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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Artist 36: Chris Conte

Conte is an artist from Bergen, Norway, but currently lives in New York. He received his bachelor's degree in Fine Arts at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He began working in the field of prosthetics, making limbs for amputees (something I REALLY want to do). He did this for 16 years as a certified prosthetist.

He used his expertise in the field to make purely sculptural forms. He left the field in June of 2008 to work purely with his artistic visions. He uses found objects (which look brand new) and original cast components to create assemblage sculptures that are unbelievably detailed, unique, and typically fully articulated. One perk he has to his prosthetic field experience is access to materials that most metal sculptors could only dream of using, such a surgical quality steel and aerospace industry metals. Yes, the materials really do make a huge difference on how a piece will look. They will never rust (if treated well) and should last for quite a long time.

While his work is very futuristic and forward thinking, he uses ancient methods, like the lost-wax method of casting, as a predominant technique. This means that it takes him anywhere from several weeks or months to complete one piece. He started selling his work through galleries in 2007 and had a two person show at Last Rites Gallery in New york a year later in 2008. Not even a month later he had pieces on display at the National Museum in Washington D.C. I can't believe I missed that show.

His works have appeared on Discovery Channel, Discovery Magazine, Wired Magazine, and Popular Science Magazine. Lockheed Martin and the FBI became very interested in his works, and in 2008 he began working closely with former Northrop Grumman engineers as a model maker. He was assigned to create an unmanned attack helicopter for them. The model he built only fired model rockets. That's the only information available at this time for this collaboration. In 2009 he was asked to give a presentation in Sweden at the Material Fusion conference. In this year he also loaned several of his pieces to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts for a one year exhibition.

Biomech Bronze Skull Ver. 1
Chris Conte Skull Pictures, Images and Photos

Take a guess at how big this piece is. That's right, it's 2.5" x 3.5" x 3.5"! It looks much, much bigger when seen as a digital image.

Biomech Arm
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