Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Silicon Valley had its first sunny Sunday in a while here a couple weeks ago, so I made the trip out to my uncle, Richard Starks' place in Gilroy, California to check out his sculpture garden and workshop. I hadn't been out for a visit in a while and knew I'd be in for a treat, as he's been keeping busy forming, welding, grinding, and polishing many literally TONS of new sculptures. (Get it? Weight, not quantity. Those things are heavy!)
He and my dad made hobbies of welding and metalworking as kids. It shouldn't be surprising that he became a high school shop teacher. Over the years he's created anything and everything from gym equipment, to custom car parts, to decorative wall hangings. Now that he's retired, he spends his free time sketching large-scale sculptures and building them, mostly out of cor-ten steel, in his workshop.
A peek inside his indoor gallery (that's him in the red). Spiders and I have never gotten along, but I love the spider web wall hanging! This pelican is another one of my favorites. In the background you'll see photos of other pieces (on the left is some memorabilia from my grandfather's travels around the world with his cruise band! The drumhead says "Tommy Starks and the Pajaronians").
Many of his pieces are dynamic geometric shapes with complex curves. They look different from all angles. I especially liked how the rusty orange fluid forms compliment the green of the surrounding planting.
Apparently, Yahoo! thinks he's pretty cool, too. He was featured on their front page last week!
This giant boot and axe piece is currently taking the showcase spot in his front yard.
His pieces are currently being showcased in Napa and Sonoma Valley wineries, in Northern California towns, and in private collections. Check out his website for more photos of his work and a peek inside his workshop.