I make sculptures to be worn that combine fine art principles with my affinity for machines, moving parts and steampunk imagery.
These pieces are grounded in the thoughts and works of others. Among them, architect Louis Sullivan who, in 1896, coined the phrase “form ever follows function.”
And Alexander Calder who, in the 1930‘s, gave artists permission to include moving parts in their work.
Two decades later, Richard Stankiewicz demonstrated that assemblages of bits & pieces of metal could be fine art.
In the 1950’s & 60’s James Arthur Schwabe worked at home creating amazing small objects in metal for Cartier (and others). As my father worked, I watched and began to learn how to make things in metals.
Early in the 1970’s Stankiewicz impressed upon me the importance of design fundamentals as I studied at Albany State.
Today, I find the wearable sculptures of artists like Daniel Kruger and Jennifer Trask inspirational.
These ideas and works, and those of others, form the backdrop for the things that I create.
To this rich mix I bring my lifelong interest in things mechanical; from airplanes and cars to space craft real and imaginary, and machines of all sorts. To me, these machines are not only functional, but also beautiful. Finally I add a measure of steampunk imagery with its penchant for embellishment and detail.
The results are small machine-inspired sculptures grounded in fine art principles, full of the cleverness and detail that is intrinsic to steampunk and carefully constructed to be functional in that they can both be worn, and in that various parts are moveable.
This body of work is the culmination of decades of thought and creation.
- Mark Eliot Schwabe