I play with fire so hot it can melt metal, electricity with enough voltage to start Frankenstein’s heart, light so bright it can burn your eyes. Sparks fly, motors whine. Bam! Bam! Bam! The hammer falls. Sweat pours off my forehead, hot embers singe my skin, my back aches, and I love it! I may not be a super hero; I am better. I am an ARTIST!
My sculptures are organic forms captured in metal. I make petroglyphs and pinecones, ravens and roses. I am an artist! Beautiful bells made from discarded tanks and delightful drums that produce musical notes. I am an artist. Soaring saguaros made from the Grand Canyon mule shoes. I’ve even shaped a planet - Mars to be exact. I am an Artist!
In 2011 I entered the Flagstaff Recycled art show and won the Elegance award. This fueled my creativity. I was planning to enter my work in a gallery in Flagstaff when my wife and another artist suggested we open a gallery here in Williams, AZ. The Gallery in Williams opened in September, 2011. There are now four galleries in Williams.
I entered the 2012 Recycled Art Exhibition in Flagstaff, and this time my "Shoeguaro" took Best in Show. In 2014 I collaborated with Mike Frankel and John Rogers to create “The Mars Kaleidisphere”, which is on permeant display at the Lowell Observatory. I also participated in the inaugural session of the Art Box Institute. Also in 2014 I entered “It’s Elemental”, a juried show put on by Flagstaff Arts Council. My work “Resonance” took Best in Show. 2015 has been a busy year. I have two works accepted in the “It’s Elemental” show, which opens November 14th. I have been asked to create the awards for the Viola awards ceremony, which is the premier art event in Flagstaff recognizing artists for the contributions throughout the year. Work it is, HARD WORK, and the most fulfilling, rewarding work of my life!
“The Mars Kaleidisphere,” on display in Lowell Observatory’s parking lot for all to view, elegantly captures Flagstaff’s ties to the red planet while depicting many of the planet’s surface features, including those large volcanos and Valles Marineris, the grandest canyon in our solar system.
Beyond this Flagstaff-Mars connection, “The Mars Kaleidisphere” also reminds us of another distinct characteristic of our community: the melding of art and science. Artists Mike Frankel, John Rogers and Tom Williams combined a scientific understanding of the planet with their talents to hammer, weld, paint and image, creating an exhibit that on the outside accurately depicts the surface of Mars and on the inside contains a tantalizing kaleidoscope of Hubble images, sprinkled with some surprise iconographic pictures.
Flagstaff is fortunate to have such a diverse collection of talented and creative individuals who can combine elements of creativity with scientific content. The Mars Kaleidisphere serves as an excellent reminder of this heritage, from our association with Mars to our own definition of culture, which melds the music, art and writing of the arts with the knowledge, wonder and sense of discovery of science.
Kevin Schindler is the communications manager at Lowell Observatory.