Kurt Palmquist

Born in: 1965, Helena, Montana, USA
Lives in: USA
Describe your art in three words: Striking, unique, creative
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Montana State University, USA

Pipe Dream - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 36" x 58" x 3.5

My artwork explores my fascination of the three-dimensional geometric form. Through experimentation, I discover a constant evolution of space defined by simple shapes, color, and composition. Architectural environments provide space and light to create striking compositions of depth and interest.

O-Motion - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 38" x 36" x 4"
What themes does your work involve?
My Sculptures explore my fascination with three-dimensional geometric form inspired by my lifelong passion for design, architecture and light. I strive to find harmony, through the forms I create, how they combine with each other and the color palettes used. They express freedom and movement, while always maintaining a sense of order.​
Describe your creative process.
As I design each sculpture I develop a visual language, that gives each piece it’s character. I start from a sketch and gradually refine each aspect of the composition. It’s a constant evolution that gives me the freedom to explore. The design of the piece is ‘finished’ when the visual language communicates a clear message. When the design is complete, each piece is then fabricated and cut and then I’m able to roughly put the sculpture together. This is my first chance to see how the layers interact with each other and how light and shadow begin to play with the forms. I can then start to make final decisions regarding final color and finishes. Next is the hands on phase where I really get to know the work, sanding, prepping and final finishing.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I am influenced by all kinds of art, architecture and graphic design, but what inspires me the most is having the freedom to create whatever I want. It is this freedom that allows me to explore ideas and concepts at a moments notice. I enjoy the creative process even though at times it can be challenging. I am also inspired by my finished work when I have a chance to see it on a wall and how it impacts the space. As much as I love creating art for myself, I really enjoy hearing and watching a viewer experiencing my work. Uncovering intricacies that are not evident at first, and being surprised or struck by what they are seeing is a huge reward.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
There are many aspects of art that can make a piece of art great. There are several for me that stand out. First is that I can look at a piece of art multiple times and each time I take away something I may have not seen or thought of before. This doesn’t mean that the artwork has to have some deep intellectual theme or is really complicated. Some of my favorite artists create work that is very simple. But it’s within the simplicity that I find the beauty. Second is craftsmanship. I really appreciate art from an artist who has attained a certain level of mastery and understands their medium. I know they have put endless hours in to developing their technique. You can see the fruits of their labor when you look at their body of work and can see how they are able to push themselves.
What is the role of the artist today?
For me personally, art has been therapeutic, it has given my creativity a place to go where its not hindered by the outside world. It’s easy for me to lose myself in my work and come out of it fulfilled and refreshed. It is really gratifying for me to see the finished piece and be proud of what I have accomplished. I am a much better person for it. From a bigger picture, I think society feeds off the creative energy of art and inspires us in our personal and professional lives. Some art challenges us to see things differently while others are for pure enjoyment and happiness. In either case it provides an escape where the viewer steps into a world where they are transformed.
Arc Traverse - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 45" x 38" x 3.5"
Strata - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 27" x 43" x 4"
Flourish - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 33" x 32" x 3.5"
Quirky - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 45" x 46" x 3.5"
Metro Ritz - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 46" x 33" x 3.5"
Circ Divide - Wall Sculpture, Oil Stain on Birch, 40" x 38" x 3.5"
Chroma Remix - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 42" x 36" x 3.5"
Split Swoop - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 44" x 45" x 3.5"


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist