Artist Feature: Steve Bormes

Meet Steve Bormes!  His fantastical Sioux Falls, SD made sculptures and lighting can be found in galleries and collections across the country!  I could go on about this amazing human and his zany, wonderful, outsider art, but no one could tell Steve’s story better than Steve himself!

I find Artist’s Statements very imposing. I don’t juxtapose, I rarely intimate, and I’ve certainly never synergized. My work may lack verisimilitude. Or not. Who knows? 

I am not disrespectful of these terms. I just don’t feel comfortable describing my work that way, even if someone else sees all of those qualities in my work. Those words aren’t part of my lexicon. 

I suppose this is because I’m not a formally-trained artist. My work is informed primarily by an education in biology and math, and a diverse career path, including everything from communicable disease specialist for the state health department to certified arborist, to international textile and antiquities buyer. My life is about nothing if not evolution, and my vocabulary – and my work – are based in what I know. 

The idea of evolution is that animals, over time, operate with increasing efficiency. The goal of machinery is the same: accomplish more, with less. I like to think I bring those same basic principles of physiological and mechanical efficiency to my work. Words like “drag,” torque,” “energy,” “inertia, and “balance” inform the decisions I make as an artist. In other words, everything I create has to at least theoretically be able to DO what it was created to imitate. 

Speaking of big words, I think it’s safe to say that the term “anthropomorphism” applies to nearly everything I create. Almost all of my pieces are creatures of one sort or another. Even the machines have personalities. In this respect, I would say Dr. Seuss has been a major influence on my work. I, like every other child in the 1960s, grew up reveling in how even the trees in his illustrations seemed to have distinctly-human characteristics. 

I often say my work doesn’t have any hidden agenda, but perhaps it does. I do strive to reignite that sense of childlike wonder in my viewers, and show that the world around us is alive in ways we fail to see. I employ electricity in virtually every piece I create. It’s almost a “Frankenstein” thing, that light. Flipping the switch on my pieces gives life to an inanimate object, and, I hope, also transfers some life back to the person who flips the switch.

Sticks and Steel is extremely fortunate to have access to Steve’s studio.  See everything he currently has available here.


Photo Credit: Walter Portz

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