My current work in contemporary sculptural form is made with welded stainless steel. The inspirations for many of my designs come from the simplest of life’s experiences – nature, the human form and people; to more complex inspirations from mathematics and science. There are also inspirations from the simple connectivity that surrounds us and our lives.
These sculptures are enlargements of many smaller sculptures that I have built over the past 40 years, utilizing toothpicks and glue.
My goal was to create a body of work that recreated the toothpick designs in metal.
The evolvement to using stainless steel as a medium used to create these designs, have allowed the sculptures to grow in complexity and size.
The sculptures identify a visual movement in the shape of each piece, with light reflecting off the body of the sculpture also adds an element of movement across and within the sculpture.
Several of the designs can be suspended from different points of the sculpture. This allows for one design to be repositioned and appear as a completely different sculpture. The galley view of the piece “Epicurean Flower” shows two positions of this work.
Carl Moen has always been fascinated with wood, metal and welding. He was born and raised in North Dakota. His father had a blacksmith shop to repair farm equipment. There were many days spent in the welding shop with the welders and farm hands. His Norwegian grandfather was a craftsman woodworker and there were countless hours spent in his woodworking shop.
He joined the U.S. Navy to have an opportunity to see parts of the world outside the Midwest. He worked on U.S. Navy combat jets, fascinated with the materials, metals and procedures required to make them ready to complete their missions.
Following the military, Carl spent the next 17 years working for a contractor with the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy on their hovercraft programs. There was a high degree of welding and fabrication involved in building these vehicles – much more than repairing farm equipment. Over the years, he trained and certified welders in many welding processes and metals. He has spent the past 20 years in commercial manufacturing working on signs and facility branding for some of the finest brands in the world.
While growing up in North Dakota he started making small toothpick sculptures to help pass the time during the long winters. He continued making these toothpick sculptures while in the Navy and continued for several years. He has taught hundreds of people to create the toothpick sculpture designs.
Carl always wanted to construct these designs with metal. He tried the process with aluminum, steel and stainless steel. The best results were with stainless steel. He has now moved this unique art form from simple toothpicks and glue, to welding thousands of pieces of stainless steel together to create small, medium and life size sculptures.
The shift to using metal and welding to create these designs has allowed the sculpture designs to evolve to a new level of creativity from what were once small wooden sculptures made with toothpicks.