I AM grateful you found your way to my gallery, and thanks for your interest to view my works. Here are my words, oh-me oh my-yo, its my bio. I AM coming from Kansas City, originally; Jazz, BB-Q, stockyards, corn, watermelon, Thomas Hart Benton, the Nelson Art Gallery, the Kansas City Art Institute, my family, my roots.
The roots of my family go back to Germany and the Ukraine. My mother, of blessed memory, was born in a small town near Frankfort, Germany. Her family escaped the holocaust. She was 11 years old when she came to America after the “Night of Broken Glass” in 1938. She was a seamstress in a bra factory in New Jersey when she met my dad who was in New York after his stint as a navigator in a B-17 during World War II. Mom was an artist on a sewing machine and in the kitchen! My dad was born in Kansas City. His dad and uncle came to Kansas City from a shtetle (small Jewish village,) near Kiev, in the Ukraine, soon after World War I. Dad still lives in Kansas City where he was a true visionary; Redeveloping the oldest part of the city, converting old warehouses into loft living, working, and studio spaces. First bringing artists in to rent space, which in turn brought other creative and chic professionals to the area. Now the old River Market area is teaming with vitality and urban residents. Kansas City dedicated a street in his name: “Mel Mallin Artway”.
I AM son: Born under the sign of Libra in the mid 1950s. Bigotry was strong in KC. Blacks and Jews were prohibited from owning property in certain neighborhoods until the law of Fair Housing passed in 1964. Un-eaten fruit was thrown at our Hebrew school bus as it left my public middle school parking lot.
In 1966 my folks took my brother, sister, and I to Estes Park Colorado. The drive up the Big Thompson Canyon was spectacular. The way the light hit the canyon walls and the way the shadows cast upon the rock, rocked open my awareness. I decided right then I AM an artist! I figured out there really is GOD! So many people talked about GOD, but on that trip I felt like Moses hangin out on holy ground with I AM that I AM. When I got home I would shape my sheets and blankets to be mountain ranges. That fall I started carving and working with clay, sculpting birds. A bright red cardinal was my first fired clay sculpture. My parents encouraged my art talent, that is, until I seriously wanted to BE an ARTIST.
A few years later I started to work as an occasional apprentice with Adolph Klugman, a wonderful wood and stone carver in KC. I helped him in his shop. He was a brilliant fellow with many interests and inventions. I worked with him on and off, in his shop, for many years.
High school was hippies, jocks, and greasers. I had a corner in Chuck Crawford’s art class. He allowed me to work on my art any time of day. I often ditched other classes to stay and make art. Mr Crawford was an amazing artist and really inspired me and many others who are still working artists to this day.
My American History teacher, David Wolff, caught me one day when I was supposed to be in his classroom. He said he knew I was not interested in sitting in his class. He said he did not mind. and offered an amazing alternative to my coming to his class: He said I could read four books of his choosing, write book reports on them. If he was convinced I had read all the words of of those four books he would give me an A. The alternative was come to class or get an F. The four books were: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Black Elk Speaks, Siddhartha, and Don Juan a Yaqui way of Knowledge” Those books set me on a path to seek truth, and I became a reader of books. I took an interest in cultural anthropology, and became a seeker of the mystic. Spiritual cosmologies of tribal peoples from around the world inspire my shamanic interests.
I AM hummingbird. Chuparrosa Humming, looking for the sweet nectar in everything and everyone. Hawk is my prayer carrier. Humpback whale is my dreamtime companion.
I studied cultural anthropology at Pima College in Tucson, studied art at the Kansas City Art Institute, and the New York Art Students League, sculpture at Northern Arizona University, and worked as an apprentice at the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in New Jersey, where I worked on bronze pieces by Georgia O’Keefe, George Segal, Isaac Witkin, and J. Seward Johnson and many other wonderful sculptors.
I AM a family man. Married Gail Miller, who’s family were corn seed farmers in central illinois. We got married in a little round adobe school house in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. She Loves to Dance, do yoga, is a Colorado Master Gardener and Permaculture designer. She is the mother of our awesome children, Natanya Joy and Joshua Ray; both awesome adults who are out exploring their own amazing talents and gifts.
I AM a tai chi practitioner. Daily practice keeps my body and mind in condition to create. I do Chen Man Ch’ing’s short Yang Form, some Chi Gong, a bit of Bagua.
Yin and Yang are important influences in my artwork and I resonate with Taoism as another spiritual path that I seek.
I AM a drummer. Hand drums and kit. Drummed with the Stone People Drummers in Loveland for the last few years, backing a belly-dance group and performing in other shows. Mostly world beat music. Music is an essential tool in my studio, living room, and kitchen.
I AM a Natural Chef. Studied and got certified at Bauman College in Boulder. Trained in using food as medicine. Worked as an intern in a few conscious kitchens: Organilicious Catering, Frog Belly Farm to Table, and a new conscious food restaurant in Boulder called SHINE.
I AM a giant puppet maker. I make puppets for theatre and giant puppet plays. Have made a 40’ collared lizard that walked and talked, for an Earth Day performance, “The Lizard of Oz.” Have made a 25‘ smoking caterpillar for “Alice in Wonderland.” Made a puppet of Leonard Peltier, who was framed for the killing of two FBI agents on the Wounded Knee Lakota Indian Reservation , in an effort to get him freed from prison in Leavenworth, when the a group of Native Americans walked from Alcatraz in California to the Statue of Liberty, walked through Leavenworth Kansas to show solidarity to Peltier. Please see the pages of puppets under the Galleries tab, Way Outta the Box Giant Puppets.
I AM now, also, a chauffeur, driving for D & D Transportation. I go from area hotels back and forth to Denver International Airport. Call my wonderful bosses Daniel and Ellie if you would like me to drive you, in-style, anywhere on the Front Range: 303-960-9229 I’d LOVE to be your driver! I’ll even drive you from DIA to my studio if you would like.
I AM now living with my wife, Gail, and our dog, Woody, in Westminster, Colorado, north of Denver. I have a studio in my backyard. Call me at 970-903-0810 if you would like to visit my home / studio.
I AM almost done! Thank you for your time to see where I am coming from.
I AM developing a series of bronze bas-reliefs called Awakened Mountain Ranges. I have cast the first one, “Sleeping Butte.” More very cool mountain ranges to be available soon.
I AM still working with shadows, love, and light. More bronze and twisted juniper pieces will be available and on the website soon.