Bryan Baer is a metal sculptor whose works are seen throughout the Co-op. The largest of these is a bird sculpture he calls the Great Blue Heron perched high above the main floor.
Bryan’s metal sculpting began when his creative mind saw the possibilities of using parts from his day work as a welder in heavy equipment repair which he has done for many years. He began collecting parts that were of no use in the repair business and were just tossed out. He initially had no clear plan but thought the gears, heavy springs, rods, cams, etc., were interesting pieces. As they stacked up he studied the work of other metal sculptors; and since he already had the skills and equipment to weld, cut and form metal pieces, he decided to see what he could make with these spare parts.
About five years ago he started creating pieces and putting them in his yard. His neighbors were impressed and bought his sculptures which spurred his imagination to make more interesting creations. Where others might see ball bearings, railroad spikes, or horseshoes he sees feathers, crab pinchers, eyes, bird legs. and the like. He then puts them together in interesting and often whimsical ways. His imagination takes over when he walks in his shop and sees parts from ball bearings to brake drums. He usually has all the parts he needs but admits that sometimes he scouts around in junkyards and auto shops to find a special part that completes a creation.
Bryan sells his sculptures on eBay and at craft shows and fairs. His creations are compelling enough that people have been willing to pay more for the shipping than for the price of the piece itself. Some of his small pieces only take a few hours to weld and shape. Others he has spent seven to eight months trying to find the right pieces and ways to fit them together as his mind envisions. Sometimes he sees it all before he starts and at other times the end product comes out of the process itself. It took 178 small pieces of metal welded on the great heron just to create the feathers for this striking and beautiful sculpture. He gives most of his pieces names that strike his fancy and taps into past memories. Songs from the ’80s are a special source of names and titles that he may use. Each piece may have significance as a reminder of events from his past such as a whimsical piece he entitled “Scorpion” that refers to a song and a memory.
Bryan’s partner, Kymberlee, is a major supporter of his work and is working toward marketing some of her own creations as well. She does tie-dye clothing, jewelry, and is making Christmas ornaments. Bryan is considering branching out and making some smaller items like ornaments and decorative objects. Besides working full time he finds the time and energy to hike, mountain bike, and do cross fit training. We have to know that he is in good shape to lug some of these heavy pieces around his shop! We are privileged to have him as a member of the Co-op and grateful that he is always willing to do his part to keep Artistic Portland successful.
Stop by Artistic Portland to view and purchase Bryan's work in person!
Marianne of Gifts From the Earth
Since she was a young girl, art and creativity have been a big part of her life. Remembering growing up always drawing, making things with paper, clay or whatever she could get her hands on, working with her fingers was her calling. Somewhere along the way Marianne found stained glass, calligraphy, collage, crocheting, knitting, embroidery, encaustic and so much more. Over time the magic turned into a love of making skin care products.
It satisfies her mothering side. There is something so sensual about working with oils and herbs and combing them into beautiful creations. Knowing that she is a part of many people’s daily care routine gives her great satisfaction. Marianne loves caring for others.
As much as she loves skin care, Marianne loves finding ways to express her creative side. It feeds her soul, and she can’t imagine life without it. When her daughter left for college on the East Coast, Marianne was so sad. To soothe her pain, she started painting and decorating boxes. They represent what she was feeling. Painting, pasting and crafting saved her spirit
At this point in her life Marianne works on combing spirit with art, once a year she takes an Intuitive Painting class to delve deeper into existence…
Titled Releasing the Dreams here is her story:
In the days before dreams, the world was made of water. It was dark and turbulent. The land was black and rich, full of every mineral, but there were no dreams. The earth goddess was still asleep in the deepest depths of the ocean.
The sun god was hardly noticeable. And the world was left without dreams. Buried deep within the sea was the vessel and the key. It was the way to unlock the land from the ocean and it was full of rich colors. The people of the earth searched and searched for it, but no one could find it. The priestesses were consulted. From their power of intuition, they knew how to find the vessel and the key.
The priestesses told the people to find the sea turtle for it had survived for millions of years, and he knew where the vessel and the key were hidden. The people called upon the turtle in the blackest depths of the sea to show them where it was.
Once found, the vessel and key floated to the surface and all the dreams that had ever been dreamed and all the dreams still to come were let out of the ocean and floated into the air; uniting the people of the land, water, wind and fire to be as one. To create the world, they dream of…
This blog post is brought to you by fiber artist Sherry Bingaman of Neuva Vida.
To paraphrase a quote from Gene Fowler, “Making art is easy: all you do is sit staring at your materials until the drops of blood form on your forehead.”
I recently read—actually re-read--Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland and can’t stop thinking about this amazing little book. I want to share some of its ideas and encourage all artists to read this gem. We tend to think that as artists we all face unique problems that we must suffer through alone, but actually we are all in the same boat. Here are a few of the themes and excerpts from this life-changing book
Great art does not depend on great talent.
“Making art involves skills that can be learned…. In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive…. Even talent is rarely distinguishable, over the long run, from perseverance and lots of hard work.”
Those who demand perfection end up with nothing.
“To require perfection is to invite paralysis. The pattern is predictable: as you see error in what you have done, you steer your work toward what you imagine you can do perfectly. You cling ever more tightly to what you already know you can do, away from risk and exploration, and possibly further from the work of your heart. You find reasons to procrastinate, since to NOT work is to not make mistakes. To demand perfection is to deny your ordinary (and universal) humanity….yet this humanity is the ultimate source of your work.”
Your work is your guide.
“The seed for your next art work lives embedded in the imperfections of your current piece . . . The lessons you are meant to learn are in your work. To see them, you need only look at the work clearly—without judgment, without need or fear, without wishes or hopes, without emotional expectations. Ask your work what it needs, not what you need. Then set aside your fears and listen, the way a good parent listens to a child.” Reading this part was like an explosion in my mind—I now look at my “failures” and “mistakes” in a whole new positive light!
Opening our work up to criticism by others.
“Courting approval, even that of peers puts a dangerous amount of power in the hands of the audience. Worse yet, the audience is seldom in a position to grant (or withhold) approval on the one issue that really counts—namely, whether or not you’re making progress in your work. They’re in a good position to comment on how they are moved (or challenged or entertained) by the finished product, but have little knowledge or interest in your process. Audience comes later. The only pure communication is between you and your work.”
The value of quantity over quality.
“The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars. One of the basic and difficult lessons every artist must learn is that even the failed pieces are essential.” Oh, these last word hit me with such a force! In other words, JUST DO IT!
The only way you fail is to stop trying.
“What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears continue; those who don’t, quit.”
I will end this post with a few more quotes:
“Computers are useless. All they give you are answers.” -- Pablo Picasso
“When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money.” --- Oscar Wilde
“Artists don’t get down to working until the pain of working is exceeded by the pain of not working.” –Stephen DeStaebler