Giant Creepy Crawlies

Marlin Peterson’s Daddy-Long-Legs on the Armory Roof

Marlin Peterson’s daddy-long-legs is a new art installation in Seattle. We viewed it yesterday. It was completed just last month. It can only be viewed from the observation deck of the Space Needle. Installed on the roof of the neighboring Armory, these two sixty-foot spiders have taken over Seattle Center. To think that the Needle, which has endured for fifty-years should now fall prey to as pair of gigantic arachnids. I was grateful for the safety cage that around the observation deck, but also doubtful about how effective a deterrent it would be it they chose to climb up. 😉

The only thing I can really hope to shoot for is maybe some tears from a kid or something. – Marlin Peterson

All of the children with us up there seemed more excited rather than scared by the spiders. Strange though, because the daddy-long-legs is the most venomous spider in North America. More poisonous than either the Black Widow or the Brown Recluse. The only reason that they are not a danger to humans is because their fangs are too small to pierce the skin. I don’t think that this would be true with these two.

It wasn’t until we were taking the elevation back down that I learned that they were not sculptures, but rather paintings. Mr. Peterson created these two massive 3-D “harvestmen” or more scientifically, Opiliones, over a five-week period in August. The one in front is a female and a male is following.

It is their shadows that ‘lift’ the spiders off the Armory roof. Peterson made wire models and experimented with lighting to get the shadows right. The shadows’ position is timed for later in the afternoon then we were there, but being there near noon on a brilliant day still made the artwork look pretty realistic. Peterson had to paint without a net, in the sense that he could not duplicate the weathered look of the Armory’s roof. Every time he put paint to roof he had to be certain that he was doing so in the right spot. Here is a YouTube link to a time-lapse of one day in its creation.