Artist Statement

I create three-dimensional pieces out of common, sometimes unrelated items, and transform them into sculptures that are unusually complex in composition. The materials I use vary but include wood, screws, nuts, and bolts held together with hot glue. The glue not only holds the parts together, but itself becomes part of the sculpture. Finishing the sculptures with spray paint creates a sense of mystery and gives a cohesive look and feel.

Each of the pieces tends to start forming rather quickly and sometimes evolves into something different than it started out as, but the placement of the materials is never random. I make decisions specifically based on how each item added affects the overall look and composition of the piece. When looking at the sculptures from different angles, up close, and from a distance, you discover many worlds within one piece.

It is sometimes difficult to predict whether or not the glue will hold the individual pieces exactly where I place them. At times more glue is required to hold parts in place and at other times the weight of the parts causes them to shift. At those times I make the decision to either try to re-secure the part or let it rest where it has fallen. I enjoy the challenge of testing the limits.

Part of what I try to accomplish is to create a piece of art that is interesting and exciting through the use of different materials which seem to take on new identities once they become part of a sculpture. I experience a feeling of serenity while working on my sculptures and enjoy communicating thoughts through my artwork.

11/6/14 – Updated addition

Developing my website and cataloging my sculpture and writing has forced me to be more reflective about my work. In addition to exploring a new dimension of using recycled materials, I have begun to realize this is an endless source for my creativity.

Part of my motivation in creating the detailed pieces and describing in my writing is to inspire others to reach beyond complacency, for that which gives you a feeling of fulfillment and pride. It is often difficult for me to make an adjustment to try new things. Creating sculpture without a solid base and using only one material has pushed me out of my comfort zone of a familiar process.

There are many things which inspire my work, but the overall sense of peaceful ideas connecting with a tangible finished product is the most important. My emotions have always been more powerful than the words I can not say. There are infinite possibilities in creating a sculpture with all of the detailed parts in my work. The viewer may see a simple piece assembled with hot glue, or a detailed complex creation that has many possible interpretations.

Some of my pieces are light and playful that I write about in a humorous way. Many of them are dark and bold which I accompany with pensive interpretation in my poems. Even when writing I can not always find the words to describe the intricacies in each piece. That may be for the viewer to decide.

2/28/18 – Updated Addition

In comprehending  my work keep in mind there have been many changes since I wrote my initial statement. Experimenting with three dimensional framed pieces has opened up another avenue for sculptures that are determined by the size of the frame. This is a departure from free form assemblage with a base as a foundation. My natural inclination is to construct from the base and use many materials but I constrain myself to the boundaries of the frame with these sculptures. This creates intricate designs in a small enclosure. Large framed sculptures are now a focal point in my studio. Complementing this body of work is a new idea to combine several smaller pieces into a totem style sculpture.  

Another more recent venture has been to discuss my work with other artists. Presenting myself as a professional artist has made it necessary for me to be willing to communicate with other sculptors in ways that are difficult for me. While my art still speaks for me, I have found it is also necessary to have a dialogue with others to continue to grow. Spoken words remain locked in my thoughts but my poems symbolize the powerful ideas and creativity within me. Finding a means to translate this imagery into conversations with others is the next part of my journey. 

David Stahl