Kyle Fokken - Artist

Kyle Fokken

I am a mixed media sculptor who combines atypical imagery into new hybrid sculptures to explore cultural contexts between generations of people.

I use vintage toy and ‘folk art’ aesthetics combined with rough construction as a way to talk about the passing down of cultural values from one generation to the next. At first, my sculpture may look foreign and strange but my craftsmanship and attention to detail capture and hold the interest of the viewer. I use this technique to entice the viewer to look deeper at the work allowing for reflection on greater issues in our society and question what we believe about ourselves.

I gravitated towards using found objects at an early age out of necessity.

I was a fairly poor kid who would rescue other kids’ discarded plastic model airplanes, cars and ships from the trash to rework them. Since I could seldom afford to purchase new models to make, I would prolong my enjoyment by making dioramas showing the wear and tear on the vehicles like bullet holes, ‘flak’ damage or damage from a crash-landing. This led me to study historical photos and I learned how to ‘fake’ elements of the models by making them out of found objects. This helped me to visualize everything more like an engineer and ‘see’ discarded objects in a new light. In realizing the potential of a found object separate from its original function is to realize the essence of what I call my ‘make do aesthetic’. “Making do” is something people all over the world employ using what they have and re-purposing material to fit their needs. My ancestors had this mindset of recycling and using everything to its fullest extent when they first moved to Minnesota in order to survive and prosper in the tough environment of the upper Midwest.

“Making do” is a quality I admire in all peoples.