Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

November 15, 2013 at 1:08pm

Hanging with the mysterious artist Guerrilla Man

The Guerrilla Man creates art installations in the woods outside of Olympia.

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The Guerrilla Man sneaks around in the dead of night - and sometimes brazenly in the light of day - and installs humongous metal sculptures in places they're not supposed to be. Sometimes in such out-of-the-way places that the authorities may never find them and remove them. Even if they do find them, removing them will be quite a job.

I can't divulge who the Guerrilla Man is, but I can say that he has a Facebook page, and from there you may be able to contact him and get him to tell you where to find his art. For a guerrilla artist, he's not very well hidden. He contacted me recently and took me to see one of his installations, which was quite impressive.

Hidden in plain sight underneath a highway overpass approached by a little-known and little-used walking path, the installation comprises three metal figures that stand approximately 20 feet tall and in their massive verticality resonate with the concrete posts of the overpass. The three pieces are abstracted standing men made of welded steel and corrugated steel plates upon which the artist has applied acid to "paint" selected areas with rust. Stylistically they are similar to works by David Smith and Mark Di Suvero, all harsh angles and soaring verticality.

Guerrilla Man has a team of friends who help him transport and install the pieces, the making of which is labor intensive and costly. It takes great dedication and love of art to make works like this, which may be destroyed any day. He says they may remain in place a day or a year.

He says the inspiration for these installations comes from graffiti art, and that he began working on the idea after attending a lecture about the nature of graffiti art and the philosophical ramifications of making art that is illegal and which will most likely be destroyed.

Guerrilla Man lives in Seattle, and his "Clark Kent" persona is that of a theatrical technician who has worked on many shows from Seattle to Olympia. You, dear reader, may very well know him without knowing you do. His art installations, so far, are all in the Olympia area. As of this writing he has four installations, the one under the freeway and three in hidden wooded areas. The ones in wooded areas are quite different and designed with the setting in mind, with parts of trees and tangled wires that look like vines.

"All my pieces currently are unsanctioned," he says. "While my current work is exploring guerrilla art, overall my work has always been about creating heightened environments. Both in theater and in my installation work. And the installation work is not just sculptural; past pieces have been lighting-specific, and I feel performance/experiential art is installation as well. I experimented with a guerrilla/flash dance party this summer. It is all about creating heightened environments and experiences."

Filed under: Arts, Olympia,
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