Ron Alexander - Gypsum, Kansas
A self-taught archeologist, botanist and recycled artist, Ron Alexander uses all things in nature for his art pieces - bone, stone or driftwood - and even roadside trash.
Dan Beck - Wichita, Kansas - 1949-2020
Limestone Yard Environment
Beck was a laid back individual and better known as "Local Diety." He brought in thousands of pounds of limestone from area quarries and used his artistic skills to cut carve and saw his yard environment into place. His love of vibrant colors can also be seen on the outside and inside of his home. Dan Beck saw other peoples totem poles in their yards and wanted to make his different. So he started with a telephone pole added horns and poker chips to represent wins in debating tournaments, window blinds and a few miscellanous items and his totem was very unique. From his love of rocks, he began to cut, saw and carve limestone, often adding splashes of color through landscape plantings. He loved to carve in jade and was a prolific painter. Dan was a college champion debater, and loved working with school kids.
Lewis Bennett - Sterling, Kansas - 1934-2014
Lewis Bennett created a metal man wearing a welder helmet for his signature farm mailbox in the 1960's. He was a welder by trade and had a great sense of humor that spilled over into his art. Some sculptures ornamenting the farm were welded and others were silhouette cut-out figures that he displayed on various sheds on his property. His favorite sculpture was a banjo player with strings that actually played.
Charles Berendt - Denver, Colorado - 1932-2014
Charles Berendt lived a life of creativity in theatre, window displays and ome interior design. In his later years he created stunning visual art pieces of buttons and beads which were featured in interior design magazines and sold across the country. His patterns were inspired by hooked rugs, aboriginal art, sailor's valentines and anything with dots.
Cloth and Metal
Jim Borthwick - Hays, Kansas - 1948-2011
"I can make everything but music." Jim Borthwick made animals and yard art out of recycled materials, including discarded airplane sail fabric, gas canisters, metal and wood. Mr. Borthwick liked to roam the streets of Hays, KS and rescued the discards of others and fashion them again into something new.
Jess Boyce - Phillipsburg, Kansas -
Animated Wood Carvings
Paul Boyer - Belleville, Kansas - 1930-2020
Paul Boyer was a talented, self-taught man residing at Bellville, KS. Boyer loved to tag along with his father, who was busy working at daily tasks. Even at a young age, Paul had a keen interest in watching and trying to figure out just how machines work. Paul started carving primitive animated figures in Junior High School. His "motion machines" are delicate, exquisite, ingenious, animated, playful machines. These mechanical works of art depict everyday happening of life, mainly during the era of the 20th century.The family shows his work at the Boyer Animated Motion Machine Museum at Belleville.
Phil Brinkley - Rose Hill, Kansas
Phil Brinkley grew up as part of an Air Force family, so they moved a lot around the United States. When he married Margaret, they eventually planted roots in south central Kansas. Although working full-time for Boeing Aircraft, Phil's spare time was spent customizing cars and motorcycles for himself and others. Around 1998, he learned to weld from his father-in-law and brother-in-law. That's when the "found art" began. Phil named his yard environment "Jurassic Art." Dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes roam the yard or ride real motorcycles. The focal sculptural scene is a 7' tall knight whose armor was created from shiny chrome car bumpers, who wields a sword ready to defend himself against a 20' tall, intricate scaled metal dragon. The yard is interspersed with life-size metal creatures like soaring eagles, to small scorpions, antique gas pumps and 5' tall dragonflies.
Concrete Yard Environment
Richard Brown - Hutchinson, Kansas - 1934-2004
The imagination of Richard Brown's "Lost Acre Ranch" is tucked away in the thickets of south central Kansas. This 19th century world of a covered wagon, stage coach, cement figures and animals are set amidst a barn, log cabin, and blacksmith shop, made from torn down buildings and recycled wood. This yard environment evolved over many years and was located on the eastern edge of Hutchinson at a busy intersection. Richard owned and managed rental properties and thus gained many skills that later served him well in creating his environment.
Don Brownlee - Sylvia, Kansas - 1921-1995
House/Yard Organ Pipes
Don Brownlee was a man with a keen architectural sense and was naturally talented. His livelihood was farming. His passion was as a wood carver, sculptor, musician, inventor, builder, and even fiber artist. Don said, "I have always had a creative urge." After he married Mary Jo in 1957, they moved into his 1912 parents' farm house in south central Kansas. It became his studio and gallery. This farmer's yard became a sculpture garden. An 8' tall Greco-Roman limestone cowboy resides in the yard along with abstract sculptures. The Brownlee home is unlike any other in the world. There is a signature Brownlee art work around every corner and even carved into the woodwork. He brightly painted and decorated over 500 organ pipes that reside vertically in a specifically designed music room and horizontally on the ceiling in other rooms of the house. Can you just Imagine the surround sound inside and outside his home!
Elizabeth Bryan - Lucas, Kansas
Yard and Home Environment
Ms Bryan has been creating environments for people and herself all of her life. During her professional working years she custom designed drapery and blinds for clients with her business, "Window Woman." She had up to six sewing machines in her house at one time. Every room in her Salina, Kansas home was a delight to tour with her broken mosaic kitchen counters and back splash and unique creations such as a "gimp" cording bedroom table, or a used pencil coffeetable. When Elizabeth decided to move to Lucas, she purchase a Main Street home that used to be a barber shop. She immediately set-out to make changes. Bright, bold, and beautiful would be the best descriptive words to describe Elizabeth's artistic creations. Whether it's designing her mosaic kitchen counter and backsplach, to creating hundreds of glass mosaic tiles for her three foot tall house foundation ornamentation, to hundreds of fiber and bead works created in her lifetime.
Jeanette Burch - Roxbury, Kansas - 1904-1994
Jeannette Burch began creating in minute fabric scraps in the 1960's as a direct result of a commissioned water color artist painting of their homestead. She exclaimed, "It's was too pale and does not represent our farmstead at all." Since she sewed, Jeannette decided to use minute peices of fabric, even the "fuzz" from corduroy, stored in pill bottles according to color, which later would be glued to canvas creating texture and shading in her landscape scenes. She donated some pieces at church bazaars, but most were given to neighbors and family members.
Warren "Homer" Chambers - Wichita, Kansas - 1934-2012
Paint Marker and Canvas
Warren Chambers, a retired business owner in south central Kansas, signed all his canvas work with his middle name, 'Homer'. He called himself a "railroad archeologist", who photographed hundreds of old depots, as well as written songs and poetry about the railroad. Paint marker and canvas was the exclusive medium for Warren. He completed over 650 paintings dealing with a wide variety of subjects and loved to create primarily at night. Homer's art work began when he had a bunch of markers on hand from making posters and charts, and decided to try drawing. A good friend has described his art as "clashing colors." Many of his works reveal his wit and tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.
Copper Wire Art
Armand Charbonneau - Marysville, Kansas
About 1993 Armand became curious about the black squirrels that inhabit Marysville, Kansas. It seems there was always scrap ends of wire laying on the work area floor and elsewhere at his manufacturing plant. Charbonneau decided to use the black rebar tie wire to create a black squirrel. Before long, guys at work were requesting special creations of his wire art. He would bring along his cutters & pliers and would work during break time on these small intricate artistic creations.He mentally imagines the sculpture he is going to make and begins with one long piece of copper or tie wire.Charbonneau says, "I can write my name better with the wire than I can with a pencil. "