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Workers install a colorful 20-foot tall "nail" sculpture along the Eastrail Trail.
Media Caption
Crews install new public art, "Nails," by Sound Transit facilities under construction in Bellevue.

Watch out for 'Nails' on the trail

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The newest public art piece rising from the ground outside Sound Transit’s future Link light rail base in Bellevue is hard to miss. 

Forty-five sculptural “nails” stretching for roughly 480 feet are now installed just outside the security fence at the northwest corner of the site, along the Eastside Rail Corridor Trail.

Here's a Google Map link showing the sculpture location

The sculptures, by German-born and Los Angeles-based artist Christian Moeller, are metal poles shaped to resemble tall bent nails, and painted with a unique collection of stripes selected from a palette of four colors.

As trail users approach the site, they see the large sculptures at an acute angle. This creates almost a solid wall of color, animating the trail edge and partially screening the light rail base, officially known as the Link Operations and Maintenance Facility East

The artwork is inspired by a carnival game in which participants race to pound nails into a log, although in this case, the nails are 11.5 to 30 feet high. 

A man walking next to the 20-foot tall "nails" sculpture along the Eastrail Trail in Bellevue.
Christian Moeller's "Nails" sculpture alongside the Eastside Rail Corridor trail in Bellevue.

The Sound Transit art program, or STart, incorporates art into Sound Transit facilities and infrastructure that reflects the communities we serve. 

The OMF East is within walking distance from the Spring District/120th East Link light rail station that will be served by the Blue Line, opening for service in 2023

Moeller’s sculptures were selected through an open national process, which involved representatives from the Bellevue Arts Commission, local community, professional artists and Sound Transit. 

His initial concept was to craft tree-like structures with cedar poles, but the idea evolved when the material was switched to steel. 

A rendering of what "Nails" will look like when completed.
A rendering of the new paved Eastrail Trail next to the nails. The trail is open to riders today on crushed gravel.

“My view changed from 2D to sculptural,” Moeller said. “I kept the verticality of the poles but now wanted to emphasize the notion of what was driving them into the ground. The image of a nail, even more so a crooked nail, communicates this idea very direct and lively.”

OMF East will support the region's growing light rail fleet. When service extends to Northgate in two years, then to the Eastside and on to Lynnwood and Federal Way in 2024, the light rail system will more than double in size and the light rail fleet will more than triple from 62 to 214 vehicles.

About the artist

Originally from Frankfurt, Germany, Moeller studied architecture at the College of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria. In the 1990s Moeller worked as a multi-media designer in both Germany and Austria before accepting an appointment in the Department of Design/Media Arts at the University of California Los Angeles.

In addition to his teaching, Moeller has exhibited widely, concentrating on public commissions. His work can be seen in locations throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia, including locally in Bothell, SeaTac Airport and in the SODO neighborhood in Seattle.

Moeller was selected to develop artwork by a panel that included: Bill Finkbeiner (property owner/bike advocate, Lake Bellevue); Trudi Jackson (Bellevue Arts Commissioner); and John Sutton (project artist, City of Bellevue Grand Connection Visioning team).

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