Artist Statement Designer Ira Sherman

My father was a metal fabrication machinery dealer in Chicago. I recall, as a child, being fascinated by the smell, shapes, and sounds of the large gears, bearings, and motors of those machines. There were many chances to "play" with these machines and get a feeling for how they function. This inspired me as a child to draw and construct toy fantasy devices out of parts I dissected from used toys. The most exciting part of getting a new toy was taking it apart and understanding what made it work.


Most of my college studies focused on art and biology. The aesthetics of living forms were fascinating, and the art classes introduced me to many fine craftsmen who worked with different metal fabrication technologies. I soon realized it was possible to meld these two interests to build functional fantasy objects. Events on campus — including the Vietnam protests, civil rights demonstrations, and a prevailing mood to question authority — combined with my new technological skills created the perfect environment for creating artwork with aesthetic, technological, and moral implications. My innocent childhood feelings segued into a more purposeful artistic vision, trying to define a technologically perplexed world dazzled by modern-day scientific advances. I am an artist who uses mechanical technology and biomorphic aesthetic to invent devices that blur the definition of useful achievement; making daydreams into plausible realities.


My Design Process:
1 - Focus on paradoxical societal issues
2 -  Define an unsolvable problem that needs a plausible mechanical solution
3 - Design the sculptural mechanical aesthetic using refined craftsmanship
4 - Design kinetic mechanical systems that will animate the sculpture.


My Fabrication Process:
1 - Master as many metal fabrication processes that can fit into a two-car garage. These metalworking techniques include lathe turning, milling, internal mandrel tube bending, hot and cold steel forging, Tig, Mig and Gas welding, plasma cutting, hydraulic forming, grinding, polishing, and texturing.
2 - Take apart electronic toys and hack into the circuits to create the "brains" that define an artistic concept.
3 - Learn about pneumatic control systems and design simple air circuits to further animate an artistic concept.
4 - Become familiar with as many high-tech metal fabrication processes and procedures as possible.
Learn about CAD and 3-D modeling and use these technologies if needed.

When a sculptural kinetic system is activated by human movement, and this interaction makes a person see the world from just a slightly new perspective, then I feel I have succeeded with my art.