Saturday, October 31, 2009


This blog post was written by artist, STEVE LAUMAN

Steve Lauman is a multimedia and mixed media artist living and working at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. He leads an intriguing lifestyle, holding the position of instrument maker, a slot that’s been occupied by only three others since the founding of the Observatory in 1897. His work as an astronomical instrument maker directly influences him as an artist, revealing a fascinating perspective that continuously surfaces in his artwork.
"There is a real juxtaposition at play between my artistic work and what’s required of me at Lowell. The two activities are innately opposite, yet they balance one another."
Because of the technical nature of manufacturing precision parts, Steve is influenced by the processes employed, and often puts these methods to use in his artwork. Likewise, his efforts as an artist reciprocate in the form of creative energy to the benefit of the Observatory.
"As an instrument maker, I’m heavily relied upon by the astronomers to build their tools for research. In a sense, they are relying on me to be an artist; I must consistently bring to the table creative solutions and colorful ideas that come from nowhere. I also must constantly be honing my skills as a machinist, welder, designer and materials expert. All of these things spill over into my artwork. I like to say that my important works can be seen at the end of a telescope or among paintings at an exhibition."
Steve’s artwork exemplifies the intense contrast and balance between art and technology. He also strives to explore the disparities that are so common in the West: beauty of water in the desert; scarcity of dark sky within a sea of light; clash of urban and wilderness; stark desert landscape and its rich, vibrant gems from deep within. This exploration can be expressed as simply as a steel line drawn in negative space, or the choice of a symbolic color. It can be as complex as articulating a spiritual boundary, using recycled materials and prose. The work can take the form of a highly functional instrument capable of a glimpse of Pluto, or it can simply be a colorful artistic refuge. What to be expected from this artist is the unexpected.
Like the gadgetry affixed to a telescope that peers into the cosmos, Steve Lauman as an artist, becomes an instrument of art. His purpose is to gather what’s around us that can’t be touched and bring it back for all to experience.

"Take Five is a painted steel chair. It is first in a series of artistic sitting sanctuaries. The idea behind my series of artistic sanctuaries is to create an artistic space that the viewer can touch, see, feel and take a rest. I want to create spaces that envelope the viewer ensuring the artistry does not go unnoticed."

"I am conflicted with the concept of functional art. I've created many functional pieces that were clever and useful but rarely have I been completely satisfied with their artistic value. Often the functionality dominates the artistry or the concept involved in creating the piece. The
purpose of this series is to explore the boundary between functional and non functional art by providing limited function. In this case the usefulness is limited only to rest. Once seated and at rest, the viewer has moved beyond the function of the object and becomes closely involved in it as an art piece. In a sense, I'm using function only to draw in the viewer, inviting them to take a break, "Take Five" and enjoy some artwork."
"So, by all means, please have a seat." Steve

"Take Five"
2' x 2' x 4'
Painted Steel
Click pic to see more of Steve’s work.
Also, you can follow him on Twitter: @Buffalokid

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