The GamBLING Machine
“Let’s sparkle the whole world”. Truer words have never been spoken than by La Jolla artist Jean Wells. Known for her 20th century stalwart inspired work, Wells transforms true American objects into beautiful and sparkly pieces of pop-culture iconography.
Ever come across a giant sparkly hot dog? If you haven’t then Jean has you covered. How about a tree yielding hamburgers and bottles of soda pop as its fruit? Jean’s “Urban Fruit” mosaic will have you wanting to pick more than just apples in an orchard. Focusing on true icons of vintage Americana, Jean Wells transforms everyday items into beautifully detailed sculptures. So when Harrah’s Resort Southern California decided a new piece of art was needed to capture our passion for “Making fun FUNNER”, we knew exactly who to call.
Invented in California during the late 19th century, the slot machine is a true piece of American history. Gaining overwhelming popularity upon its invention, the slot machine found its way into saloons, barber shops, pubs and other establishments. Government legislation eventually pushed slot machines out of these locations and into their current homes–casinos.
When most people look at a slot machine they usually see the obvious features like the spinning reels, flashy lights or slot lever. But Wells sees an empty canvas and an opportunity to express Harrah’s Resort SoCal’s fun environment. “When I first visited Harrah’s I was inspired by the excitement, the creativity, the explosion of lights and color, entertainment, and the combination of experiences!” said Wells. “The excitement you can feel… So this place deserves a very exciting sculpture.”
It doesn’t get much more exciting than the sparkliest slot machine ever to hit our casino floor!
During the GamBLING Machine’s 10-month construction, Wells took the slot machine from ordinary to extraordinary. She hand-cut every piece of Woodinville, Washington glass to fit perfectly and mirror-backed many pieces to create a better range of color. Wells’ painstaking attention to detail truly shines on the GamBLING Machine. From glitzy roulette wheels to poker chips and sparkly dollar signs, Jean encompasses the playful spirit of the Harrah’s Resort SoCal gaming floor.
When reflecting on the sculpture Wells said: “I loved working on the machine. I explored some new boundaries. It was a very enriching experience for me.”
Jean Wells’ GamBLING Machine is now on display at Harrah’s Resort SoCal. Be sure to “Ooooo” and “Ahhhh” in its reflective presence!