Lawrence Reynolds - Hays, Kansas - 1941-2013
An imaginative artist with found or discarded materials, Lawrence Reynolds's work is usually an illustration of a text, either Biblical or from popular culture. Using discarded scraps of metal, he portrays a sprawling man tripped up by his own tongue with the title, "Man is judged by the transgressions of his lips." A chronic experimenter with many materials and media, Reynolds is most prolific in his production of unpainted carvings of human figures, made from recycled 2 x 4 lumber, and illustrating either common sayings or the tensions of human relationships.
Larry Richardson - Mulvane, Kansas
Golden Gate Bridge
Larry Richardson has had two great loves in his life, his wife Barbara and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA. In 1994, Larry was given some cable from a neighbor who had torn down a wooden bridge 1/4 mile from the Richardson's.
His wife said, "You've got your material so build your bridge." Larry's dad said, “Well, I'll help you." The Kansas Golden Gate Bridge is 150' long, 8' wide, and 25' high, and took 11 years to complete. It crosses a small creek separating the largest part of his farm to a small piece of land. These two men used a Golden Gate postcard — not blueprints — as a reference. Larry calls it "comparison engineering." Materials include lots of recycled items: old wooden bridge towers, cables from an oil rig, suspender cables salvaged from an old Cessna aircraft, and 9.5 tons of hand-mixed concrete.
Ed Root - Lucas, Kansas - 1866-1960
Concrete Yard Environment
During his retirement years, Ed Root arrayed his farmstead south of Lucas with glass- and rock-studded concrete monuments and festoons of crepe paper flowers and shrines. In 1937, Root overturned his car, breaking his hip. After his recovery from the accident, Root spent nearly 20 years assembling his concrete sculpture garden as a pastime. Mosaic sculptures sparkled and glistened, scattered randomly unexpectedly displays around his rural mailbox and farmstead. Root's sculptures were fascinating not only for their visual appeal but also for the time period they evoke. Root took available commonplace materials and turned them into sculptures. Refuse of the mid-20th century such as doorknobs, china dishes, rocks, Model T rims, brown glass Clorox bottles, metal bunnies, marbles, mirrors, Milk of Magnesia bottles, and even plastic barrettes decorated his concrete pieces.
Anthony "Tony" Sanchez - Kansas City, Missouri
Decades of paintings by Anthony “Tony” Sanchez, 98 years old, of Kansas City, Missouri, was on display at the Grassroots Art Center in 2018. Tony’s paintings include scenes of trains, landscapes, cartoon characters, yard displays, home decor and holiday themes using acrylic and oil paints. As a young child, he was self-taught and began to sketch farm scenes with pencils, not crayons. He was recognized in school and later, his work places for his ability to draw and paint.
“During my working years, I began drawing cutaways, exploded view of parts.” Tony explained. When no catalogs were available for ordering parts, he would sketch what was needed. He was asked to sketch the design of a box for bus fares. “I could see it in my mind and went home, drew sketches and helped to design the boxes for buses.”
The colors in his paintings come through true because he paints in the daytime when it’s best to work with natural daylight.
Tony is a World War II veteran and retired after thirty-three years as a supervisor at TJ Fleming Co., Westinghouse Air Brake, K.C. Mo. He has dedicated his retirement to doing what he loves, painting.
Ed Schmiedeler - DeSoto, Kansas - 1941-2015
A wonderful yard environment full of color, texture, and pattern is tucked into the woods of eastern Kansas. Ed Schmiedeler has been working for years, ornamenting the exterior and interior of his rural home. Anything is apt to be displayed as multiples or as a single unit in his yard environment. Included are machinery parts, railroad rail, jars, rocks, bikes, mannequins, barbed wire, mosaic toilets, chairs, plastic, cloth, shoes, ceramics, wheels, and furnace grates. The landscape plantings of floral and grasses make the sculptures come alive. Ed says, his favorite part of the environment is no single sculpture. "I love to sit in the swing on my deck which makes a great vantage point to view and enjoy the entire yard."
Nick Schmiedeler - Lawrence, Kansas
Nick Schniedeler elevates junk to jubilant sculpture. His canvas is his home and his medium is rusted metal, spare parts and discarded detritus. A favorite family outing for Nick and his two children is an excursion to the junkyard to scrounge for new materials. The yard and home environment is a culmination of incorporating his finds at the junkyard in a very organized, orderly manner throughout the yard and home. The perimeter of his yard is an odd assortment of car tags from the fifty states, to a Chevrolet pick-up tail gate, his dad's fishing lures, bowling balls, old push mower, bed springs, garage door springs, and bushings just to name a few. Somehow Nick has a knack of bringing all these individually interesting parts together to make a terrific artistic statement both on the exterior and interior of his home.
Martha Schrag - Pretty Prairie, Kansas - 1894 -1991
Martha Schrag created cardboard buildings for 10 years. She gave cardboard churches away at Christmas.
John Scott - Bunker Hill, Kansas
Salvaging scrap metal pays the bills, but creating sculpture from that junk is what makes John Scott a happy man. Most of Scott's small sculptures are extremely detailed, whether it's a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, hand gun, or an oil pumper unit. With patience, imagination and an arc welder, he creates metal art from bits and pieces of scrap metal from the Russell County area. Scott started after a conversation at a bar about making something from the junk he had collected. Scott worked with the man for about a month, and then the man moved on. Scott was hooked on welding unrelated pieces of metal, and prefers to sort through his junk to find just the right look rather than to manufacture a piece.
Paul Seiwald - Vermillion, Kansas - 1930-
Paul Seiwald appreciates order and symmetry in his life. During Seiwald's working years, he was a research chemist in Kansas City and when he retired, he and his wife moved to eastern Kansas to enjoy a quiet rural life. One of Seiwald's favorite pastimes is to go for walks in pastures and along roadsides. While he's walking, Seiwald gathers unusual finds with great care and selection. He then builds boxes that highlight his unique finds. Seiwald spends a lot of time hand sanding, staining, and placing a finish coat on the boxes. Next, he has to decide what looks good together. He says, "I like things that are not perfect. I quit when it looks right." Seiwald's paintings are not created on canvas, but rather plywood adapted with some coatings of wood putty to give it texture. He just likes to paint on that surface better.