“A Carpenters Dream” is one of a series of sculptures dealing with the plight of the modern american laborer. Using traditional sculpture processes that have been adapted from industrial practices I am able to create pieces that speak to a working audience, often overlooked by the art world. My work aims to pay homage to the working class laborer while at the same time bringing up issues of mass production, the machine as a replacement for the human, issues of small business vs. corporation and the loss of skilled trade knowledge. This is done subversively through a fun and playful approach to my art making. I want my work to please an everyday crowd and be just as fun to children who see it, as they are to adults. I hope by channeling a bit of my own inner child and creating fun playful objects I can achieve this, while at the same time urging a message that is deeply important to me forward. Using the technical skills and ‘industrial crafts’ that I learned through trade programs and skilled labor jobs, I approach my art hand and heart first. Using the plethora of technical skills at my disposal I create original works that pay homage to the Laborers and artists who came before me.
Kevin Vanek was born and raised in the east side of Cleveland Ohio. Here he grew up in a family of working class laborers who taught him many trade skills. His earliest jobs were in the trades as a maintenance man for apartments and general contractor for construction. After health issues prevented him from following his military career path Kevin found himself attending college at Bowling Green State University. Here he found himself living in the Arts Village dorms surrounded by creativity and artistic wonder, so he began to use his own creativity. Quickly finding his grove artistically and discovering that his previous training in tool usage and trades craft were well suited for sculpture Kevin changed his major to art and received his BFA in 3-Dimensional studies in 2010. He then went on to grad school at East Carolina University where he studied under Hanna Jubran and Carl Billingsly. Here he began teaching students and passing on his knowledge while continuing to hone his own skills. In 2013 he graduated with his MFA in sculpture and left to pursue a residency at Salem Art Works. At SAW Kevin was an Emerging Artist Resident and Assistant Foundry technician. After completing his residency he moved to Colorado to take the position of Resident Artist and Professor of 3-D Foundations at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO. Currently, Kevin works as a high end Metal Fabricator for Bennette Forge works of Ridgway, CO where he creates one of a kind custom interior and exterior metalworks.