Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Public Art / Harold Balazs

I've been thinking about public art a lot lately.  I don't really know why.  Maybe because it's under so much scrutiny during this recession.  I guess I view public art as essential as public parks.  In an urban environment, it's just such a bonus, like "WOW! I can come look at this piece of art whenever I want?"  

Seattle Project (1976, welded copper) by Harold Balazs

However, it's only recently that I've started to pay more attention to the great public art Seattle has scattered around.  There are tons of amazing pieces.  I walked by the piece above a while back and it struck a chord of familiarity.  Then it hit me, it was by Harold Balazs. He was the first artist that made me consider art as a legitimate profession.  I went to school with his grand-daughters.  I grew up with his art -- it's all over Spokane.  My favorite pieces are the ones that feel rooted in the 1970s.  

Rhododendrons (1976), vitreous enamel on steel by Harold Balazs

It was a nice surprise to see his art in Seattle.  In addition to his sculpture, he did some beautiful enamel pieces for the Kingdome (that have since been relocated the King County Administration Building).  

Rhododendrons (1976), vitreous enamel on steel by Harold Balazs

My favorite piece of Harold Balazs art lives in Spokane.  You may/may not be able to surreptitiously climb to the top of the 30 foot sculpture to be rewarded with a plaque containing some words of wisdom from Harold.  

An organization that's doing both great preservation and promotion of public art in Seattle is 4culture.


Neicy Frey Clark said...

thanks for featuring Balazs Joey! He is a long-time favorite of mine and has provided so much inspiration...Spokane is truly a treasure-box of his work. I was driving down this random hidden road a few days ago and saw this house with his relief work all over it. Awesome!

Joey Veltkamp said...


I know, I just love it. And whenever you randomly come across it, doesn't it make it that much better?!


Neicy Frey Clark said...

Public art is ESPECIALLY important during tough lifts the spirit and can lead people to think out of the box... a familiar piece can provide solace and comfort and can be very reassuring--like visiting an old friend who says "everything is going to be ok"

J. Hanover Miller said...

I have for sale a Harold Balazs 22" X 22" enamel on metal signed on back "H. Balazs "72" J. Hanover Miller P. O. Box 331, Graham, WA 98338