Backing Board Assembly Infrastructure for “A Piece of Me”

January 14, 2021

Backing board mounted on the wall with grid and numbers.

Backing board mounted on the wall with grid and numbers.

I just finished writing about the technical issues I had wanted to address before painting began of the individual panels in the “A Piece of Me” multimedia project. You can read that post here. Yet in addition to all those individual panel choices, I also had to make some decisions later about the backing board for the final assembly. That’s the subject of this post.

I needed something strong enough to bear the weight of approximately thirty kilos. It needed to be receptive to a staple gun for fixing the velcro pieces into place (128 times). Also, I wanted something that I could draw a grid on easily and assign number placements. 8 mm Plywood should be fine. See photo above, right of the installed backing board.

Placing the first four panels in the centre of the backing board.

Placing the first four panels in the centre of the backing board.

After calculating the cumulative dimensions of the panels, I asked my contractor to cut a piece that was 1 cm shorter in both the height and width. This was because, though I wanted it to function as a backing board flush against the wall, I didn’t want its edges to be visible, if possible. Since I had already intended to create finished frames on the individual panels, I hoped to avoid creating a frame for the final piece. In addition, I knew that for disassembly, it would be necessary to have enough space to get a finger in to gently wedge a panel back off the backing board. .5 cm around the edges should suffice. My contractor drilled two holes and installed it on the wall. It lay flush, ready for the next stage.I drew in the grid, numbered the spaces and created a template for the velcro pieces. I stapled the velcro in on the wall mounted board as well as the backing plates of the individual panels. I began placing the panels, working from the centre out, placing the first four. My husband commented, stop here, and this could be contemporary art. I smiled. See image, above left.

Sixty four panels mounted in the final assembly.

Sixty four panels mounted in the final assembly.

Soon the four became sixteen, then thirty six, then forty two, then sixty four. Finally the painting was fully assembled, see right. The velcro appeared to be strong enough to hold each piece in place but not too strong so as to disallow easy removal. Luckily enough it also allowed for some flexibility in the fit. (There had been some small variation in the panel sizes, but nothing to worry about.) Finally now I could step back and appreciate the view. The dissonance of the digital assembly appeared to be a little bit greater than in real life. This dissonance will lessen even more after I varnish some of the more sensitive panels.

Fully mounted painting of A Piece of Me viewed from the side.

Fully mounted painting of “A Piece of Me” viewed from the side.

I then took a look at the side view and could see that my framing of the individual panels was working fine: no additional frame would be needed. Simple. Effective. Clean. See the photo to the left.

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