In college I thought that the most important thing I could do for the human race would be to work for peace. To that end, I became a political science major and explored a career at the United Nations, our only department of peace. Eventually I had to face the fact that I did not belong in politics or in a bureaucracy like the UN. I had been denying my artistic side because artists starve to death and I did not know what an artist could do for world peace. But my proclivities and talents, the things that wake me up in the morning needing to be dealt with, are artistic. So finally I gave in and worked in the arts while continually looking for how to serve the cause of peace through art.
Above right is an unfinished five-sided copper peace pole.
Then in 1999 someone saw a sculpture of mine and asked if I would submit a proposal to them. They were looking for sculptors to submit designs for a peace pole they wanted to plant. I'd never heard of them before but did some research and discovered that they are art and they are peace.
Where was this when I was in college?
The only ones you could purchase at the time were wooden posts with plastic plaques on them. Have you ever seen a war memorial made out of wood? I designed a multi-ton granite peace pole for them. Since the size and substance and shape have as much to do with the message as the text, I designed more peace poles to see if anyone else wanted something other than wood.
At left is where I make the peace poles.
I now have explored making peace poles out of many things - limestone, stainless steel, copper, Corten, wood, bronze, steel, resin, etc. I even tried making a peacepole out of aluminum soft drink cans (hey, it's recycling).
This is a brake I use for bending metal.
Like I'm continually experimenting to create peace poles that are more lighthearted. I want to maintain the traditions, but shouldn't some poles about peace be a little less formal? These are not war memorials. Shouldn't some of them be something at which kids giggle? But how do you make that happen without its looking like a hippie-fringe movement?
I'm working on it.