It may be wintery outside, but three new trees have sprouted along Greeley’s 8th Avenue. They are part of the City of Greeley’s Uptown Trees public art project, which has seen 33 artistic tree sculptures installed between 17th Street and 7th Street since 2014.
Learn more about the three new trees, their locations, and the artists and their work:
Kelly Goff – “Arboreal Line”
Location: Near Austin’s American Grill, 1100 8th Avenue
Kelly Goff is a Curaçaoan-American artist working primarily in sculpture, installation, and public spaces. Born and raised on the Caribbean island Curaçao, Goff studied science and art at New College of Florida, and completed his graduate work at the Rhode Island School of Design with honors. He lives and works in Norton Massachusetts, where he is professor and chair of Visual Art at Wheaton College teaching courses in sculpture and public art.
Goff says, "I’m interested in edges, the spaces between things, points of tension, distances, lines, throughlines, and the displacement of resources. I grew up next to an oil refinery on a Caribbean island and this small geographic coincidence still colors much of my sense of the world and exploration of it as an artist. I’m fueled by contrasts of all sorts, and I’m drawn to places in the world where I suspect complexity. Remote landscapes under threat of human industry are especially potent, so time spent in places like the Ecuadorian Amazon, the Alaskan wilderness, and the Himalayan nation of Bhutan have been productive and meaningful in my work. Line is always a major player in the work; lines like those that connect places, but also the lines that connect us to each other."
Mitch Hoffman and David Brann – “Upcycle Bicycle”
Location: Near Independent Financial, 1130 8th Avenue
Mitch Hoffman and David Brann are co-owners of Model Metal in Denver. Together, they have more than 26 years of experience in design and fabrication. Mitch is passionate about using discarded scrap metal, especially bicycles, and has recently focused on interactive kinetic sculptures. David has a penchant for precision and has a wide range of metalworking skills. He has created projects ranging from hotel brass fixtures to art cars for Burning Man. For this piece, they used approximately 30 bicycle frames and assorted spare parts to create the trunk and canopy of a tree. The frames range from miniature bikes for children, to full size beach cruisers, road bikes, and mountain bikes.
“I have been making metal art for 12 years, and recently started my own fabrication business,” Mitch says. “Since I began my artistic path, I have been drawn to re-use and the upcycle movement, especially concerning bicycles. Bikes are a ubiquitous raw material, their use promotes social justice and alternative modes of transportation, and I strive to give a second life to broken, useless, or discarded bicycles. The concept of upcycling speaks to me insofar as it supports our failing efforts to maintain the environment on our planet. Single-use plastic and disposable, low-quality products are the result of short-sightedness towards waste and the environment; I strive to create beautiful things out of junk and inspire the next generation to do better. I have made a number of projects out of bikes, including putting them together into different configurations, creating interactive kinetic sculptures for children and adults, and using the chains and sprockets to create flowers, plants, and bugs.”
Jeff Wise – “Branching Outwardbound”
Location: Near Library Innovation Center, LINC; 501 8th Avenue
Jeff Wise of Durango, Colorado, graduated from East High School in Denver, Colorado. He has supported himself as an artist his entire life “with working diversions as a cowboy and stone mason,” he says. His work can be found in the permanent collections of Denver’s Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art, Boston Museum of Fine Art, the Museum of Art and Design in New York, and the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of American Art Renwick Gallery. He has public art in Durango, and has been an instructor at Penland School of Art, American Craft Council Shows, Worchester Center for Crafts, Taos Pueblo, Philadelphia College of Art, Northern Arizona University, Loyola University, New Mexico Arts and Crafts Fair and The Escola de Ljotja in Barcelona, Spain.
“My boundless curiosity compels me to explore, observe, and question the world I inhabit,” he says. “I’ll visualize a design and then mentally work through several variations of it, turning it backwards and upside down, chopping it up and rearranging it, keeping myself open to as many variations as possible. I fully utilize the three dimensionality of sculpture, offering work whose form shifts and alters when viewed from different perspectives. The goal is to engage the viewer, taking them on a visual adventure that offers new images and ideas. My open webbed sculptures take this concept even further by enabling the viewer to see the front and back of a piece at the same time. Balance, or being nearly out of balance, is an important aspect of my kinetic work. By lowering the center of gravity as much as possible, pieces will spin and shift, responding to the slightest touch or breeze. The shadows cast by the dynamically sweeping and curving forms in my sculpture are another intriguing aspect of the total experience.”