What Happens When a Sculptor Can No Longer Sculpt?
Read about an inspired and inspiring collaboration that results in new sculptures
Collector Tom Mackessy and sculptor Stuart Fink flank sheet metal sculpture created from their collaboration
Sculptor Stuart Fink had a new exhibition at the Brandt-Roberts Galleries in Cincinnati earlier this month. This despite the fact that he can no longer sculpt. Due to illnesses that create severe tremors in both hands, the artist thought his days of creating in 3 dimensions was over.
Fink was born in Minnesota, but has been actively working and creating art in Ohio since his years studying at the University of Cincinnati. In addition to his abstract, geometric sculptures, Fink also has created paintings and murals, won numerous awards and held many one-man shows of his varied work.
The Brandt-Roberts Galleries have represented Fink for the last several years–but they were only able to show and sell his earlier works. A combination of a rare disorder, Guillain-Barre syndrome, further aggravated by Parkinson’s Disease, has limited Fink to create drawings where he can use a straight edge and compass to create the lines.
Enter Columbus factory owner Tom Mackessy. He was familiar with Fink’s story, and was introduced to the artist by the gallery owner. Upon seeing one of Fink’s sculptures in his home and his more recent drawings, a lightbulb went off in Mackessy’s mind. The factory that he owns happens to be a sheet metal factory. He realized that he could help translate Fink’s drawings into sculptures, and a unique partnership, a collaboration between sculptor and collector, was formed.
“He cut those first drawings out in steel and brought (the sculptures) back to me,” Fink said. “ I was absolutely thrilled.”
Each sculpture is cut from one piece of steel and can weigh anywhere from 30 to 200 pounds.
Art has always been a safe harbor for Fink. Now, thanks to the collaboration with Mackessy and his factory, Fink still has that safe harbor–and to date, 40 new sculptures have been brought to life.
Fink credit’s Mackessy with keeping him alive. Mackessy sees an incredible spirit that won’t give up. Fink agrees:
“The minute I stop doing art, I’ll probably croak. I’m not going to quit.