My earlier sculptures were cast in bronze or aluminum, usually with subtle curved forms. Then I found the use of clay to be a more direct avenue in which to work. The use of the extruder led me to use tubular forms – more biomorphic than geometric. These had surfaces that were rich in color and texture, appearing to be rusted metal. However, lately I have been exploring stone. Like my earlier cast metal pieces, I have found myself returning to the curved planes, subtly bending and twisting. In Crazy Eight, I enjoyed the interplay of polished black planes with those that are merely filed, leaving it dull gray. With the other stone pieces, there is a continuance of the smooth, curved forms that interlock and overlap with openings that draw the observer’s eye to other parts of the sculpture. Though one cubic foot of marble weighs 170 pounds, I attempt to make this heavier material appear to be lighter with a narrower bottom and wider mass farther up on the sculpture.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Illinois, Joel Erickson graduated from Western Illinois University with a BA in Art Education. He received his Master’s degree in sculpture from Illinois State University in 1982. More recently, Joel has spent part of several summers in Marble, Colorado, learning about sculpture in stone. Joel has pieces in the permanent collection of Illinois State University and the Figge Art Museum as well as other private collections.
Having taught 34 years at Moline High School and 11 years at Black Hawk College, his retirement has allowed him to devote more time to his sculptures, mainly his stone pieces. In his spare time, Joel enjoys spending time with his wife, traveling to visit his three grown children and their families.