Gary Schott currently resides in Houston, Texas, but he grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He earned his BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and his MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For the past decade his studio practice has continually branched out to explore kinetic sculptural and wearable objects. Humor and utilitarian undertones in his work help to provide silly somewhat questionable functional moments of interaction. He has shown nationally and internationally, is a former LEAP Award winner, and was included in the book, “Humor In Craft,” authored by Brigitte Martin. 

Artist Statement

Each work is almost always completely handmade by Schott. This element of his work enhances the absurdness and playfulness of his artworks. His execution of fabrication and surface finishes are at once minimal, non-distracting and beautiful. The manner in which color is used goes beyond pure compositional decisions and begins to direct the visitor’s mind to that of a plaything, or toy.

Play is an important element in Schott’s work. It provides a delightful contrast with the fine craftsmanship, allowing works to be seen as beautiful and silly all at once, but play also serves as an entry into his work; mentally and physically. If his objects are perceived as playthings, viewers may be more likely to interact with them. Conceptually, the idea of play also provides a nice contrast to the utilitarian references. While most of the small machines provide some manner of function, they subvert our everyday expectations of a machine.

One of the elements that has remained central to Schott’s studio practice for the majority of the past decade has been the exploration of elegant humor and physical interaction between his artwork and people. The fascination of objects and their use was specific to his training as a metalsmith and jeweler- two professions heavily steeped in designing and making objects to be interacted with. However, it was his introduction to contemporary British automata-makers, that fueled his desire further to combine humor, play and kinetic motion.

There are countless other influences- too many to list, but it’s important to note that while making the objects provides undeniable pleasure for Schott, he considers these collaborations between people and his works the artful moment.


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