Reinvention.

I was 20 years old in 1986 when I walked into Dan Ostermiller’s studio and asked for a job. Up to then, I’d been helping my Dad build houses. I was young and naive and had no idea what it meant to be a professional artist, let alone understanding the much more specialized realm of the sculptor. I ground bronze and learned to weld it; we painted rubber and slung plaster to make molds; I learned pointing up and roughing in from maquette to monument. I put all this newfound knowledge to work, sculpting my own pieces and casting them in bronze.

Somehow, the artist in me that had previously enjoyed drawing and painting fell in love with form and space and shadow, and I spent every free penny I made turning my ideas into cast metal. Casting bronze is expensive, even with the discounts the foundries gave us “rats,” the green-tinged, bleary-eyed artisans who did the dirty work on the shop floor. I discovered Brancusi and stone carving, doubly excited by the cheap, plentiful medium and the thrill of turning an ugly rock into a work of art. Somewhere around this point in the timeline, Mr. Ostermiller and I had a falling out (I pissed him off) and I found myself once again walking into a sculptor’s studio to ask for a job. Kent Ullberg wasn’t just the second sculptor I worked for, he became like a second father to me. The Swede opened my eyes to a more European view of the world and of art. He also entrusted me to manage his production at the foundry, as well as handling the enlargement of some of his most impressively-scaled works.

There are a many more details and people and crazy happenings to recount, but that gets too far afield from my point. The stone carving and the metal grinding and the construction work, not to mention a detour to make a few thousand Chipotle chairs for my friend Bruce, took a serious toll on my physical health. Couple that with the inevitable diminishing of aging eyesight and a restlessness to move away from committee-driven public art, and you have the perfect recipe for a personal reinvention. And so it is with a bittersweet heart that I formally end my career as a sculptor, moving forward with excitement and trepidation into a future of greater creative freedom and less physical pain. Stay tuned to see what happens on the next episode!

(I’m cross-posting this to my new website, but the version over there has PICTURES! CLICK HERE)

Winter = creativity. 

As is usual for me, Winter is a slow period for the sculpture business. Rather than spend my time carefully categorizing my favorite local brews by IBU and hangover severity, I’ve been flexing my creative musk oils—er, muscles— with a bunch of 2d work. I picked up one of the big iPad Pros, and it has been a revelation. I’ve used Wacom tablets for years, but have never had the experience of drawing directly on the display surface. Well, not with the level of precision that Apple’s Pencil provides. If you have any desire to draw digitally, do yourself a favor and try one out.

These designs are made with a vector drawing app called Assembly. As the name implies, it primarily involves assembling pre-made shapes into compositions. I enjoy the challenge of resisting complexity. I add textures with a variety of other apps, and run the final design through an app called Percolator to give them the packed-circles look.

Also have been doing some sketching on the iPad. Nice.

WordPress.

Switching this site over to WordPress in order to (hopefully) secure it from any future structural changes in my hosting provider.

Note to others: The original spirit of the web is being slain by the likes of Tumblr, Facebook, et al. YOU should take ownership of your online content, not hand it over to the latest corporate fad or nameless overlord.

Some links are currently broken. I have a back-up over here.