Happy Birthday Alexander Calder!

Google doodle goes mobile for Alexander Calder's 113th birthday.

A piece of kinetic art took the place of the usual Google logo to celebrate the 113th birthday of American artist and sculptor Alexander Calder.

Friday's Google doodle shows a mobile, a type of kinetic sculpture that was invented by Alexander Calder. Mobiles take advantage of the principle of equilibrium and have objects hanging from rods. Kinetic art uses motion for an artistic effect.

Mobiles are usually brightly coloured free-moving creations in abstract shapes made from sheet metal. The mobile Google doodle sways on its own and can also be controlled by mouse gestures.

Calder was born on July 22, 1898 in Lawnton, US to a family of artists. While his father and grandfather were both sculptors, his mother was a painter.

He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1919. He then took art lessons. After a brief career in commercial art, Calder moved to Paris and put up an exhibition of a miniature circus with toy-like animals made of wood and wire. In Paris he formed associations with renowned artists and their influence helped him shape his art.

Calder was also a jewellery designer, an interest that developed when he was fashioning a wedding ring for his marriage with Louisa Cushing James. Besides his sculptures, Calder also illustrated a number of books. Besides mobiles, he also earned a name with stabiles, a type of stationary abstract sculptures.

With the years Calder also scaled up the size of his mobile and stabile installations. Calder died at the age of 78 on November 11, 1976. Two months after his death, Calder was honoured with United States' highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Interactive and animated Google doodles have now become a regular feature on the Google home page. The last such doodle was during the total lunar eclipse of June 15-16 when Google put up its first live doodle that refreshed itself every two minutes to reflect the stage of the moon.

For a dozen years, Google has been occasionally swapping its everyday logo for a doodle, a sketch celebrating holidays, inventions, artists and sporting events, and showcasing designs from contest-winning students.

For a look at contemporary mobile designs .... come see modern mobile artist Julie Frith: www.frithmobiles.com