Pete Helzer, Sculptor
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ARTIST’S STATEMENT

I have studied sculpture with Russ Svaren at PCC, Fred Littman at Portland State, and Jan Zach /Paul Buckner at The University of Oregon.  Because such mention might be construed as my way of “getting even,” I feel compelled to confess that their influence was less than it should have been, and they should not be slandered, held accountable or otherwise banished from any fraternal organizations.  Clearly, I have spent too much time reading THE FAR SIDE and not enough time redefining postmodern sculpture.  I point out, however, that what you see here may actually represent the next wave in the evolution of sculpture, i.e., POST post modern sculpture!  Or if that has been covered, I hereby nail my flyer on the neo-post-postmodern post and proclaim to keep doing exactly what I have been doing .  The truth is, what I do allows me to spend a good bit of my life chuckling while fending off creditors at the same time. I also enjoy the added advantage of not having to go to faculty meetings; and best, it saves me the great agony of having to justify my existence in whatever language constitutes this year’s educational reform jargon. 

When I look back over the last twenty years, I am struck by the many ironies that litter the trail. Several times in the past I have designed good sculptures and submitted them to public competitions only to have them flatly rejected.  I have also submitted mediocre ones that have won right away.  A recent commission was awarded to me based on the submission of a small scale model that I built ten years ago.  I had used this same model to enter - and promptly lose - at least a dozen competitions.  I have no way to explain the previous rejections or the recent acclaim.  This is why I have always done my best to ignore the politics of the art world.    I tend to guard my quiet country life far from the cultural centers of this country.  Dexter Oregon is nothing like New York City, which is precisely why I live here.  This bias made my transition - some twenty years ago - from the academic world of teaching to the sobering business of making a living through the sale of my sculpture in some ways easier than one might expect.  True, there was the requisite dose of poverty,  but as far as my disposition went I was in good shape. This was because I was never quite as disgusted by discriminating public taste as my academic peers.  As a result I suffered much less mental anguish when my work was actually praised in discriminating public newspapers.

To date I have completed 96 sculptures for parks and public buildings throughout Oregon.  I am likely to continue to persevere as long as continuing continues to amuse me.  I am fully aware, however, that in art - as well as in life - there are no guarantees.  This is why, at the bottom of my business card, it reads in the finest possible print I could find: “no refunds.”

 

 

Helzer © 2007