Meet a NYFA Artist: Christopher Kurtz

Meet a NYFA Artist: Christopher Kurtz

NYFA speaks with 2007 Crafts Fellow Christopher Kurtz.

NYFA: Hi Christopher, Please tell us what are you working on and what’s coming up for you.

CK: Since I received the NYFA award, I have branched out into furniture design in addition to my studio practice as a sculptor. I have a new line of seating that is being produced in my studio which is gaining international attention. Also, I am involved in designing a system of modular furniture for a new research center at Syracuse University. Earlier this year I had a solo show of new sculpture at Matin Gallery in Los Angeles. I am constantly working on sculpture for a handfull of art consultants who I feel lucky to work with.

NYFA: What does being an artist mean to you?

CK: I still think of being an artist as a weighty profession. Each time I make something, I think about all of those who came before, and all of those who are at work now. Ultimately I think being an artist is about moving culture forward, and there is so much responsibility that comes with this.

NYFA: Who or what is your biggest influence or inspiration right now?

CK: For sculpture, I am looking at a lot of Alexander Calder and Fred Sandback. They can both move mountains with just a whisper. This is very compelling to me.

NYFA: How do you start on a project?

CK: My process almost always begins in the studio with a direct, physical interaction with materials. I think with my hands.

NYFA: Tell us your most memorable art experience growing up.

CK: My father teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute. I would go to school with him when I was a kid and I’d see all the projects the students were doing. It was exciting to learn at a very early age, that simple materials could be transformed into something magical. The art school was like an alchemist’s laboratory to me. It is a lesson I still find inspiring.

NYFA: What is an indulgence for you?

CK: Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

NYFA: What is the perfect lunch?

CK: Cheerios and raisins with my daughter.

NYFA: Please recommend something to us, a good book, music, a recipe, another artist…

CK: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. A magical book.

NYFA: What role has the Fellowship played in your life?

CK: It has broadened my community of artists and has helped to foster a larger professional network.

Christopher Kurtz was born in 1975 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. He attended the Kansas City Art Institute (1994-96), Career Discovery Program in Landscape Architecture at Harvard University (1998), and received his BFA in Sculpture from NYSCC School of Art and Design from Alfred University. Kurtz has been exhibiting his work continuously since 1998 in numerous group and solo shows. He has received a number of grants and awards including a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Crafts (2007), Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award (2005), Roswell Artist in Residence Fellowship (2004), New York State Council on the Arts Special Opportunity Stipend (2002), Visiting Artist in Residence, Bennington College (2002). He currently lives and works in Accord, New York with his wife Deborah Ehrlich.

For more information on Christopher Kurtz, visit his website.

Amy Aronoff
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