounted, but requires an external power supply. I made a simple pedestal for it that houses the power supply. The top section is 26" x 19" x 6" and the pedistal is 33" x 22" x 8".

Pan, Can Bam (2011) is my first Kinetic Percussion. It was first exhibited at the Plano Art Centre for a local food bank benefit. As a result, the sound are created by found kitchen objects and a wood block I made. A matching pedestal with a power supply is included. It is now in the collection of a prominent Houston, Texas art collector.

Provenance (newest first):

  • Glasstire Auction - Houston, TX, 2013 (sold).
  • Conduit Gallery - Dallas, TX, Solo show, 2013
  • Expo 2013 - 500X Gallery, Dallas, Texas. Juried by Iris Bechtol, Gallery Director, Eastfield College Art Galleries, Dallas, TX, 2013.
  • Assistance League of Houston - Williams Tower Gallery, Houston, Texas. Juried by Robin Clark, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Awarded 3rd Place, 2012.
  • VAST - Meadows Gallery Center for the Arts, Denton, Texas. Juried by Elizabeth Dunbar, Independent Curator, formerly Curator Kemper Museum, Kansas City, and Assistant Curator Whitney Museum, New York. Awarded Best of Show, 2012.
  • Trans - McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas, TX, 2012.
  • Texas Sculpture Association - Plano Art Centre, Plano, Texas, 2011.
Pan, Can, Bam!

A video of Pan, Can, Bam!
is on You Tube.

Copyright © by joel Sampson, All Rights Reserved