Sculptor Craig Shankles

Photo by Lauren Thomas

Artist’s Statement

The larger scale pieces of recent years represents significant changes in my work since 1996. Although these sculptures at first glance seem to fit into modernist tradition, I find their inspiration more rooted in archaic, primitive culture than modern pop culture. That is not to imply that these pieces would seem to evoke a human presence, although for some they may.

They are very much totemic and monolithic in principle. Frontal in their presentation, meant to be arresting and perceived instantly, they are not necessarily concerned with a rotating viewpoint. This is not to say that one shouldn’t move around these sculptures. In doing so one will find they are unexpectedly different from other sides.

I try not to over rationalize these compositions, but because they will often require technical concerns in fabrication, I often explore and resolve them in maquettes or preliminary drawings prior to their development. More recently I began to apply this aesthetic to a variety of functional objects. At first I made them solely for myself. Even at the beginning I found it necessary to try and bridge the gap between “art” and utility, to gray the line between functional and nonfunctional.

In building the benches I employ and unite humor, fantasy and theater to engage and stimulate the viewer. They rebel against the banality of modern culture in an urban environment, which all too often seems to want to obstruct creativity. They bring to their environment a visual richness and human eclecticism.

The sculpture is there for those who may wish to approach it unprejudiced.