Memorial Day in Sioux Falls

You didn’t get enough of Sioux Falls?

The family wanted to see my art in place and to see everything else too.  They were so impressed by my description of the city they wanted to see it for themselves.

They were duly impressed.

We ended up at the Holiday Inn City Centre again — it was hopping for the weekend. It was fun to walk the street and see everyone interacting with the sculptures.  People had the brochures and were using them to find sculptures.  And vote.  Many of the voting boxes were full (full of mine that is — he who travels to Sioux Falls gets to stuff the ballot box — just kidding!).

Unfortunately two pieces had already been damaged.  Some people are just idiots!

The kids loved Falls park.  We had to drag them away from the rocks. It really is a beautiful spot.

And, my other piece, Samurai Dancer is installed at the Orpheum Theater.  It’s in their inner courtyard. They were kind enough to send a photo. Thanks again for sponsoring the piece.

Yes, it was a really good trip back to Sioux Falls. If you are looking for a great place to visit, go there. 

And make sure you stop at the Queen City Bakery too. Delicious chocolate croissants and more.

Scroll down for a photo of Maelstrom in the sun.  Sweet.

Here’s a Flickr Feed of the photos from Sioux Falls.

[slickr-flickr tag=”Sioux Falls 2012″ items=”50″ type=”gallery” orientation=”portrait” size=”small” start=”random”]

Sioux Falls SculptureWalk 2012 — Day Two


Up at 5am — I can’t sleep I’m so excited.

Judd and I drive over to his site for a 6:25 am install. The weather is cloudy and misty — not the 86 and sunny originally predicted. 

There are cranes, welding trucks, and volunteers all over downtown. The cops directing traffic wave us through — I’m feeling like a celebrity.

Next, it’s over to the storage area to drop off Samurai Dancer and Judd’s pieces going to other locations.  I bend Samurai Dancer back to vertical.  It needs to be welded a bit to keep it that way.  He’ll be at the Orpheum in a couple of weeks.

We head to my pedestal in front of AdWerks.  It’s a great spot for Maelstrom.  It’s towards Falls Park on 5th and Main near the Museum of Visual Materials in a beautiful courtyard.  Here’s a video of the install:

And a few photos of the piece. Note the famous blue shirt.






After this, Judd and I wanted to see the other sculptures and get some breakfast.  So, we parked the van and walked over to Phillips Ave were all the action was taking place.  We talked with Kyle Fokken, who has a fun movable piece near mine (he also does great work) and hooked up with Nick Legeros too.

But before that, all four of us were interviewed by the local media.  I’ll post that when it becomes available.

Finally breakfast at the Phillips Avenue Diner (delicious) and a much needed nap (it was wet, rainy and cold — not the nap but the weather).

Art Discussion Panel

Five artist were asked by the moderator various questions about art.  The artists were: Bill Walker, Ben Hammond, Lance Carleton, Joe Castle and Nick Legeros.  The moderator was Marianne Weil.  There were three bronze sculptors (four counting Marianne) and two steel artists.

 Some on the panel had classical training while others were completely self taught.  Some knew practically from birth they wanted to be artists while others took awhile to get there. It was an inspiring panel. I loved the comments and the insights about who their mentors and inspirations were.  How they approached their art and what it all meant to them.

Ben made a comment that caught my attention.  He wanted just one piece in the art history books and be included with the great artists of the ages.  An admirable goal.  For you Minnesota Vikings fans, he did a bust for John Randle’s entry in the Hall of Fame.  Very cool!

We discussed why visitors ask sculptors about the act of creating sculptors and how we do what we do, along with some good-natured ribbing of painters.  There was discussion on naming the piece and how the name can affect how people see and interpret the art.  I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who wrestles with the naming thing.

Seeing the Art

After the discussion we broke up with a group of us heading to see my work Maelstrom, and then on to all the other pieces for the show.  About eight blocks worth of art.  Seriously, there is really good art here in Sioux Falls.  Go see it!  As soon as I have all the photos I’ll add them to a Flickr feed.

Falls Overlook Cafe Reception

The final official event of the weekend was a reception at the Falls Overlook Cafe.  Sioux Falls has a beautiful park the encompasses a waterfall that has carved out the pink quartz to create striking landscape.

This event was artists plus Jim Clark, the event organizer.  We got to hear from Jim. He said it was the best show in it’s 9 year history.  And that next years will be even better to celebrate 10 years.  We all showed our appreciation for Jim, the sponsors and all the volunteers.  Without them, there would be no SculptureWalk.

We had beer and more great conversation.  I was quizzing  Ben, Shohini Ghosh and Kate Christopher (part of the Minnesota posse) about how they do their bronze sculptures. Ben does busts for athletes and takes physical measurements and sculpts with clay as they sit. Being a technology guy I naturally asked why he didn’t just scan them with a three-d laser measurement device.

Well, you end up with a model, but not a sculpture was the basically the response.  There are a lot of lifelike bronzes out there, some more detailed than others.  I learned that during the creative process the artist will make the sculpture bend or move in ways no human really could to emphasize a certain aspect or meaning.  The model is transformed from a technical creation to a piece of art with meaning and emotion.  It’s a crucial step.

I feel the same way working with steel and copper.  I take what are often standard low-profile construction materials and heat, bend and shape them to imbue a meaning and create an emotional attachment. 

It reminds me of the show Chopped on the Food network.  Four chefs get a basket of mystery ingredients, one or two of which are not meant to go together in a traditional sense (Spam and gummy worms, for instance).  The winners are invariably those that can transform an ingredient they would ever use in their restaurants into a delightfully edible dish.

Seems like art is like that too. Take a pedestrian material (steel, bronze, copper) and love it until the art appears.  Transform it to have a reason that transcends its initial purpose in the universe and create a funny, sad, scary piece of art.


Dinner was at Minerva’s on Phillips Avenue with a large group of artists. We had a delightful steak dinner (they throw vegans and vegetarians out onto the street there) and more stimulating conversation.  During our walk to see all the sculptures I had the opportunity to get to know the guys from Anvil Works in West Virginia. Lee Badger is a master blacksmith and I feel honored to have met him.  Having done some really basic blacksmithing I have the ultimate respect for his work.  See, lots of very talented artists here.

At the dinner I spoke with Lee’s partner Steve and the others about websites and the internet.  I don’t pretend to know everything but I do know website development — it’s what I do professionally.  So we had a great conversation about the technologies and services we can use as artists to connect with our audiences.  Steve was kind enough to describe his results with internet marketing and SEO and I emphasized the need to have a mobile-friendly version of their websites.

A few of us ended the evening with a walk to Grand Finale by Jennifer Cannon. You’ll enjoy it. 

The walk back to the hotel was through busy streets of people coming and going.  Downtown Sioux Falls is definitely a vibrant downtown.  Personally I think it has lots to do with the 9 years of SculptureWalks.  There’s life and plenty of activity in this town.

The Journey to Sioux Falls — Day One

The Journey

So we got everything loaded into the trailer about 11am (thanks to Keith and Paul for your loading assistance) and headed off to Sioux Falls.  It was gorgeous Friday morning.

We stopped in Mankato for a good Mexican lunch and resumed our drive to Sioux Falls as scheduled.  Like any good story the travelers run into problems on the road. 

Between the rough roads and the sharp edges of Maelstrom, all the straps are getting sliced (learning experience #1 — use better straps).  One of the four straps flies off into the air behind us but we are good. But up ahead we can see the sky darkening.  Ominously.

Suddenly Samurai Dancer bends at ninety degrees.  I’m thinking its going overboard. We find a rest area. Turns out the wind had picked up and a particularly rough section of road caused the steel to bend (learning experience #2 — add more steel). We adjust the load with Judd’s pieces going into the van and Samurai Dancer going on it’s side.

The rest area guy takes down the American flag and says there’s some serious weather coming through.  We hop into the van and hurry on toward Windom (and the storm) and turn on the radio for the weather.

There’s a tornado warning with twisters on the ground to the south of the us and more or less heading in our direction.  We decide to race for Windom and hunker down there.  Judd’s on the weather radar on the phone– it shows the dark nasty colors straight ahead.

So, we make it to Windom with hardly any rain and it seems to be lightening up with the really dark clouds going north and south of us.  Let’s keep going, is the decision.  It’s only rain.

Immediately west of Windom it gets nighttime dark and the rain comes pouring down in buckets. Just to the south I swear I see a funnel cloud — it was definitely rotating. It rains so hard I have to pull over to the side of the road.  “Where do we go if there’s a tornado?”  See that ditch? Apparently there were people who thought there was one and decided the ditch was the answer.

Since I’m writing this tale, we managed to get through the storm, buy new tie downs and make it to Sioux Falls for the the start of the opening reception.  But now we have some great stories.  Plus I get to say that my sculpture Maelstrom had to go through the tempest to get there. 

Opening Reception

We got our rooms at the Holiday Inn City Centre, our packets and headed up to the reception. We had drinks and food waiting for us and had the chance to meet the Jim Clark, the sponsors, the many volunteers and, of course, the artists. Props to the band too!

Thanks again to everyone for the warm welcome and to Mike and Lois for introducing me to the many others in attendance.  Jim the emcee ran the show and presented the 55 sculptures in a slide show.  I have to admit I cringed a bit when seeing the photo of my model for Maelstrom.  Glad you could all see the potential.

 We wrapped up the reception and headed to Monks for drinks and conversation.  I had the opportunity to meet and get to know many of the fine artists in the show.  And drink excellent beer.

Wise and experienced heads prevailed and wrapped up the evening.  It promised to be a long day on Saturday with an early start installing all the pieces.

The Shirt

The tale would not be complete without mention of my shirt. All the artists get a great Mountain Hardwear shirt with the SculptureWalk logo.  Mine happened to be the only really cool blue one.  I totally scored and got many a compliment.  It was a real ice-breaker. Thanks Jim!


Thank you Sioux Falls

What an incredible experience.  The people of Sioux Falls are wonderful.  They really took care of all the artists in the 2012 SculptureWalk. 

Thanks to Jim Clark who somehow manages to take care of more than 40 artists, coordinate all the installs, find sponsors and manage the multitude of volunteers.  Amazing!

Here’s a shout out to all the volunteers.  Thanks for introducing me at the opening reception (Mike and Lois), helping us get our sculptures in place and installed and being so kind.

Thanks to my sponsor AdWerks. I definitely appreciate it! Great new SculptureWalk web site too!

A big thank you to Sioux Falls for welcoming us into your wonderful city.  It was my first time and I’ll definitely be back.

Thanks to all the artists.  Everyone I met was cool and talented.  I’ll admit to being a little awestruck to be counted amongst you.  I’m sure I walked around all weekend with a silly grin on my face. Thanks for the ideas, inspiration and the welcome!

Here’s a special shout out to my good friend and talented artist Judd Nelson.  He graciously lets me work in his studio, gives me good and honest feedback, and helps keep me going in the art world. 

And finally thanks to my family and friends.  They put up with my crazy notions and piles of steel in my backyard (I promise to use it all).


Plymouth Primavera Art Show

The city of Plymouth, MN has an annual art show called Primavera, sponsored by the Plymouth Arts Council (yes, I am a member).  I’m in it this year.  Come and see lots of local art.

I dropped off my pieces today and saw a few sculptures and lots of paintings.

The show is at the Plymouth Creek Center from April 14 – 16.

See you there.

[mappress mapid=”1″]

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Show

I’m dropping off two pieces for the Society of Minnesota Sculptors show at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum today.  It’s very exciting.  One piece is outside (Crunch) and the other (Coral) will be with the others inside.

Come check it out and make sure to stroll through the gardens,  Oh, you might notice some very large sculpture scattered throughout the grounds.  Those are… not mine.  One can only hope.

The exhibit is Steelroots and is the work of Steve Tobin.

Enjoy the shows.