Artist Anthony Howe went from building erector sets as a kid to sculpting a massive, moving, sun-inspired cauldron for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Now, he has left his kinetic mark on Dallas.
Howe’s pinwheel-like masterpiece, "Lucea," whose windblown dandelion look is pulled together with rotating arms of stainless steel, now anchors an entrance to Forty Five Ten in the downtown Main Street District.
According to a press release, the 25-foot-tall, half-ton work of art has a permanent home in Dallas. And Lucea’s sleek, refined frame mingles well within the fashion district, for the most part. Yet, there’s that old adage: No pain. No gain.
“It makes a loud, metallic squeak,” says Stephen Young, a writer for the Dallas Observer who lives in the Wilson building next door. “During the day, it isn't as audible over the street noise, but you feel it in your teeth when you walk by it at night.”
Young says when he and his wife take an evening stroll past the sculpture headed west on Elm Street, the masterpiece talks to the wind in a screeching voice that sends the couple’s American foxhound, Truvy, into a tailspin.
“She gets spooked and turns back the other direction,” he said.
Howe was buried deep in work and did not wish to disrupt his concentration to comment for the story.
However, a description on the artist’s website for Lucea bills the wind-powered creation as “nearly silent.” Howe said in his press release that he hopes Lucea “becomes a unique fixture in the city and brings energy to an outdoor space enjoyed by Dallas visitors and its residents.”
“I want to show people something that slows their heartbeat down,” he said. “I want to create something that gets them to a more meditative state, to make their lives better. That’s really what I’m looking for.”
The willowy sculpture has joined forces with a giant-sized human eyeball doppelganger known as "Tasset’s Eye," created by Chicago artist Tony Tasset, to generate visual engagement for downtown shoppers and passersby.
According to Howe’s press release, both of the large scale pieces were commissioned by Headington Companies which owns The Joule and the Forty Five Ten flagship store, which will also house a revolving “collection of artwork inside the store from internationally recognized artists.” In other words, artists like Howe whose 2016 Rio Summer Olympic cauldron debuted in August before a global audience.
Some of Howe’s other pieces include "Octo 3" whose 16 stainless steel wings spin harmoniously, and "About Face," a copper and stainless steel structure whose 100 copper panels spin to mesmerize onlookers. According to the artist’s webpage, his creations are designed to move freely in light wind yet are built to withstand the elements.
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Howe makes his home in Orcas Island, Washington, but originally hails from Salt Lake City, Utah. The kinetic artist attended Cornell University and later the Skowhegan School of Sculpture & Painting in Maine. After years of painting with watercolor, he began building metal, kinetic wind sculptures on a grand scale about 25 years ago, according to his press release.
His wind-driven designs, which are a stark contrast from the lofty, lackluster, energy producing wind mills of West Texas, can be found in places like Dubai, New York City and Southern California as well as Dallas.
The renowned artist “combines computer design, traditional metal working techniques, and artistry to create a mesmerizing integration of technical engineering and organic motion,” according to his Facebook page.
Commenters on the page describe Howe’s work as “sparkling,” “incredible” and “beauty at its best” while one Twitter user tweeted that the wind-powered sculptures geared toward slowing down a heart rate remind him of “God’s spinning wheels.”
Ah, but if dogs could talk.