Born November 14, 1957 at Saint Francis Hospital in Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Currently living in Republic, Missouri
Emerging artist working primarily with stainless steel
I started doing sculptures around 1994. Some of my early pieces were designs taken from enlarging 3D wooden puzzles. Not unlike Claes Oldenburg. Looking back I’ve found that these were essential in my development to find my own voice as a sculptor.
I’m pretty much self taught although I did have a few semesters of college art classes. I learned how to weld and grind on the job at the age of 18. Now I have more than 35 years of experience as a welder and grinder. I have worked for the Paul Mueller Company in Springfield, MO for 25+ years. The sculptures I make have to be aesthetically pleasing to me because I can spend anywhere from 200-400 hours on each of them. Before building my own shop at home, I would go in to work 2 or 3 hours early everyday to work on my sculptures. I am so lucky that Paul Mueller Co. allowed me to use their equipment and scraps to create my pieces.
Before I begin welding, I make a model of the potential sculpture and place it in my office. Over time I change things and add things until I think it’s ready to build. Even then, I still change things during the building process. Over the years I have learned from each and every sculpture I have made.
My sculptures aren’t meant to make any profound statements or change the world. I strive for fun and clever. If you can smile and forget your troubles, if only for the moment, I will consider the sculpture a success.
I’ve heard a sculptor is an artist with a toolbox. I fit that description pretty well. I love every aspect of creating a sculpture. From designing the maquette to getting down and dirty in the shop welding and grinding to, my favorite part, the satisfaction of installing the sculpture for the public to enjoy. I hope you find as much joy in my sculptures as I do.
And remember, all my sculptures are gluten free.
ARTISTS WHO INSPIRE ME
I am fascinated by his large-scale metal pieces and his kinetic mobiles. As a side bar, I can still remember making a mobile in Mrs. Short’s second grade class, and by the way Mrs. Short was my very first crush. How many of you remember your second grade teacher?
He can take the ordinary everyday objects, enlarge them, and make them extraordinary with a twist of humor.
This is the sculptor I identify with the most. I like his large-scale abstract geometric sculptures. His “Cubi Series” made of stainless steel were my introduction to art made from stainless steel. During WWII, Smith helped the war effort by welding M7 Tanks and Locomotives. He was a Union card holder for most of his life. Not unlike myself.