Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Finals Week...finally

These photos are from my "final exam" this semester. The piece is almost complete, just a few adjustments and paint.

Overall it is about 12' in length, 5' in width and height. All reclaimed lumber.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


This is the short list of what remains to be completed on my current sculpture. Did I mention that the end of the semester is next week?

Thursday, November 24, 2011


That God is creative is a fact made indisputable by even the smallest shell in the darkest part of the deepest ocean. Never mind the mysteries of butterfly migration and quantum physics. Humanity is daily buried under a thundering avalanche of beauty, mystery and awe. There can be no argument: God is the original Creator, an artist mad with ideas and boundless energy. We, who are made in His Image, are most fully ourselves when we also create. All of us are spun from His being and glow with the spark of creativity… some of us blaze with it. In other words you don’t have to be an artist to create, just human. However some have been uniquely graced with this aspect of God’s image. Wild with delight and blazing with conviction, artists are often worshipers of the most daring kind. They are ones whose eyes are wide with wonder and the strangeness of it all. Almost painfully aware that every atom, sun-fish, and supernova practically shouts of God, they must invent new languages in a desperate attempt to describe what they see. For not an iota of this wild carnival should go unappreciated. Over familiarity is numb paralysis, and all the saints of God are called to be fiercely alive. We must daily be invigorated by the shock of awe and truth. Artists, prophets and visionaries have a knack for bringing exactly that to the world, and especially to the church. Yet these wild-eyed children of God, have long been orphaned by the family of Christ. -KC Boiler Room


Friday, October 28, 2011

News and Updates

I am currently working on my final sculpture for the semester. I have much to do, but I am moving forward. Many decisions to be made in this last big push of the current semester.

These photos show a few of the pieces that will be part of the final sculpture.

Except for This will be on display in Davenport, Iowa at The Figge Art Museum during the 2011 College Invitational. The opening reception is Saturday, November 5 from 2-4pm. The show runs from November 5, 2011 - January 8, 2012. For more info about The Figge visit

Monday, October 10, 2011

A little background

Through conversations with individuals looking at my recent work I have come to realize something that had not been on my radar. Most people, with the exception of those who have seen my work before, do not realize that almost every part of the sculptures I create are made of wood and ceramic. Re-claimed wood and ceramic for that matter. Art patrons often times overlook pieces I have created because they are common, everyday types of items and the thought is that I have gone the route of taking the real item and painting it.

This in some ways is a compliment I suppose because it means that I have made the piece convincing enough to resemble the item I drew inspiration from. On the other hand, the piece can easily be dismissed as a sculpture all together and seen as a just another assemblage of everyday items that have been painted and pieced together.

Case in point. I had a few pieces in a show last spring and one of the gallery assistants tried to push the wooden cart with wooden suitcases stacked on it. Not a good idea. Although they look functional, they are not. The end result was me having to take the rear wheel assembly apart for reconstruction.

The piece I just completed and posted photos of in the previous post on this page could easily be viewed the same way. Everything is wood and ceramic with the exception of the phone cords (purchased used) and the re-claimed light fixture. The hand cart, milk crates, phone, handsets and pulleys are all made of reclaimed wood. The pillow is made of reclaimed clay.

Although I feel this is a terrible hardship I must deal with and the ongoing psychological trauma I am sure to endure will result in many more trips to the therapist and countless hours of counseling, plus...Plus nothing. I have to admit it is really cool to see the face of someone who just made the connection or was told the piece is not really the actual item. Then to talk about its meaning or significance, well that is what its all about. Oh the hardships. How will I endure?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Still Plugging Away

This semester I am enrolled in a sculpture class at WIU. Duke Oursler is the new sculpture professor that replaced Don Crouch who retired after 40+ years of service. Duke has been very supportive of my use of reclaimed materials and has encouraged me to continue on in the direction I have been working. I have been forging ahead trying to finish up a new piece utilizing lumber and clay. It is in the final stages and will be completed by this Thursday...since it has to be ready for a critique that evening! I should have some photos up towards the end of the week. Lots of new ideas/concepts too!

Reflecting as I work.
Spent the day working in the shop on some additional elements for a piece I am working on. The big difference today was the fact that I did not use my air nailer today. Instead I used a hammer and nails. Used nails as a matter of fact. As most of you know I am really into using a material more than one time. Giving it a life outside the landfill. Anyway the nails that I have been using are typically bent and require a few gentle taps of the hammer to make the worthy of being useful again. Just to be clear this is a slow process, a painfully slow one for sure. All the while I could not help but think of life and people as I was slowly constructing these new element. As I have mentioned before art and life collide for me in the work I create. Today was no different. Working with imperfect materials and realizing my own limitations and patience, or at times a lack there of, I could not help but think of the relationships with my friends and family. How at times we are all like the bent nail. Sometimes we just need someone to slow down and take time for us. Sometimes, often times we need someone to gently encourage or support or correct us so that the bent and often times crazy path we are on can be realigned and therefor helping us find our way.

As always thanks for looking and tell a friend.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Current work

These are the two pieces I am currently working on with the hopes of having both of them done by the end of the year. The hand cart with milk crates has several other pieces that will be added later. The "rail" piece will also have much more to be added later. Curious???? Well that's all part of the plan. More to come. As always thanks for looking and most certainly you should tell a friend.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Haiti 2011...a recap

Well our trip to Haiti has come and gone, yet my mind has only begun to process what I witnessed and experienced. I am finding it difficult to answer the question that I often get asked,“did you have fun in Haiti”? I’m not sure if that is just a way of getting a conversation started or if people think that I went there for vacation. Anyway, I would not define the trip by the word “fun”. Fun is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think back upon that week in early June. Eye-opening, awestruck, speechless, chaotic, moved to tears, overwhelming, heartbreaking are a few of the ways that I would describe it. Yet, in the same sentence I would include beautiful, joyous, humbling and downright amazing. Before we left on our journey, because I am coming to the realization that is exactly what we were on and continue to be on, (more on that later)I was told by a friend that has been to Haiti on numerous occasions that you will have a very difficult time sharing your experience with others. You see, words, although extremely powerful…well there are just times, times like this, when words simply are inadequate. With that in mind, I will do my best to give you small glimpse into the world of northwest Haiti.
First off, travel is not a quick process. Why you may ask? Let’s just say that paved roads are few and very far between. Cars do not exist on the roads of northwest Haiti, only trucks, busses, motorcycles and a vast array of donkeys. Imagine the worst pothole- strewn street you know and multiply it times ten. When in Haiti, if someone describes a pothole that could swallow a car, that is not figurative since I thought on numerous occasions that the busses we rode on were going to disappear once we entered into such holes on the road.
The poverty and lack of infrastructure are glaringly obvious. From the trash and open sewers that flow throughout the region to the nakedness of young Haitian children and absence of clean drinking water, life in Haiti, from a physical standpoint is worlds apart from life here in the U.S. I could go on and on about the physical living conditions and I could easily allow myself to be consumed by it, yet this is only a small part of the bigger story, the journey. You see, I went to Haiti not only to experience what the living conditions were like,I also went to see how God is using his people in a land that truly has to rely on him for survival. Despite the common assumption, not all Haitians are lazy, nor do they all rely on handouts and donations. If all Haitians are lumped into this category then the man I worked with digging a massive hole for a water tank ( if we were in the U.S. we would have used a backhoe), who by the way was a good twenty years older than me, is a rarity in this region. Or maybe it was the man pushing a wheelbarrow overflowing with cinderblocks up a hill that most people would find difficult to climb without the added load. Or maybe it was the numerous Haitian women we would cross paths with each day that balanced tremendous loaded baskets upon their heads traversing the busy roads and streets of northwest Haiti. Lazy? Freeloaders? Not exactly.
Haiti is alive. From the outside looking in all we see is the devastation and we want to fix it and fix it right now. Many things have to change in Haiti, but due to the lack of infrastructure, much of this is out of the control of the Haitian people. At the same time, God is certainly at work in northwest Haiti and at a pace only He can explain. He has laid it upon the hearts of many, Americans and Haitians alike, to share His love with a part of the world that knows poverty and destruction intimately. He has given us the opportunity to help meet not only the physical needs of a hurting people, but their deeper emotional and spiritual needs as well. On one such occasion while delivering a week’s worth of food to a family I had the opportunity to talk with the mother of the home (via our translator Karmon). Through our short time together I found out that she was a Christian, yet she did not own a copy of the old or new testament Bible. We were able to give her a copy of the NT in Creole for her to share with her family and neighbors. How will this addition of Gods written word in her native language change her world and those around her? I am not quite sure, yet I can imagine her and her family gathered together reading from that Bible and God piercing their hearts with the message and story that goes far beyond anything I could offer. As we departed I held her hands in mine and we prayed and thanked God for allowing us to cross paths.
It was the moments like that, when God allowed me to take a glimpse into the real work that is taking place in His world. You see, the physical changes and advancements in Haitian society are valuable. Clean water, shelter, employment, safety…all of these things are truly important. Yet it is the foundation built upon God that will truly create lasting change for the better in Haiti. When the story of Jesus is shared with people and their lives are forever transformed by His message of hope and redemption…that is where the real change will begin. Because of Jesus Northwest Haitian Christian Mission and other missions like it are thriving. I have so many more stories to tell of delivering meals to the elderly, visiting the missions large orphanage out in an extremely remote part of the country, walking through a voodoo temple in the town of Ansefaleur, holding, playing and dancing with special needs children, painting the faces of children while at the beach, being carried through the water to a sailboat on the shoulders of a Haitian man, feeding kids peanut butter sandwiches, sharing stories with other missionaries, laughing, crying, praying…the list goes on and on.
Please know I am forever grateful that you chose to support me and the work God is doing in Haiti. I honestly could have not done it without you. Again, thank you for allowing God to use you and me in order to share His message. If you have any questions or would like to just sit down and talk about the trip please let me know. I would love to share more with you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Back to the mainland

We arrived back in the U.S. on Sunday evening and made it back home on Monday afternoon. My mind is swollen with what I saw and experienced. The people of Haiti, especially those in St. Louis du Nord, their lives and their stories. The mission ( and their purpose became real. I have so much I want to share and will probably dole it out in small does on this blog. Yet, if you want to hear from me personally and talk one on one please let me know. I would love to share with you. My world has not only been rocked and a bit wrecked, but I believe there are things I have been pondering and praying about for some time that are being confirmed as well. Onward and Upward is more real than ever.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Out of this world...

this afternoon myself along with 11 others will be headed off to St. Louis du Nord, Haiti. We will be working with the Northwest Haitian Christian Mission. Please pray for us as we embark on this journey and the lives of those we will come in contact with along the way. My prayer and hope is that we will honor Jesus in all that we do wherever we go. I will update all of you when we return on June 13th.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

In progress

These three crates are going to be used with several other pieces. Those pieces include a pillow, telephone, handcart, and approximately twenty phone handsets.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Piece

Early On - Reclaimed Lumber and Acrylic - 2011

As a young boy I spent many hours with my father in the various grocery stores he managed in our hometown. Although I was unaware of it at the time, my understanding of how to respect and relate to people of all sorts was being modeled to me by my father. Those times in the store watching, learning, absorbing...all the while laying a foundation one block at a time. I loved those days and I miss them...

Monday, April 4, 2011


Recently my good friend Tonya shot some photos of a piece of mine for a show entry. She also likes to take photos during the prep for a shoot and this is one such photo. We have a mutual appreciation of images that seem to capture the moment.

So now the entry has been sent in and I just have to wait for the jurors decision. Yesterday my buddy Mike and my brother Jeff delivered four pieces for a new group show opening on Wednesday night in Macomb, Illinois at the West Central Illinois Arts Center. The reception, which is in conjunction with W.I.U.'s Environmental Summit, is from 6-8pm with live music and refreshments.

This show will feature one new piece and three created in the last six months.

Monday, March 28, 2011


my left hand got into an argument with the table saw a few weeks ago. As my friend and co-worker Dave said, "and the saw always wins." And it did. I did not loose any fingers, but the damage has been done and it has certainly slowed me down. A full recovery is expected, it is just going to be a while. No need to go into details though.

Anyway, I was working on a new piece to be entered into a juried show in St.Louis, as you have figured it out, it did not get finished. I was able to enter another piece for the show and should know whether or not I am in by the middle of April.

As for the unfinished piece, I will have it ready by this weekend. It along with three other pieces of mine will be on display in a group exhibit at the West Central Illinois Arts Center in Macomb Illinois. The theme for the show is art that incorporates recycled/reclaimed materials. This show will coincide with Western Illinois University's Environmental Summit. The opening reception will be Wednesday, April 6 from 6-8 pm.

Would love to see you there.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

In need of material

Just thought that some of you who read the blog might be able to help me out. I am on the lookout for used lumber and sheet goods.
2x4,6,8,10's, plywood, broken cabinets etc. Not interested in OSB or MDF.

As far as sizes goes I'm pretty open to most anything. I do know that I will need about 20, 10-12 foot 2x4s.

I am working on a very large installation piece for a possible show in late September. Although I am not sure about the specific date of the show I want to get a head start on securing material since this will possibly be my largest work to date.

Right now I know that I do not have nearly enough material to work from.

Any help you can offer would be great. I am more than willing to go to dumpsters or building sites to pick up. If you would pass this on to anyone else you think might be interested in helping out.

Shoot me an email @ if you come across anything.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

I make all things new

In regards to using recyled/reclaimed materials let me make this clear, when it comes to art materials I'm cheap. A cheapskate plain and simple. I love the challenge of making something out of a material that has seemingly lost its purpose or need. On the upside, this type of material is either quite inexpensive or all together free. Am I concerned with the environment? Yes. Am I concerned with an over abundance of stuff? Mass-over production and mass-over consumption? Yes,and yes. These are a few of the factors/concerns/issues that keep me coming back to the materials I choose to use.
On the other hand there is a deeper, more soul-like connection with this type of material. The fact that the materials mimic life is beautiful to me. You see, I'm that guy that pulls for the underdog. The things that others look past, the things that so often don't fit the standard mold of perfection. That is what I am drawn to. Finding a use, a purpose, a reason for existence for the cast off piece of lumber or dried out clay is deeply connected to who I am. Because for the most part we are all like this at some point in our lives. Seen as useless or not seen at all. Not valued or seen as having little purpose. Jesus is the model for this way of thinking and He is the reason I have come to see the art work I create in this way. He found purpose and meaning, especially in those that did not fit the worlds mold. He is able to make all things new. We are only alive because the creator of the universe has allowed us to be. If we are still here, we have a purpose. I suppose I take the same approach with cast off materials; even though our world sees them as unimportant or useless, I notice them. They exist and I see a use for them. I see the material not for what it was, but for what it will become. It still has worth and a purpose yet to be discovered. In a sense, it too is made new.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Process photos

Here are a few shots of the current piece I am working on. When complete, it will also include approximately 24 additional telephone handsets. This piece will require ceiling space to mount part of it. Curious? So am I, but not curious like a can't trust a cat.