• "The Dispatch" - press about me for Art-A-Whirl/ Train Repair Progress

    "The Dispatch" - press about me for Art-A-Whirl/ Train Repair Progress

    It's nice to have friends out there looking out for you...in this case some nice press! It's not a big blurb but it's still fun to see what comes up about your work. In this case, I'm referred to as a "sculpture legend"...something they refer to when you're getting old I guess, right? Ha! Thank you much to Sculptor Craig Snyder, a friend and accomplished fellow artist that I've had the pleasure to know. Check his work out at www.FIRESHAPES.com. Also checkout all the artists mentioned on this site and I hope you can stop by for this year's Art-A-Whirl this weekend!

    "Casket Arts
    ---Sculptor legend Kyle Fokken (@kfokkenart) in suite 120 exhibits his vibrant steampunk cool with his mixed media sculptures, which take an aesthetic cue from folk art and vintage toys and explore the cultural contexts between people. "

    Also, I'll be showing the repair/replacement of my "Train" piece for an insurance company in Sioux Falls. It won Best in Show overall for Sioux Falls Sculpture walk 15 (?) years ago and was sold locally. It was pretty beat up so I decided to replace the entire train portion with stainless steel. Here it is just back from the sandblaster. It's a little on the dull side so I have to polish it up a bit to bring out the shine. Hope you can swing by and check it out!

  • "Art is My Weapon" press

    "Art is My Weapon" press

    Got a nice little surprise this morning from MinnPost. My piece "Loco Motives" is featured on the front page of the online article about this show about gun violence.

    Hope you can checkout the show yourself!


  • Another rejection...

    Another rejection...

    Well, as much as I liked this design, I'm not going to be able to make it this time around. I just got the notification that my piece was rejected by the art committee for this project.

    The hard part about any of these projects is that it comes down to personal taste and whether the design fits their concept as to what they want to project. It's always a bit of a crap shoot but is still disappointing when your work is rejected. Oh well, on to the next project. Let's hope this piece will get made at a later date and a larger budget.

  • "The Curious Kit" gets rejected

    "The Curious Kit" gets rejected

    I thought this was a pretty neat looking piece for a children's museum on the prairie but the jurors/stakeholders may have thought otherwise. It's all just a part of the game and it's hard to see what their vision of the space and the artwork will be. Hopefully, they will allow me to work on something elsewhere within the new space.

    Here's a little chunk of my proposal - maybe another museum would like to commission it.

    ‘The Curious Kit” is about childlike wonderment to the world around them. The sculpture will hint at the museums’s purpose by welcoming children and families by the things that they are familiar with - and some things unexpected. The mosaic flowers are as brightly colored as the wild daisies in the meadows and the dahlias in Grandma’s garden. The song of the red winged black bird can be heard on a hot day amongst the thistles and the cat tails of the slough.

    This strangely garbed kit fox with a coat of many colors from the green of the prairie grasses to the flowers, birds and insects and the beautiful blue sky. A lovey orange and black monarch butterfly briefly lands on the kit’s nose being a welcome distraction from its daily experience. The sense of wonder and amazement of the kit to the fragility of the butterfly gives rise to the concept of flight and the vast journey it takes in its lifetime.

  • Paravel Apartments Sculpture RFP - 'The Fire Within' model

    Paravel Apartments Sculpture RFP - 'The Fire Within' model

    Well, not exactly news...
    I just wanted to share this piece that I proposed for the Paravel Appartments project. I presented last week and it seemed to go well but you never know. Anyway, I like the form so I thought I'd share it. The proposed piece should be appx 12 ft high x 10-12 ft wide and splays out in many different directions. The piece would be constructed out of steel and hot dipped in zinc. It will be a challenge to make and it is such a diversion from what I've made in the past but without challenges, how can we grow?

  • "Purser" wins another award!

    "Purser" wins another award!

    Happy to say that my piece "Purser (Piggy Bank Series)" got one of a few 'Awards of Merit" (White Ribbon)at last night's opening reception of of the 49th Annual Northern Lights Juried Exhibition at the White Bear Center for the Arts. It was my first time entering this wonderful show and I'm so pleased to get in much less win an award and am surprised that I was the only sculptor to win an award in this multiple discipline show.
    I hope you can check it out before it comes down.
    49th Annual Northern Lights Juried Art Exhibition
    In the Ford Family Gallery
    Show Dates: March 13-April 14, 2023
    White Bear Center for the Arts’ well-loved Northern Lights Juried Art Exhibition is back for its 49th year. While the show has changed over the years, the heart has stayed the same; it has always been a reputable art exhibition that draws talent from around Minnesota and neighboring states, judged by artists knowledgeable in their field. Northern Lights shines as a celebration of artists.
    All artists are welcome to enter their artwork, in any 2D or 3D media including but not limited to drawing, painting, fiber, pottery, photography and sculpture.
    Here are all the award winners -
    To view all the artworks in this great show check out the link below,

  • New public art piece jumps another hurdle!

    New public art piece jumps another hurdle!

    This is a model for a new public art sculpture/bench project. This is just the first rough maquette (along with budget, notes, measurements and drawings) that has been approved along by a neighborhood committee. The next step is to get it approved by the local parks and recreation department and then on to a general public approval process. The design is sure to go through a number of adjustments and since it hasn't been fully approved I won't share the details yet. Anyway, things are looking good for this project and hopefully this fall you'll be able to see it in person.

  • 'Purser' going to the White Bear Center for the Arts!

    'Purser' going to the White Bear Center for the Arts!

    Happy to say that my piece "Purser (Piggy Bank Series)" will be in the 49th Annual Norther Lights Juried Art Exhibition!
    Come check out all the great works in the show!
    49th Annual Northern Lights Juried Art Exhibition
    In the Ford Family Gallery
    Show Dates: March 13-April 14, 2023
    White Bear Center for the Arts’ well-loved Northern Lights Juried Art Exhibition is back for its 49th year. While the show has changed over the years, the heart has stayed the same; it has always been a reputable art exhibition that draws talent from around Minnesota and neighboring states, judged by artists knowledgeable in their field. Northern Lights shines as a celebration of artists.
    March 30, 2023
    Thursday, 6:30-8:30 PM
    Awards ceremony at 7:00 PM

    White Bear Center for the Arts

    PHONE: 651-407-0597
    ADDRESS: 4971 Long Ave.
    White Bear Lake, MN 55110
    EMAIL: wbca@whitebeararts.org

  • Paravel Apartments Sculpture RFP finalist

    Happy to say that I am a finalist for this new luxury apartment complex in Eden Prairie.
    This should be fun!


  • Kingdom Animalia Exhibition press

    Kingdom Animalia Exhibition press

    Here's a little piece of press for the show I'm in that is opening tonight. This is my little bit but the entire article is listed below along with the link if you want to see all the works in the article and a related video of works in the show.

    "This exhibition also features deeply personal artworks, like Kyle Fokken’s sculpture Haute Cochon (Piggy Bank Series), which was inspired by a glass piggy bank he had as a child. A colorful assemblage of recycled purses, the hog’s narrative tells a heartbreaking tale. For Fokken, the pig represents the memory of his childhood piggy bank being destroyed by a family member to pay necessary bills during the 1980s farm crisis in Minnesota. The whimsical straps remind viewers of the purse’s original function, tying directly to its deeper monetary connection to the artist."

    Fridley Exhibition Takes Inspiration from the Natural World
    Feb 2

    Big Fake Goose by Bekah Worley

    On Friday, February 3rd, the North Suburban Center for the Arts (NSCA) will host the opening reception for Kingdom Animalia, an exhibition inspired by the animal world and its wonder, peculiarities, and beauty.

    The exhibition features artwork from over forty artists, and includes a variety of mediums—textiles, mosaic, painting, assemblage, photography, along with many others.

    Collectively, the exhibition evokes the abundant diversity of the natural world and its inhabitants.

    Kingdom Animalia is the largest taxonomic order of the living world, encompassing all of the planet’s living and extinct animals. For this juried exhibition, artists were asked to submit works related to animals, an intentionally broad brief aimed to attract a multitude of interpretations. In many cases, artists submitted animal-inspired works deriving from aspects of their lives, memories, and—in some cases—a blend of both.

    Dolores by Becka Rahn

    For some artists, like fabric designer Becka Rahn, inspiration struck close to home. Her work in the exhibition, titled Dolores, is a velvet clutch adorned with a charming portrait of a plump toad gazing outward. “I am a fabric designer primarily. There are so many florals out there that they just seem boring to me. So I am always drawn to anything that's not a floral or botanical design,” she writes. “I've always loved drawing animals, especially quirky ones. My sister sent me a photo of this little toad and I thought it was so pretty that it would make a fun fabric design.”

    “How can you not laugh when you see a giant toad on a velvet clutch bag!”

    For other artists, like Naomi Hart and Sally Power, even their materials have connections to the natural world. Hart’s work, Casting Shadows, combines beeswax with pigment to achieve a sculptural painting technique called encaustic painting. To create Bird #1, Power utilized a thickening agent derived from red seaweed (carrageenan) with acrylic paint to create the bird’s features using the paper marbling process. “I pulled combs across the surface to get the fine pattern and finally used a stylus to move the paint to suggest wings and the bird's head,” she notes. “Each print is unique.” Power is part of the Midwest Marblers, and has been featured by Twin Cities PBS’s series Minnesota Original—see her process here.

    “I was inspired to try and catch the movement with my marbling which is also based on moving paint on a liquid surface.”

    This exhibition also features deeply personal artworks, like Kyle Fokken’s sculpture Haute Cochon (Piggy Bank Series), which was inspired by a glass piggy bank he had as a child. A colorful assemblage of recycled purses, the hog’s narrative tells a heartbreaking tale. For Fokken, the pig represents the memory of his childhood piggy bank being destroyed by a family member to pay necessary bills during the 1980s farm crisis in Minnesota. The whimsical straps remind viewers of the purse’s original function, tying directly to its deeper monetary connection to the artist.

    Haute Cochon (Piggy Bank Series) by Kyle Fokken

    Judith Yourman’s Bunny Pair, a set of ceramic wall hangings inspired by her daughters’ early childhood drawings, also provide insight into the biography of the artist. “My work is a loose response to the early drawings of my twin daughters, which have inspired and moved me by their simplicity, humor, beauty, and emotional honesty,” Yourman writes. Incised in clay, the bunnies hang on the wall in a playful fashion, as black stain draws out their hand drawn features.

    The opening reception for Kingdom Animalia is this Friday, February 3rd from 6-8pm at the Firehouse (110 77th Way NE) in Fridley. Light refreshments will be provided. All are welcome, and encouraged, to attend.

    There will also be handcrafted items on sale from local makers, including pieces from Fox & Fables, Sidecar Ceramics, The Zero(ish) Co., LaLunette Jewelry, and several more.

    Kingdom Animalia will be on view through March 5th. The NSCA is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 10am to 4pm, and on weekends from noon to 4pm.

    For more information, follow us on Instagram @northsuburbanarts or online at northsuburbanarts.org.


  • Kingdom Animalia Exhibition

    Kingdom Animalia Exhibition

    Hey everyone, I'll be showing a couple of pieces in this show at this new art center. Lots of fun stuff to see so if you can make it to the opening next Friday please do so.

    110 77th Way NE, Fridley, MN, United States, Minnesota
    The North Suburban Center for the Arts (NSCA; formerly Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Fridley, MN, with a mission to foster community through engagement with the arts.

  • Schaffer Richardson Development press - Timber and Tie Apartments

    Schaffer Richardson Development press - Timber and Tie Apartments

    I found a small written piece on my Timber and Tie Apartments artistic bike racks on the Schaffer Richardson Development pages.

    "Timber & Tie incorporates a variety of indoor and outdoor art elements to create a beautiful, empowering atmosphere for residents. One side of the community room boasts a large mural crafted by the BIPOC-led artist collective, Creatives After Curfew. With this mural, Creatives After Curfew reflects what makes Northeast special, the diverse and lively community. The other side of the community room showcases Urban Ties, Remo Campopiano’s and Justin Hossle’s 3D art installation inspired by the Timber & Tie name. This installation utilizes a series of 2-inch slices of railroad ties seemingly held in place by four railroad spikes, evoking a callback to the industrial revolution.

    The outdoor pieces take functional building elements and transform them into pieces of art. Kyle Fokken designed two sculptures that double as bike racks. The bike rack outside the main entrance incorporates the Timber & Tie logo while whimsical dancing trees double as the bike rack near the back entrance. Daniella Bianchini’s custom trash receptacles depict mosaic scenes. The panels of the receptacles include a musician playing the cello, an artist painting, and a child swinging. The decorative fencing around the playground is a real showstopper. The artist, Peyton Scott Russell, conducted workshops with the residents at Timber & Tie, creating stencils from resident portraits. The stencils were then used to create the fence panels, memorializing the faces of the residents as a permanent art installation on the property."


  • New Piggy Bank Purse!

    New Piggy Bank Purse!

    This is a piece I just finished a couple of days ago. It is part of my "Piggy Bank Series" which is about how we trade our time for work which turns into money which we spend on stuff and experiences. It is a working piggy bank and is made from a number of purses I have collected from second hand stores expressly for this project. It is for sale so please shoot me a message via my website for details. Cheers in the New Year!

  • Minneapolis Institute of Art visit (MIA)

    Minneapolis Institute of Art visit (MIA)

    Yesterday, my cousin and I went to the MIA to checkout the Botticelli and Renaissance Florence exhibition. Since it was in it's last few days, it was pretty packed so the photos I took were a bit hard to take due to all the people looking at the various works. Heather and I had been to the Uffizi Gallery 20+ years ago on our honeymoon and I've forgotten more than I remember from that visit. I've never been a big fan of Botticelli but I will say that seeing "Spring" and "Venus" are both really stunning. That said, this show was good since it showed a lot of his sketches and early works. Especially impressive were his first works from his early 20's when he setup his own studio. He came as the 8th of 9 kids and his father worked in a leather tannery - not the most pleasant of work.
    Anyway, it's good to recharge and get some mental rest from one's own work and be inspired for the next project.

    I can't remember the name of this artist, but I thought this teen boy portrait was just stunning. Check out the show if you can!


  • Voyage Minnesota Magazine article "Life And Work with Kyle Fokken"

    Voyage Minnesota Magazine article "Life And Work with Kyle Fokken"


    December 8, 2022
    Here's a nice little interview I did recently for Voyage Minnesota Magazine. You can read it below or got to the link provided for more pix of me and the work.

    Life & Work with Kyle Fokken

    Today we’d like to introduce you to Kyle Fokken.

    Kyle, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
    In my practice as an artist, I consider what I do as 3-D collage sculpture. I have always been an artist being interested in drawing, constructing – making things from a very young age. I grew up in a small farming community with very little money so my mother taught me how to draw and paint and always made sure that there were interesting projects to work on. As I grew older, I was very interested in making model cars and airplanes. Since I could seldom afford to purchase new kits to complete, I would ‘source’ discarded plastic models from the trash that were thrown away by my friends and rework them. I would transform the models into dioramas showing the wear, battle scars or crash damage based on books I found in the library. In doing so, I learned how to complement the models with found objects that look like they could be components of the real thing. This process of seeing beyond the initial use of an object helped me to think like an engineer and to look at all things with an eye towards its design and function.

    I refer to this process as my ‘make do aesthetic’. This thought process is in league with people all over the world ‘making do’ with what they have by repurposing material to fit their needs. It is in the nature of survival and the heart of folk art and cultural traditions that are also expressed through cooking, dance, fashion and belief.

    Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
    It has never been a smooth road to be an artist and I consider myself largely self-taught in almost everything I do.

    I was the first person to go to college in my direct family line and I’m proud of that fact. In my hometown, very few people completed an education past a vocational school, the military or work. I started off in a vocational school to study electronics but a friend noticed me spending a lot of my time drawing in class so suggested I give the adjacent community college a try. I took a few art classes and loved them so transferred to St. Cloud State University to study painting. I soon fell into a ceramics class and graduated with honors and a business major, having never taken a painting class.

    While in college I did some volunteer arts administration for the University and thought that that might be another avenue to explore since prospects of paying my way as an artist were slim and I couldn’t see myself setting up pottery anytime soon. After a clay apprenticeship under a potter and an internship at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, I wound up in Toronto Canada, working as a fundraising manager for classical music, ballet companies and museums. When that didn’t work out, I found my back to Minneapolis to work my way up a succession of jobs culminating in Mortgage Sales in the mortgage banking industry. I was successful which allowed me to do some world traveling but I wasn’t happy so after getting married my wife recommended that I just have a go at making art with the deal being that I also raise our two kids.

    Since then, I’ve sold a lot of work, won a number of artist grants and awards and had shows in many places in the midwest, NYC, Canada and China. I’ve recently been making public art which has been both rewarding and challenging.

    As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
    I am mostly known for my well-crafted “mashups” as one journalist from Minnesota Public Radio labeled my works.

    I tend to make sculptures that are a blend of oddly diverse imagery cobbled together. I am known for my ‘wooden shoe’ tanks, my church airplane, my cello/violin sailing ships and my flying dogs. All of these elements are personal totems that I use in varying ways to come up with new concepts – i.e., the sum is greater than its parts.

    I generally start out with an image in my head and then work backwards to see what sort of relevance the image has on me or current events. I use a lot of found objects and mixed media but I do so with the intent of finding the right object to fit the piece rather than having the found object dictate the narrative of the work.

    I strive for meaning in my work but in the process allow for loose translations and other interpretations. This gives the work ‘life’ and keeps the interest of the viewer and maybe offers some insight into the intent of the artist.

    Like every artist, I’ve had my share of hits and misses. I think anytime that I’m stretching myself artistically, I do work that challenges and surprises me. I love almost all of my mixed media ‘toy’ type sculptures since I don’t see anything quite like them and I delight in the material choices and how well the forms hold up over time.

    I’m happy that a number of them have found homes in public collections and museums. The public artworks are made under contract with many of the ‘sharp edges’ metaphorically and physically worn down. This is the nature of public art that has to blend in with the communities that they are chosen for.

    One of my favorite public pieces was the pair of raging bulls that I made for a couple of private superfan sports boosters of the Mankato Mavericks Hockey Team. The piece “The Guardians – The Wary and the Fierce” were their conception and I was happy to realize their vision for steaming bulls with glowing eyes. The pieces are so organic and flowing and so alive and I love how the fans have embraced them.

    So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
    Working with clients and public administrators is a form of collaboration. Everyone has slightly different goals but works together to make the entirety of the public space coalesce. As part of this process, I have meetings with community stakeholders who share their opinions, concerns and ideas with me which is also a form of collaboration. I prefer to maintain the artistic direction of the work but I often have to amend it slightly to accommodate tastes, scale, materials and other concerns.

    The best way to support an artist is to buy their work. That way the artist can just be free to create and everyone is happy.

    Other forms of support have been in the sharing of skills. I have taken small welding or repair jobs for galleries and other artists which are a nice diversion and I am happy to help. Artists can also be supported by the committees that choose artwork to be knowledgeable about the work the artist produces and why they make it. It would be wonderful more citizens cared about getting the most unique works of art to truly differentiate their communities rather than going the more ‘safe’ route of native landscapes and animals.

    Finally, we live in a world of images and connections so anytime you can support an artist that you like please ‘like’ and ‘share’ their information with friends, family, colleagues, and associates. The more that we can educate the wider public with our work and its value of it the better it will be more widely accepted.

    Contact Info:

    Website: www.KyleFokken.com
    Instagram: kfokkenart
    Facebook: Kyle Fokken – Artist

  • Consulting gig for Logan Park!

    Consulting gig for Logan Park!

    I just entered into a consulting contract with my neighborhood to work on a series of 'light' sculptures for Logan Park in Northeast Minneapolis. If the neighborhood likes my proposal they could hire me to implement my vision for the park along with design ideas and tweaks along the way.
    It is one of my favorite parks in the city and I am looking forward to working with the neighborhood group to produce artwork that is not only pleasant to look at but functions as a way to light a path for people to use the park safely at night. There are plans to also have me work on a proposal for the Pavilion (the photo above) itself but one step at a time.
    Check out all the goings on with the Logan Park Neighborhood Association and more pix of the Pavilion via their website. https://loganparkneighborhood.org/logan-park-pavilion/

  • Junk/Pig


    The Eau Claire Sculpture Walk decided that they'd like two of my pieces for the upcoming season. Sum Pig from my Piggy Bank Series and Junk from my Ship Series. They'll be going up next spring and on display until 2024.

  • "Span-Nest" is going to the hospital!

    "Span-Nest" is going to the hospital!

    Happy to say that my piece "Span-Nest" will be spending another year in Sioux Falls, SD. The Avera McKennan Hospital decided that they liked it's aesthetic and message and thought it would be a nice piece to host for the 2023-2024 season. Leases like this are always a treat since the work will be shown to people after traumatic and stressful events. I hope that the patients and their families and the staff will find solace in the colors and meaning in my work.

  • Sometimes you need to fix a chicken...

    Sometimes you need to fix a chicken...

    Artists do many of things to earn a little 'scratch'...yes, bad pun, but when else can a person use it, right?
    I was tasked by a local gallery to repair a piece by wonderful South American artist who had passed a number of years back. This sculpture was cast in Viet Nam in the 1990's and there's really no real way to tell what kind of metal it was made of. It was a challenge to find the means that would fix the piece but also be able to be removed down the road by a future conservator. I worked in a frame shop and was a coordinator for a gallery while in college so I learned a few things about repairs and preservation which came in handy years later.

  • Dancing Tree Bike Racks are now complete!

    Dancing Tree Bike Racks are now complete!

    My strange take on an urban bike rack is now fully installed!

    As an urban cyclist, when there’s no bike rack to be found, a utility pole is the best place to lock up your bike. I wanted to make a bike rack that is functional while being sculptural and treads the line between man made and organic.

    I hope you get the chance to check them out at the Timber and Tie Apartments in The Nordeast Minneapolis Arts District.

  • All Three Landscapes Sold!

    All Three Landscapes Sold!

    I did a series of three small landscapes for the NEMAA 10" x 10" Fall Fundraiser. These are a diversion from my regular work but it's fun to work in so much color and in 2D. These pieces are made of multiple layers of oil pastel on board that have been spray lacquered between layers. This not only brings out the colors in the pastels, but allows for some natural cracking to happen. I've done similar works in acrylic but using the same layering/lacquer techniques. Check out my 'Portfolio' section for more details.



    The Annual 10 x 10 fundraiser for the Northeast Minneapolis Art Association will be happening online on September 24th. I've donated and had work sold out within the first day so by all means act fast!

    I can't show which works are mine but if you know my work you may be able to tell. I've donated 3 colourful pieces that I hope you'll enjoy.

    Details are below


    Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA) has issued a call to all current NEMAA members to exhibit and donate original 2D and 3D artwork that is, or fits within, a 10×10-inch or 10x10x10-inch parameter. Members are encouraged to donate as many pieces as they would like, in any and all mediums for this annual fundraiser. This year’s challenge is to use recycled materials in the creation of a piece or pieces for 10×10. All available artwork will be initially displayed anonymously and available for purchase for $50. NEMAA will accept artwork until Saturday, Sept. 10. The NEMAA 10×10 Online Shop will launch Sept. 24 at 5 pm.

  • "Thicket" installed

    "Thicket" installed

    Happy to get this new commission completed last week. It was a real diversion from my usual work, but I had a wonderful client who is also a really talented artist along for the journey. The material was a bit challenging to work with but I am so happy that the piece turned out well and the client is so happy to add one of my works to her and her husband's lovely collection of artworks.

  • Award of Artistic Excellence at the Hallberg Center for the Arts

    Award of Artistic Excellence at the Hallberg Center for the Arts

    Last week I got an award for my piece "The Song of the Sea" at the Hallberg Center for the Arts in Wyoming, MN. It's a fun show and features a number of works across the board and the pieces are juried together as a whole vs in individual categories. It is very competitive to get into with around 30 percent of applicants getting into the show so I'm happy to have gotten in and to win an award as well!
    Here's a list of winners in the show but I encourage you to check it out for yourself!

  • More awards at the Minnesota State Fair!

    More awards at the Minnesota State Fair!

    Great to see a lot of friends at the State Fair Art Show and I even won a couple of awards! I got an Honorable Mention along with an individual award from The White Bear Center for the Arts!
    Lots of good works so check it out!
    Here’s a link to the catalog with pix of all the artworks and awards for each category.

    I've done a tally and have found that I've been in the fair 13 times since 2001. It is really competitive and just getting in is an honor. The typical ratio is around 1 in 10 get in for this category with only about 20 pieces getting in each year.

    I have won a number of awards including First-Fourth and Honorable Mention along with a few other regional awards from art centers and other institutions/donors. The biggest award was in 2020 when I won First Place along with a Purchase Award for the Minnesota Museum of American Art! I have yet to visit the piece at the museum but someday....

  • Dutchman by the Pool!

    Dutchman by the Pool!

    Dropped off my piece "Song of the Flying Dutchman (Over the Moon)" at the City of Eagan's "Cascade Bay' swimming pool. It is just a stone's throw from City Hall and will be greeting visitors throughout the next two years. Hope you can check it out!

  • Red Wing Sculpture Walk, Red Wing, MN

    Red Wing Sculpture Walk, Red Wing, MN

    I got a note from a friend then a call from a frantic arts coordinator wanting to know if I had a sculpture to lend for the next year for the City of Red Wing, MN. Apparently, one of their other artists had to bail on the project due to an injury and could not complete the new piece that they were working on for this location. Fortunately, I had this piece "Time to Fly (Piggy Bank Series)" available for lease. The coordinator was great to work with and I was able to drop the piece off and have them install it at this lovely location in front of the Red Wing Arts Center. The building itself is the fabulous old railroad depot and has such a lovely view of the river and the adjacent marina. Trains still run through this historic town and it is my hope that many people will come to check out my work and others there.

  • Quad Cities Sculpture Walk - Moline, IL

    Quad Cities Sculpture Walk - Moline, IL

    Dropped of my piece "High and Dry" in Moline Illinois earlier this week. It was a bit of a drive and gas was expensive, but the people there really appreciated having this work there. The piece is located right off the river and the main bridge connecting the city to Bettendorf, IA adjacent to a funky little park with a pavilion for outdoor music. I suspect the 'Yellow Submarine' will be welcomed by all fans of the Beatles and other forms of music.

  • Nice little piece of press - Mankato Free Press

    Nice little piece of press - Mankato Free Press

    I dropped off my piece "Junk (Ship Series)" in Mankato last Saturday as part of their CityArt Sculpture Tour and wound up with a little press to boot!


  • Timber and Tie Apartments Reception

    Timber and Tie Apartments Reception

    I think this is a closed event primarily for investors and neighborhood leaders it'll still be a lot of fun. It is to show off the new works of art that were recently commissioned by T and T that my bike racks are a part of. I'll also be displaying a few of my sculptures in the adjacent Maker Space.

  • "People's Choice Award" Hopkins Art Street

    "People's Choice Award" Hopkins Art Street

    Happy to say that when I picked up this piece this morning, I was given an additional cheque and a handshake for winning the "People's Choice Award" at Hopkin's Art Street Public Art Program! I seldom win this award so it was really nice to receive.

    I've won the 'Children's Choice' and I think a 'First Place' in years past but this one is really nice to receive since it's the people of Hopkins who chose it.
    Thanks again to Jim Clark and all the staff of Hopkins Center for the Arts, the City and people of Hopkins Minnesota.
    I don't have any work there this year, but please make sure you take a trip there and check out all the great work being shown this year!

    The piece will be in my studio for a few weeks for cleaning before it is off to its next destination for the City of Eagan's Public Art Program for a couple of years.

  • "Spike Bike Racks" Installed!

    "Spike Bike Racks" Installed!

    With the help of facilitator John Hock from Northeast Sculpture Gallery, I was able to get these new bike racks installed at Timber and Tie Apartments in Northeast Minneapolis.

    They are 5/8" plate steel components that I designed had professionally laser cut for this project. The pieces were then welded together in a staggered fashion for strength and utility. The pieces were then sandblasted and powder coated.

    The clients love them as well as a number of the residents in the building.

  • Piggybanks at the Rogue Buddha Gallery!

    Piggybanks at the Rogue Buddha Gallery!

    I dropped of a few of my "Piggy Bank Series" at my friend and fellow artist Nick Harper's "The Rogue Buddha Gallery" in Northeast Minneapolis. I've shown with Nick off and on over the years and he has a very discerning eye so I'm honored to be able to display these works in the front window.

    Anyway, here's the promo that he wrote up about the work in the show.

    "A new sculpture has taken up residence in the Rogue Buddha Gallery. One of three actually, the piece shown here, entitled "Purser" being part of a larger body of work by one of my favorite artists Kyle Fokken. This body of work is appropriately called the "Piggy Bank Series". I'll be uploading images of the other two in the series, also now on exhibit at the gallery (two of which are in the front windows) in the near future.
    Kyle has been a long time friend and as I said, a favorite artist of mine for many years. One thing that I love about Kyle's work, beyond the craftsmanship and vision, is his constant pursuit for new and intriguing themes which he executes with flawless ease. Constantly reinventing himself through the exploration of various subject matter, he does so seamlessly with a quality and technique which leaves no doubt as to who the artist is.
    Purser is now available both at the gallery and online at the link below in the comments."

  • Pre Approved Public Artist for the City San Antonio!

    Just found this out today!

    I periodically apply for these Public Art PreApproved lists and sometimes they hit!
    Let's see if the right project comes along....


    Dear Applicant,

    Congratulations! You have been added to the 2022 City of San Antonio’s Pre-Qualified List for Public Artists and Support Services.

    The list has been approved by the Public Art Committee, San Antonio Arts Commission, and City of San Antonio City Council. You are now eligible for consideration for public art projects for the next three years. As a reminder, being on the Pre-Qualified list does not guarantee a public art contract. Artists on the list are eligible for consideration by artist selection panels who convene on a project-by-project basis.

    Thank you again for your interest in the City of San Antonio’s Public Art Division.


    Public Art San Antonio
    Department of Arts & Culture
    115 Plaza de Armas, Suite 102 | San Antonio, Texas 78205
    (210) 206-ARTS

  • "Dutch Oven"/Resin Casting

    "Dutch Oven"/Resin Casting

    I've been playing around with resin to see what more I can do with it as a media. Nothing is fully formed, just a number of test pieces that have some promise but a few problems such as bubbles or breaks. Anyway, I built this hotbox out of some scraps I had laying around plus a reptile tank heater. I had to build it since resin requires a temp between 70-85 degrees F in order to cure which is an issue in a studio in MN kept between 45-60 degrees. Anyway, I'm hoping to learn enough in these small experiments to do something much larger and more complex down the road.

  • "Spike Bike Racks" progress

    "Spike Bike Racks" progress

    These are a little further along, but this is the most recent pic of them fully assembled during a test fitting. They're all welded up with the exception of a few small additional supports along the base of the spikes. They're really solid, but I thought it would be better to be safe than sorry so I'm adding them. Grinding all the welds has been pretty tedious but that part is all done now so I can do my final finish sanding prep prior to getting them loaded up to go to the sandblaster then for a 2 color powdercoated finish. I'm still working on the exact configuration for the bolts since I want to have them locked into place and tamper proof. I've got a few options, but thought I'd do some more research first. Any luck they'll be completed and installed in the next week or two.

  • "Close Encounters of the Canine Kind" to be made for Mankato CityArt

    "Close Encounters of the Canine Kind" to be made for Mankato CityArt

    Okay, it's a bad drawing of a silly event but I'm really looking forward to making it.

    It is an image of our dog Maxx jumping up and grabbing a UFO like a frisbee. My son drew this image way back when he was about 6 years old and I always thought it was such a fun idea that I'd try to make it. The challenge of something that is 3D vs 2D is that I have to make it self supporting so I've added the curved supports to hold it up. Also, my son had the UFO floating in mid air which I really can't do in an outdoor sculptural piece.

    We'll have to see how it goes.


  • 'Span-Nest' to be made for Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk

    'Span-Nest' to be made for Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk

    This is a yet unrealized piece. Generally, if I have to go to an out of town location, I figure I may as well make a new piece to replace it. This gives me more exposure and a chance to try out new ideas.

    I guess the ideals are a bit of a stretch but it comes from a good place - the idea that human relationships are constantly being built and dismantled. In the case on an intimate relationship I chose to incorporate a ring form to highlight the circular nature of connection. In many of these cases, this ring becomes a nest where the pair live and often have children. I'm still playing with the form but this is the general idea.

    “Span Nest” Statement

    This piece is about the everyday disagreements you and your wife/husband/life partner are challenged to resolve. I’ve chosen to represent these as a series of ongoing bridges or ‘spans’. These spans resolve to form a continuous ring that is stronger than the individual viewpoints and in turn create a nest that is safe and secure and full of a colorful life.

    We'll have to see how it turns out.


  • "Sum Pig (Piggy Bank Series) goes to see the Musicman!

    "Sum Pig (Piggy Bank Series) goes to see the Musicman!

    My first bronze piggy bank will be finishing its two year stint in Sioux Falls, SD as part of their SculptureWalk Program and traveling to Mason City Iowa ('River City' from "The Music Man" to participate in their program. Hopefully it'll pickup an award and sell. If not, I hope that people utilize the 'coin feature' and drop a couple of coins in for luck. Meanwhile I hear the faint sounds of 76 Trombones warming up...



  • Song of the Flying Dutchman (Over the Moon) Goes to Eagan!

    Song of the Flying Dutchman (Over the Moon) Goes to Eagan!

    This piece has been chosen by the City of Eagan, MN to be leased for the next two years as part of its "Heart of Eagan" Public Art Program.


  • Work at the Whit!

    Work at the Whit!

    Well, I finally got my work installed at the Whitney (The Whit) Gallery last week. It's a great little gallery in Downtown St. Cloud MN started by my friend artist Heidi Jeub.
    I've got a number of newer works from my "Piggy Bank Series" that I had shown at Metro State University's Gordon Parks Gallery plus a few older "Figurehead Series" pieces some mini fox pieces and mini pig pieces. Fun stuff.
    Anyway, please take the time to checkout printmaker Mary Bruno's work plus all the various small works in the holiday shows happening this week.
    The Whit will be hosting a Closing Reception and Talk tentatively on January 20th (Thursday evening) with a musical guest to follow.

    Hope you can swing by!


  • Radio interviews and "Art Night"

    Radio interviews and "Art Night"

    I had two live interviews with a pair of country radio stations in the Watertown SD area. Overall they went well but a lot of the usual questions asked of artists - how long have you been doing this and what materials do you use. There's also the undercurrent that they can't believe that you do this full time much less make a living at it. All fair points but if we're able to explain how much the arts add to a community the more we can change this way of thinking. Anyway, press is press and I'm always happy to do it. The two stations were KSDR and KWAT and tomorrow I have to go on KXLG.

    This is all part of Watertown's 'Art Walk' sculpture show.Here's their website. https://visitwatertownsd.com/directory/artwalk/
    I'll be talking live with them and showing slides on their Facebook Live stream at 6:30 pm Thursday, December 9th. Stay tuned...

  • Mankato Mavericks Men's Hockey Team Photo!

    Mankato Mavericks Men's Hockey Team Photo!

    Got a nice little surprise text this morning - a Holiday themed photo of the Mavericks Men's Hockey Team! it's great how the whole team fits nicely between my two bulls! Thanks again to Patrons David and Michelle Schooff! Go Mavericks!

  • Manta Shark gets a new home!

    Manta Shark gets a new home!

    Sold this great little one of a kind bronze to an Instagram follower a couple of weeks ago. Turns out she loves sea creatures and really dug this little 'Manta Ray/Whale' piece. It wasn't mounted on the base at the time and needed a quick repair but she trusted me to fix both and here is the result. Thanks again to Nick Legeros for the quick repair. I loved using Paduk wood on this piece and hope to do so more in the future.

  • "Dancing Trees and X's and O's Bike Racks" Commission Awarded!

    "Dancing Trees and X's and O's Bike Racks" Commission Awarded!

    Well, I got one of the two commissions that I was a finalist on and am so very pleased that it is the larger one and the one I wanted the most!
    This is a graphic of what the two individual bike racks will be for the recently completed Timber and Tie Apartments. I designed the "X's and O's Bike Rack" for a narrow space at the front of the building. These will consist of 5 colored powder coated steel racks based on the the Timber and Tie logo.
    The second set of racks are more ambitious. The "Dancing Trees Bike Rack" is more sculptural and is based on the many times I've locked my bicycle to a street sign pole when nothing else is available. In creating a small 'forest' of these poles I hope to give multiple users the ability to lock their bikes quickly and leave quickly. These 'trees' will consist of wider steel cylinders at the base and tapering to smaller cylinders going up towards the branches. The branches are a design feature that prevents someone from merely sliding the bike up the pole. The tips of the branches will feature 'leaves' made from iridescent color changing LIC stainless steel. The colors will vary from dark blue to teal and will waver in the wind and with full southern exposure change their reflection over the course of the day. It will add a very dynamic and natural element to an otherwise industrial area.

  • "We Beasties" Postcard

    "We Beasties" Postcard
  • A little more press about the bulls...

    A little more press about the bulls...


  • Public Art Finalist!

    Public Art Finalist!

    I am one of a few artists that has been selected to design functional artworks for the newly constructed Timber and Tie Apartments.

    I've been chosen for two projects - on is for an artistic 'trash receptacle enclosure' and the other is for an 'artistic bicycle rack'.
    I've made benches before but this is a new challenge for me to try to make otherwise staid and boring but functional components into something interesting and more pleasant. As with anything, the key is to make it function well, then worry about how to make it beautiful.

    I got the opportunity to tour the site yesterday and am very excited as to what it all will entail.

    Check them out - still some apartments available in the heart of the Northeast Arts District!

  • 10 must-see pieces from the 2021 Minnesota State Fair!

    10 must-see pieces from the 2021 Minnesota State Fair!

    10 must-see pieces from the 2021 Minnesota State Fair

    "Minneapolis artist Kyle Fokken's "Salt Pork" from the Piggy Bank series, is a mixed-media sculpture of a metal pig with a salt shaker sticking through it, positioned on top of five variously colored barrels. The sculpture alludes to the way money is the pinnacle of the oil pyramid, and reflects the barrels used in the oil refining process."

    I didn't win any awards this time around, but I did get into the State Fair and I did get selected by the Minneapolis Star Tribune as one of the 10 best pieces to check out at the state fair. Myself and one other sculpture got mentioned along with 8 other artists in mostly 2D artwork that included, painting, printmaking, drawing, ceramics, glass, textiles and photography.

    Here's the link to the Strib article and a link to a non-paywall copy of the article.



  • This little piggy is going to market...

    This little piggy is going to market...

    My pig is going to the State Fair!

    The Minnesota State Fair is a big deal in these parts and the Art Exhibition is no exception. Every year, scads of artists from across the state apply to be in this show and unfortunately many are turned away. For the Sculpture Category there are typically 200-300 sculptors who apply and only between 20-30 get in. The other categories like painting, printmaking, drawing, ceramics and photography are even more competitive.

    The jurors change every year and I myself have been a juror in the past so I know the amount of work that goes into jurying this show and the numbers of great works that just don't make the cut. I have gotten in a number of times and have won awards (including last year's First Place - Sculpture and Minnesota Museum of American Art Purchase Award!) but I've also had my share of rejections from it.

    So, everytime I get in, it's a good thing and I am grateful for the opportunity to share my work amongst so many great artists and to an engaged population that really enjoys seeing the work.

  • SOLD!


    Sold this sweet piece to a lovely fellow artist!

    Now this surfing fox overseas a perch looking out over the Missisippi River!

  • New Fox!

    New Fox!

    Here's a great little piece that I made for my "Fox Series".

    I decided to make it into a surfing fox as seen from a Northern Minnesota perspective. I call the piece "Superior Surfer". It features a cast resin wave that is impregnated with blue particles and has an LED lighting system in its base.

    Fun stuff!

  • "Toolbox" Redux

    "Toolbox" Redux

    Here's a piece from my "Church Series" that I made a number of years back that I updated a bit. I also added a color changing LED lighting system.
    It's going to be featured in a show - "Ekphrasis: Sister Arts ll". It's a show where artist supply artwork and poets/writers write about the works and visa versa. It opes this September at the Phipps Gallery in Hudson WI.
    Check it out!
    Sister Arts: Poetry & Visual Art
    The Phipps Center for the Arts
    Hudson, Wisconsin
    Home : Event : Gallery Exhibit September 17 – October 24
    galleries hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., Sunday, Noon – 5 p.m.
    Opening reception:
    Friday, September 17, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    Gallery Two
    Ekphrasis: Sister Arts II
    The definition of Ekphrasis used for this exhibition is “visual arts and poetry in conversation”. Creators of these “sister arts” were given the unique opportunity to collaborate or to react to one another’s finished piece to create new work for this show. This is the second Ekphrasis exhibit presented by The Phipps and curated by Lee Kisling, Lana Sjoberg, and Margaret Welshons.
    By Raghda Skeik, painted in response to “No Way” Trees
    Participating Visual Artists:
    Ta-coumba Aiken, Barb Bend, Ron Brown, Gary Carlson, MaryAnn Carlson, Sebastian Rivera Cintron, Nancy Condon, Renee and Jim Engebretson, Stephanie Howell, Kyle Fokken, Kate Gomez, Steve Johnson, Lissa Karpeh, Fawzia Khan, David Markson, Geno Okok, Susan Penman, David Raven, Raghda Skeik, Lana Sjoberg, Jill Van Sickle, Moira Villiard, Mary Welke, and Ian Welshons
    Participating Poets:
    David Baldwin, Crystal Brown, Doc Burkard, Paula Cisewski, Susan Crouse, Michael Kleber-Diggs, MP Flandrick, John Graber, Hawona Sullivan Jenzen, Jan Johnson, Lee Kisling, Jeanne Lutz, Su Love, Anne Piper, TR Smith, and Isaac Yerry
    Opening Night Poetry Reading
    Friday, September 17, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
    Free and open to the public
    Listen to the poets from Ekphrasis: Sister Arts II read their poems as images of the artwork inspired by or related to the poetry is simultaneously projected onto a large screen.

  • Flying Dutchman lands in Hopkins..finally...

    Flying Dutchman lands in Hopkins..finally...

    This piece was slated to go to Hopkins a few years back but unfortunately a different city snagged it a month earlier. Then it was in the running for two public art locations - one that it wasn't chosen for and the other the developer decided to wait on making a decision.

    This is one of my favorite pieces and has been close to sold a number of times over the past 9 years so I hope it finds a permanent home someday soon.

    In the meantime, please check it out in downtown Hopkins, MN as part of their ArtStreet Sculpture Tour in front of the Hopkins Historical Society.


  • Flying Piggybank has landed in Hutchinson

    Flying Piggybank has landed in Hutchinson

    Here's a little press on this piece....

    Hutchinson Sculpture Stroll

    "Time to Fly (Piggy Bank Series)" is right at home by Citizens Bank & Trust on one of the new block pedestals!
    "Time is money, money is time…time flies when you are having fun….". Created by Minneapolis artist Kyle Fokken, the title of this piece references the saying ‘when pigs fly’ as something will happen if only the impossible happens first. This piece is about how your time is your only true commodity and that impossible things will happen when you use your money for good and for fun.
    “I am a mixed media sculptor who combines diverse imagery into hybrid sculptures that explore cultural contexts between people. I use vintage toy and ‘folk art’ aesthetics to explore the passing down of cultural values between generations."
    "Time to Fly" can be seen downtown at Main St & 1st Ave S (S.W.)
    1 Share

  • More press for the Bulls

    More press for the Bulls

    Video streams and local newspaper press




  • "Song of the Sea II" sets sail for Avera McKennan Hospital

    "Song of the Sea II" sets sail for Avera McKennan Hospital

    This is my third incarnation of this wonderful violin/ship form. This piece is the replacement piece that got sold last spring. This sculpture is currently on display in the Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls as part of the Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk Exhibition for 2021.

  • "The Guardians - The Wary and The Fierce" dedication

    "The Guardians - The Wary and The Fierce" dedication

    Here is a picture of the wonderful people who commissioned this sculpture - David and Michelle Schooff. They are both ardent hockey fans and in particular big supporters of the Mankato State Mavericks Hockey Team. This photo was taken during the dedication of the two Mavericks sculptures on May 5th, 2021.
    I made a little 'Silver Snout Award' for Michelle to celebrate their vision and ability to 'sniff out' an opportunity to do some good for their community. She also happened to give me a 'hard time' about wanting to fix and replace the various snouts I had made for the bulls (I did make 5 total for 2 bulls). I finally settled on the ones I liked best and thought that she might like one. Anyway, it was fun to make and it made her happy so that's worth something too, right?

  • "The Guardians - The Wary and The Fierce" installed

    "The Guardians - The Wary and The Fierce" installed

    Happy to say that I got both of my bull sculptures installed 1 week ago today. It was pretty rough getting to the finish line but all in all things turned out well. The clients and the community seem pretty happy with them and I'm planning a followup visit to see if they've tarnished yet. Since they are both zinc coated, I need to see if they've softened to an nice dull grey.

    It took a little time, but we were able to get all the internal wiring done and the fog machines working so that the nostrils with spew 'steam' and the eyes light up a nice purple glow.
    Unfortunately, we were not able to dedicate them properly due to anticipated protests but hope to do so soon.

    Onward to the next commission!

  • Bulls progress...

    Bulls progress...

    It's been a long road but things are finally coming together for these pair of 'Mavericks' for the Mankato Civic Center. The piece was commissioned by a nonprofit to honor the Mankato Mavericks Hockey Team and is my interpretation of the Mavericks mascot- a wild bull.

  • Ego Surfing....

    Ego Surfing....

    Occasionally when I'm a bit bored or procrastinating, I do a quick search to see if my name or my work has popped up anywhere online. I haven't had a proper show in a while but I thought I'd just have a quick peek and bingo, something from this past summer popped up. It's a small piece about my piece that got First Place at the Minnesota State Fair and was awarded a Purchase Award by the Minnesota Museum of American Art. It features two Museum Trustees who acted as jurors - Tom Arneson and Jim Denomie in the photo. (Missing was Curator of Exhibitions Laura Joseph). It's nice to get a little boost on a dreary but beautiful snowy Minnesota Day.

    The M’s 2020 State Fair Purchase Award: Kyle Fokken
    August 27, 2020

    The M has a tradition of being the only museum to purchase a work from the Fine Arts show at the Minnesota State Fair. Curator of Exhibitions Laura Joseph along with M trustees Tom Arneson and Jim Denomie participated in a socially-distanced selection process this year.

    The three landed on a mixed media assemblage by long-time Minnesota artist Kyle Fokken (born in the small Minnesota farming town of Clara City). Fokken is know for his use of found materials and what he describes as a “make do” aesthetic. He has public sculpture at Franconia Sculpture Park, among many other places across the state.

    This particular piece, Class Act (Piggy Bank Series), stood out for its timely political commentary about the U.S. and the Second Amendment. That and Kyle’s history as a longstanding and respected Minnesota warrants his inclusion in the M’s collection.

    Alicia Eler mentioned the piece in her overview of the show this year. What do you think of it?


  • Art of the North International Exhibit - Hopkins Center for the Arts

    Art of the North International Exhibit - Hopkins Center for the Arts

    I was happy to get two of my pieces in this high profile award winning exhibition. My pieces "The Jack in the Basket (Figurehead Series)" and my other piece "Salt Pork (Piggy Bank Series)" are both featured in this first video and the second videos of this three part video series. Since there was no public opening reception, HCA asked us to record short videos of ourselves briefly talking about our works. There is a note below showing when each artist is talking in the videos.
    Unfortunately, I didn't win any awards for this show this year, but there are plenty of wonderful works to check out.


    The Arts North 26 opens virtually now! Part 1 of the video tour is an intimate stroll through our Redepenning Gallery, complete with personal greetings and messages from 47 of the participants and winning artists from around the world. They include (along with a time stamp when their video message appears): Dan Kirchhefer (1:29) Jeanne Gallaher (2:19) Ben Denino (3:03) Amelia Salisbury (3:43) Polly Norman (4:11) Jordyn Brennan (4:31) Jayson Randall (4:55) Kim Segar (5:32) Gary Carlson (6:29) Lisa Rigge (6:52) Sidra Hassan-Brown (7:29) Jack Girard (8:15) Steve Yuen (8:37) Lynn Garwood (9:46) Adriana Miranda (10:23) Taylor Higdon (10:42) Rita Dungey (11:19) Blair Treuer (12:08) Jacqueline Chanda (12:41) Beau Lasiewicz (13:10) Darcy Meeker (13:37) Brian Lutterman (14:05) Brenda Ward (14:41) Shelley Beaumont (15:03) Robert Jeffery (15:04) Danna Fruetel (16:16) Scott Krohn (17:02) Paul Murray (17:21) Ekaterina Kazachenko (17:53) Bob Marckese (18:47) Kyle Fokken (19:25) Shawn McNulty (19:58) Michele Rial (20:35) Lindsey White (21:06) James Byrne (21:35) Matt Schellenberg (22:05) Mark Anderson (22:40) David Gregory (23:13) MaryAnn Carlson (23:41) Kate Borcherding (24:18) Mary Rowland (24:45) Michael Potts (25:24) Francesco Conti (25:54) Scott Krohn (26:37) Jane Johnson (27:23) Julie Allen (27:49) Leila Rastegar (28:45)
    #artsnorth #artsnorthinternational #artsnorth26 #hopkinscenterforthearts
    Arts North 2021 Virtual Tour Part 1


    Hopkins Center for the Arts
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    Arts North 26 opens virtually now! Part 2 of the video tour takes you along the curved wall and sloping walkway of our gorgeous first floor lobby gallery, complete with personal greetings and messages from 16 of the participants and award-winning artists from around the world. They include (along with a time stamp when their video message appears): May Ling Kopecky (:48) Kasey Passaic (1:24) Stef Kiihn (1:59) Ben Denino (2:58) Jeanne Gallaher (3:22) Karen Caldwell (4:12) Nancy Stalnaker Bundy (4:50) Elizabeth Kale (5:15) Brian Drake (5:49) Scott Krohn (6:44) Lynn Garwood (7:08) Jesse Lang (8:36) Megan Sutton (8:55) Lisa Galbraith Heyl (9:41) Layl McDill (10:04) Kyle Fokken (10:40) https://vimeo.com/498741854
    #artsnorth #artsnorthinternational #artsnorth26 #hopkinscenterforthearts


    Arts North 26 opens now! Arts North 26 opens virtually now! Part 3 of the video tour takes you along the curved wall of our festive second floor lobby gallery, complete with personal greetings and messages from 14 of the participants and award-winning artists from around the world. They include (along with a time stamp when their video message appears): Tom Hessel (1:14) Kara Lasiewicz (1:50) May Ling Kopecky (2:41) Francesco Conti (3:25) Nicole Houff (14:14) Marie-Ange Hoda Ackad (4:31) Robert Jeffery (4:54) Nektaria Mattheos (6:05) Jeane Kat McGrail (6:29) Shirley Nannini (7:09) Susan Hensel (7:49) Cathy Raef-Dunnigan (8:33) Abbey Elisabeth (8:56) John Calabrese (9:15) https://vimeo.com/498744488
    #artsnorth #artsnorthinternational #artsnorth26 #hopkinscenterforthearts

  • Skulls!


    Here are a bunch of fun experiments. I'm not a trained painter, but I love colour so I made a simple icon to sling paint onto.

    All of these are 8" x 8" x 3/4" and are acrylic and lacquer on panel.
    $75 each. Let me know if you'd like one or many!

  • Special Award of Merit - Robbin Gallery 25th Extremely Minnesota Exhibit

    Nice to get another award! This time is for my "Salt Pork (Piggy Bank Series)" piece.


  • Cutting parts

    Cutting parts

    My subcontractor was able to start cutting up the layers of the bull forms on his plasma CAD Machine. Hopefully, I'll be able to start welding them together soon.

  • Mankato Mavericks Fan Experience Project - progress

    Mankato Mavericks Fan Experience Project - progress

    here's a series of pix of the progress for the 'horn' test piece.

  • Mankato Mavericks Fan Experience Project - progress

    Mankato Mavericks Fan Experience Project - progress

    Been working on this for a while...
    I hired a technician to scan my original clay models and turn them into a 3D model that could then be rendered in another software program by my fabrication guy Ben. Here is one of the 3 D scans.

  • Hutchinson Sculpture Stroll Video

    My work is featured with a number of other artists in this year's Sculpture Stroll.


  • Extremely Minnesotan!

    Extremely Minnesotan!

    My pieces "Salt Pork (Piggy Bank Series)" and "The Jack in the Basket (Figurehead Series)" are both going to be featured in this new exhibit at the Robbin Gallery in downtown Robbinsdale, MN. The show is a juried survey of a variety of artists across Minnesota.

    'Extremely Minnesota' runs from November 5th - 25th. Not sure about the times for the opening reception and gallery availability - especially due to Covid 19.

  • Song of the Sea is finally home!

    Song of the Sea is finally home!

    This piece was commissioned by a most lovely couple and friends that we miss very much.

    We are so looking forward to seeing them and this piece in their new home.

    Here's what she wrote on social media....

    Over 20 years ago, S***** and I met in law school and became friends with the wonderful Heather Fokken
    . One day she said she met an artist who she kinda liked. Since then, the two have married, had two wonderful children and Kyle Fokken continues to amaze us as an artist and friend.
    We were finally able to purchase a piece from Kyle. This is “The Song of the Sea.” It is the first in its series, and we absolutely love it. See more of Kyle’s art at kylefokken.com.
    We need art more than ever these days! #BidenHarris2020

  • Site Mockups

    Site Mockups

    Got a chance to test my full sized mockups onsite in downtown Mankato, MN. I still have to hear back from the City to see if they are too big but the Client and the representative of Twin Rivers Arts as well as the hockey coaches were very pleased with the designs.

    In addition to the cardboard mockups, I brought down the original clay models and they enjoyed seeing those in the round as well.

    Hopefully, the City will approve the designs and/or make some minor adjustments and I can get going on the next steps.

  • Big News!

    Big News!

    My piece "Class Act (Piggy Bank Series)" was given the "First Place Award" for Sculpture at the 2020 Minnesota State Fair! This is my first 'first place' award but I've won other awards including 2nd, 3rd and an honorable mention or two. It feels good to finally be chosen for the top slot after so many years of getting in (a prize in its own right).

    I also got a First Place Award from the Minnesota Museum of American Art and the ultimate prize - a Purchase Award! So my little 'piggy' will be on display as part of the permanent collection at the Minnesota Museum of American Art! This is my second 'museum purchase' with the first being the South Dakota Art Museum.

    This piece is part of my 'Piggy Bank Series" that examines the way that we(Americans?) invest our money. If so much of our money is being invested in guns (by extension - military arms, police, criminal, sport, fetish) what does it say about our culture? Are we so interested in defending our lives and protecting our 'stuff' that we are killing each other? For the record, I do not condone riots or wanton destruction but I support peoples' rights to protest.

    This piece was originally to be part of an anti-gun violence exhibition that got cancelled due to Covid 19. It is a critique against the violence and the semi automatic rifles that were being used to kill children in schools (Parkland School, Columbine, Sandy Hook).

    Ironically, I received notice that my piece was purchased by the MMAA the same time as news of a teenage gunman had killed two people in Wisconsin with an assault type rifle. Many people commented on social media that the piece was so timely but the truth of it is, is that this cycle keeps spinning and it was only a matter of time that the imagery and reality would collide.

    I hope that we have a world with less violence in it and specifically to end this violence in the schools and our streets.

  • New 'Dutchman' in process

    New 'Dutchman' in process

    Please ignore the 'legs'... just a minor design misstep that I thought I'd try but just isn't working out.

    This piece just got back from the sandblaster the other day so it'll need a few more coats of chemical patinas before it's complete.

    I just love the imagery of this piece and I wish that I could make/sell more of them. This one is a commission for a pair of lawyers and good friends in Milwaukee.

  • Bull's Heads Maquettes

    Bull's Heads Maquettes

    I'm working on a public art project for a client who is donating the artworks to a regional city. I won't say too much about it now, but my last zoom meeting with the clients they stated that they were "over the moon" with delight at the design.

    I am currently making a few changes requested by the client - mostly regarding increasing the overall scale and increasing the length and curvature of the horns.

    It'll be a fun project.

  • Minnesota State Fair 2020

    Minnesota State Fair 2020

    Well, due to COVID 19 the Great Minnesota Get Together has been cancelled, but fortunately for us artists, the exhibition will go on.

    My piece "Class Act (Piggy Bank Series) has been accepted into the show. This is generally a very competitive show and due to all the 2-D works submitted, wall work for a sculpture is very limited. Since this is my first wall piece that I've submitted for this show, I'm am very honored to be in it.

    The show will be open to the public at limited times and capacities but will be online via the MN State Fair website.


  • Westwood Hills Nature Center - Finalist

    Westwood Hills Nature Center  - Finalist

    Well, I was one of three finalists to make a sculptural piece for a nature center. Unfortunately, I didn't get chosen, but those are the breaks.
    On to the next one...

  • Successful Install in Downtown Mankato/Mankato Free Press

    Successful Install in Downtown Mankato/Mankato Free Press

    It was nice getting out of town to install my piece "Time to Fly (Piggy Bank Series) in downtown Mankato as part of their CityArt Sculpture Program. I've installed works here many times over the years and have really enjoyed seeing the people I've met.

    It's also nice when you get a little bit of press out of the deal too.


  • Art A Whril Special Sale!

    Art A Whril Special Sale!

    Pocket Rothko Series - Special Art A Whirl 25th Anniversary editions of paintings on panel. Just a little 'pop' of color where you need it!

    Approximate dimensions vary but the big ones are about 7" x 9" and the smaller ones are about 6.5" x 7".
    Edges are painted with complementary colors as seen in the side view photos. The final studio view photo shows the orientation of the pieces (top is on top) but you can place them any way you like.

    Prices -
    Big = $75
    Small = $65
    Flat fee including tax. Shipping is extra but pickup is free!

    Super cheap, right? I have more in process.

    Be sure to check out the rest of my work online via my website www.kylefokken.com.

    Happy Art A Whirl!!!
    Kyle Fokken Artist LLC

    Casket Arts Studio #120 (east side of building next to parking lot on 17th and Madison)
    681 17th Ave NE
    Minneapolis, MN 55412

  • Virtual Tour of the Society of Minnesota Sculptors at the MN Landscape Arboretum

    Here’s a video that was shot at Arboretum Saturday morning.

    My piece ‘Salt Pork’ is talked about at 19:20 and my two Fox pieces are talke about at 40:30. Check out all the great works in this video and online.


  • Society of Minnesota Sculptors Member Show at the Arboretum

    Society of Minnesota Sculptors Member Show at the Arboretum

    I will be showing three pieces during this annual membership show.

    Unfortunately, I won't be there for the closing reception, but I encourage everyone to checkout all the great artworks by our members in this beautiful space!

    March 12- April 5
    Closing Reception from 2 - 5 pm
    The Great Hall of the Oswald Visitor Center
    3685 Arboretum Drive
    Chanhassen, Minnesota

    Kyle Fokken

  • First Bronze Sale

    First Bronze Sale

    Yes! Finally!

    I've made a few bronzes over the years, but unfortunately none have sold. I had made a few of these small bronzes as part of a MN State Arts Board grant last year and finally sold one.

    I've still got a few more and they are one of a kind so once they're gone....

  • New pix of "Salt Pork"

    New pix of "Salt Pork"

    I finally got a chance to 'finish' this piece. I loved how the copper piggy bank part turned out, but always wanted more color and depth to the oil/chemical barrels underneath.

    So, after many coats of paint and 'kyleizing' (making it look old) it's in its final state. Now for some decent pix of it....

  • The Butterfly Dress - SOLD!

    The Butterfly Dress - SOLD!

    I figured that something was up when the curator of the City of Urbandale, Iowa sent me another image of my piece at night. f

    I now know that they are planning to purchase it and add it to their permanent collection!

    I love this piece but I'd love it to live elsewhere where other people can enjoy it.

  • Sum Pig going to Sioux Falls, SD

    Sum Pig going to Sioux Falls, SD

    My piece "Sum Pig (Piggy Bank Series)" which is currently on view in front of the Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hopkins, MN will be going to Sioux Falls, SD this spring.

    It's been a few years since I've shown in Sioux Falls and it'll be good to get back and see some old sculptor friends.

  • A little bit of press for my show in Mankato

    A little bit of press for my show in Mankato

    Here is a small snippet about my current show at the Emily Frenz Gallery in downtown Mankato, MN.

    The show has been up for a few weeks and will be having a closing reception this coming Sunday afternoon. Details are below.


    by Kyle Fokken
    Hosted by Twin Rivers Council for the Arts
    Closing Reception
    Sunday at 1 PM – 3 PM

    Emy Frentz Art Guild
    523 S 2nd St, Mankato, Minnesota


  • Science is catching up with my designs...

    Science is catching up with my designs...

    Take a look at this new robot by a Swiss tech company. It looks a lot like some of my early 'Flying Dogs"

    Here's the video of it acting as a 'Skaterbot'


  • NEMAA's 10 x 10 Benefit Exhibition - "Little Wing"

    NEMAA's 10 x 10 Benefit Exhibition - "Little Wing"

    Recently, there was a call for artist members of the North East Minneapolis Arts District (NEMAA) to donate small works - 10" x 10"- for a benefit.

    Normally, I don't like donating work since it tends to drive down the relative value of the rest of the artwork, but this being a benefit for an organization that I've been involved with since 1996, I thought it would be good to participate. I also thought it'd be a time to try out something new.

    So this piece 'Little Wing' is the first of a number of small wall mounted works that I am making that will be more decorative than 'deep' art. The idea is to get more work in the hands of average people by keeping the size down, wall mounted and lower cost. I'm going to have a number of them ready for 'First Thursday' and 'Open Casket' events coming up in the next couple of months. I'm also working on a number of small abstract painting pieces that may or may not include relief elements.

    BTW, I was told this piece sold in the first half hour of the event and that the event raised over $15k for NEMAA - all works were 35 bucks each. I suspect that they'll have another event like it again...

    Check it out!

  • Changing Planes - Anything will fly if you throw it hard enough

    Changing Planes - Anything will fly if you throw it hard enough

    I forgot to add this to my website in time for the opening but if you'd still like to check it out, it'll be up until October 16th.

    It was a great reception with a lot of people and the show looks great.

  • Bench Details

    Bench Details

    Just some details of the 'Sit A Minute' art bench.

  • Sit A Minute is installed!

    Sit A Minute is installed!

    My bench is finally installed!

    I think it turned out beautifully and the location in Quarry Park looks great too!

    A really nice surprise was seeing how well the shadows came through underneath the bench. I designed the perforations between the gears of the seat deck as a way to see the underlying structure of the 'Minneapolis City Hall Clock' component (each black bar is a minute marker) but was so pleasantly surprised by the graphic quality of the shadows. It's all part of what I call the 'joy of discovery' that I like to instill in my work.

    If you get the chance, give it a sit!

  • Eagan Art Bench progress - Sit A Minute

    Eagan Art Bench progress - Sit A Minute

    I've been working hard in this heat to get these welded components ready for the sandblaster. Here are a couple of the 'clock hand' style legs that will be going underneath the bench. I've got a lot of sanding to do on them, but it shouldn't be too hard.

    I've also got some other parts welded together to adhere them to the cast iron 'minute ring' (of the MPLS City Hall Clock). After everything is sandblasted, these components will be painted and assembled with the stainless steel (clock gears) seat deck.

    Looking forward to seeing it done!

  • New mini bronzes

    New mini bronzes

    As part of my MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, I made a bunch of mini bronzes along with the bigger ones. I really dig these little guys and hopefully collectors will too!

    I made this one a base for a quick photo and entry into the MN State Fair Fine Arts competition. Hope it gets in!

  • "Song of the Flying Dutchman - Over the Moon" in Hutchinson

    "Song of the Flying Dutchman - Over the Moon" in Hutchinson

    I was fortunate to show this piece during Art A Whirl but now it's on lease to the the City of Hutchinson. It's located in River Front Park next to a walking path by the river.

    Let's hope it finds a good home there.

  • Art A Whril 2019

    Art A Whril 2019

    Had a good number of people stop in for Art A Whirl this year.

    It was rainy and cold but the space was warmed by all who came.

  • "Sum Pig" Installed in Hopkins, MN

    "Sum Pig" Installed in Hopkins, MN

    This is a bronze and stainless steel piece I installed in Hopkins ArtStreet Sculpture Program

  • Bronze Pig

    Bronze Pig

    Well, it's not done yet but it's cast. This is part of a piece that I'm making for my 2018 MN State Arts Board Artist's Initiative grant. I got some funds to help me explore making animals in bronze and this is the first one of that lot. I've been working under Bronze sculptor Nicholas Legeros learning all the tricks of the trade casting a plaster mold and silicon molds with mother molds, working in wax, gating and spruing it and casting and finishing it. It's a lot of work but a great experience and it really gives one a lot of respect for Nick and the process.

    I lucked out and this piece was chosen by the City of Hopkins for their 'ArtStreet Public Art Program' in downtown Hopkins. I've got a week to finish up and install it so I better hop to it!

  • Successful dropoff of 'The Butterfly Dress' in Urbandale, IA

    Successful dropoff of 'The Butterfly Dress' in Urbandale, IA

    I just got back from Urbandale Iowa where I dropped off my piece "The Butterfly Dress" in the Urbandale Art Park.

    Great staff to work with and I hope that someone there loves it enough to purchase it!

  • New Public Art Commission for the City of Eagan!

    New Public Art Commission for the City of Eagan!

    Well, I finally scored a 'win' this week. My design was selected by the City of Eagan, MN for their Artists's Benches Public Art Project.

    It will be going up sometime between now and mid July and will be located in Quarry Park in Eagan, MN

  • Runner up...groan...

    Runner up...groan...

    Sometimes you get what you want, sometimes you don't...Sometimes it's a mix.
    I found out last week that my proposal for Silverwood Park was rejected. I proposed the piece "SpaceBath!" for this lovely park and it was between myself and another artist.
    This piece was a bit of a longshot anyway because it approaches the concept of water conservation obliquely versus literally. I thought about the talk about global warming, explorations to Mars and even Trump's "SpaceForce" and it boils down to the mere fact that we are orbiting a star on a rock through space and it's the only one that is perfect for us. The idea of finding another place to live while breaking our current home is as ludicrous as 'an astronaut taking a bath in bathtub'.

    As funny and silly as it is, I do think it's poignant and iconic. On the other hand, I knew it would take a lot of time to make and in some materials that I don't have a lot of experience with. I've got plenty of other things to do, but it's still a bummer coming in second with no prize...

    BTW the other sculptor who got the commission is really good and I'm so happy that his work will be in my neighborhood!

  • Sweet Art Salon

    Sweet Art Salon

    I will be part of this show opening this Saturday evening from 6-10 pm.

    Sweet Art Salon
    Saturday at 6 PM – 10 PM
    3rd Floor Gallery
    Northrup King Building
    1500 Jackson St NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413

  • Eagan Art Benches Finalist

    I'm a finalist for an artist designed bench for the City of Eagan.

    I have to do a site visit and decide which park I'm going to design for.

    I've got some ideas but I want to get 'the lay of the land' first. Usually, I look at where the light is coming in, where the trees are and any other natural features like landforms or water.

    It also helps to see how people will interface with the work and the park. How do they approach the bench - is there a walking path or is it just grass? Is there a playground nearby? Will parents with kids be using the bench, elderly, dog owners or teenagers?

    The more ephemeral elements are 'what does the neighborhood value'? Who are the gatekeepers/decision makers? How do I sell my work without selling out?

  • Silverwood Park - SpaceBath!

    Silverwood Park - SpaceBath!

    I recently found out that I'm a finalist for a small public art commission for Silverwood Park in Northeast Minneapolis.

    It's a pleasant lake and park that has a great nature center, gallery and lots of great programs.

    I don't typically do artwork related to nature directly, but a lot of my work is related to the damage we cause as humans or pointed conversations on our use of water and other resources. So...I didn't want to make a work featuring plants and animals but rather technology.

    So I came up with an astronaut in a bathtub...

    Sometimes using the opposite concept can reflect on the actual .With all the talk about 'Space Forces' and exploration, we really have to be reminded that we are on a rock moving through space and that is also part of our natural world. We need to take care of our planet and protect it. An astronaut trying to clean up in a bathtub highlights this fact - we can't bath in space so we need to protect the water we have.

    Wish me luck!

  • John Taylor!

    John Taylor!

    I woke up this morning to a message from one of my favorite mixed media artists - John Taylor!

    He sent me a note via my website to have me link to his new site www.FolkArtShips.net (vs ".com"). I thought it was pretty cool that he thought to contact me and take a look at my work. As a mixed media sculptor, I appreciate his insight, praise and critique of a few of my pieces.

    He's now moved to the Philippines and looking for new experiences in Asia.

    Check out his work online via his new website "www.FolkArtShips.net".

  • New Watertower Lamp!

    New Watertower Lamp!

    This is a gift for my parents for Christmas. I've been meaning to make them one for a number of years and finally got around to it.

    This piece is also a test for a hopeful new direction. I've been seeing lighting everywhere in public art these days and thought I'd try out a couple of small pieces myself to see how to design with it. I've made a few of these lamps with the light shooting out the bottom of the watertank but since this one (a replica of the the one that used to be in my hometown) has a rounded underside of the tank I had to come up with a new way to light it. I thought it'd be fun to play around with some LED strip lighting and I think it turned out pretty well for how simple it is. Obviously, as I progress down this path, I'll have to use a more robust lighting system but for now this works.

    I hope they like it!

  • More rejections...

    More rejections...

    It's always a matter of ups and downs in this business...things have been down lately...

    I submitted a few pieces for a local show which I had been in a few times in the past and even won an award. No such luck this year but at least this gets me into a 'consolation show' which has some prize money attached. I'm reworking my 'Wonder Wheel' piece in response to this. Lots of improvements in the center axis, some changes in the proportions of it and surface decorations. The biggest change will be the addition of new seats and coloured lights! Hopefully, it'll be a big hit down the road.

    The other rejections are a 'waitlisting' for a bronze piece I'm working on for a public temporary sculpture show. I haven't been outright rejected so there's still time... The other show was a pure shot in the dark. I submitted for a show in CA that only accepts artists from neighboring states...it was late and it was only 15 bucks to apply...I just have to get out of this crap market....

  • St. Cloud State University Alumni Exhibition

    St. Cloud State University Alumni Exhibition

    I'm happy to say that I'm one of a number of well known artists who will be exhibiting their work during Homecoming Week at SCSU. It's the 150th Anniversary of the University and I'm glad to be a part of it.

    My piece "The Jack in the Basket" (Figurehead Series) was just dropped off today to be in the St. Cloud State University's Alumni Show. The opening reception will be on Friday, October 19th during the Homecoming Art Crawl. The show opens on October 3rd and runs thru October 28th.
    The location of the show is at the Paramount Center for the Arts and at the
    Gallery Saint Germain
    912 West Saint Germain Street – Saint Cloud.

    I don't have all the details, but you can contact the Paramount Center for the Arts -http://www.paramountarts.org/…/st-cloud-state-alumni-art-s…/
    or just show up sometime after 5 pm on Friday, October 19th.

    This year marks St. Cloud State University's 150th Anniversary and I'm happy to be a part of it.

    Come checkout my work and all the fabulous Alumni! See the list of artists below.

    Ryan Aesen
    Jael Bendt
    Mary Bruno
    Gayle Cole
    Holly DeGrote
    Duane Ditty
    Eric Evenson
    George Farrah
    Kyle Fokken
    Jonathan Gomez Whitney
    Kristoffer Holmgren
    Essma Imady
    Jamie Lang
    Qiuwen Li
    Jeff Lund
    Dale Malner
    Robert Mattson
    Dan Mondloch
    Rachelle Netland
    Marjorie Nilssen
    Andrew Nordin
    Anthony Pessler
    Jesse Peterson
    Monica Reed
    Chris Rowley
    Mic Stowell
    Michael Strand
    Josh Stulen
    Tianxi Wang
    Blake Weld
    Tom Wixo
    Matt Yaeger

    "Part of St. Cloud State’s Creative Art Series! The Alumni Art Show is coordinated by the School of the Arts, in conjunction with the SCSU Alumni Association, Office of Alumni Relations, Paramount Center for the Arts and the South Side University Neighborhood."

  • New commission completed!

    New commission completed!

    Nice little commission for a lovely couple celebrating their anniversary.

    It's always a joy to make work for people who are happy together.

  • MPLSART.ORG Interview from 2016

    MPLSART.ORG Interview from 2016

    Here's an article that was published on MPLSART.org a couple of years ago. It's from when I first moved into the Casket Arts Building in 2016.

  • Waseca Art Center Exhibit

    Waseca Art Center Exhibit

    I'll be exhibiting a number of recent and classic works at the Waseca Art Center in the next few weeks.
    This is a fairly new space and is fresh and vibrant and I'm very pleased to bring my works to this new audience!

    The show opens today and the opening is on Friday evening at 5 pm - 7 pm.

    I hope you'll have a chance to checkout my works in the Beckman Gallery and the works of Marjie Laisure in the adjacent Lobby Gallery.

    See the details down below.

    I hope to see you there!

    Waseca Art Center
    200 North State Street
    Waseca, MN 56093

    September 11--October 12: Beckmann Gallery: Kyle Fokken, steel sculpture

    Lobby Gallery: Marjie Laisure, paintings
    Opening reception 5-7 pm


    The Waseca Art Center offers the opportunity for all people to understand and value the arts. Through exhibits and various programs, we present a welcoming and diverse experience that encourages questioning, creativity, and critical thinking.


    Tuesday through Friday: 11:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m.

    Saturday: 12--3 p.m.

    Call the Art Center for off hour tour information.

    WAC Director:
    Rachel James: racheljames@wasecaartscouncil.org

    Administrative Assistant:

    Stacie Flaten | stacieflaten@wasecaartscouncil.org

  • My 'Fair' Lady...

    My 'Fair' Lady...

    Well another year has passed at the Minnesota State Fair. The 2018 Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition is now closed.

    It's always a fun show to be a part of and generally the odds are against you in getting your work in. Someone stated that it's about 1 in 15 artworks make it through both juried rounds to make it into the show. I've been pretty lucky by being able to get in for a number of years. No awards this year, but I was very happy that so many people were able to enjoy my 'Butterfly Queen" and I hope that it make a positive impression on them.

    Nevertheless, it's always a little bittersweet seeing the show come down since it also means the end of summer and that winter will soon be here again.


  • BEST IN SHOW! SMS Annual Member Show at the Phipps

    BEST IN SHOW! SMS Annual Member Show at the Phipps

    This was a complete surprise!

    I came back from Eau Claire WI after repairing a piece that was on loan there and stepped into the awards ceremony at the Phipps Center for the Arts.

    I was kind of dreading showing this piece there since I just didn't think it would be looked at with the right kinds of jurors especially since it's not a particularly beautiful piece. But I like it and I guess the judges did too.

  • More great press for Top Dog!

    More great press for Top Dog!

    I got a call from local WCCO (CBS) news anchor Amelia Santaniello asking me how to pronounce my name. It took me aback since I wasn't expecting it and I was in the process of cooking dinner.

    It was a brief call for a brief segment of approximately 20 seconds, but it was still pretty cool that they were able to show film of it and talk about it on the 6'O'clock News.

  • Good press for Top Dog and the 29th Street Public Art Project!

    Good press for Top Dog and the 29th Street Public Art Project!

    I got some nice press today for my piece "Top Dog"!


  • Art - A- Whirl 2108

    Art - A- Whirl 2108

    Yes, it's that time of year again!

    I will be opening up my studio again this year and showing off some of my larger outdoor pieces that have been on loan for a number of years.

    I'll be also talking about my project "Top Dog" and "Wrench Bench" that will soon be installed on 29th Ave near the Lyndale/Lake Street intersection just east of Uptown Minneapolis.

    Hope you can come and hangout!


    Studio 120 Casket Arts Building
    681 17th Street NE
    Northeast Minneapolis Arts District
    enter via the double wooden doors on the east side of the building adjacent to the parking lot on 17th and Madison.

  • Top Dog Progress - after sandblasting

    Top Dog Progress - after sandblasting
  • Top Dog Progress

    Top Dog Progress

    Well, it looks like things are finally coming together.

    My Top Dog sculpture is hitting the home stretch. Here are a couple of pix of the piece before sandblasting and after. Today the piece went to be galvanized and the final step before installation will be the fancy new coat of paint over the entire piece.

    The cement pier is in place and the vertical 'linkage arm' pieces have been cast. All that's needed there is the side plates and final assembly of the linkage arm prior to delivery.

    Sooo looking forward to being done with this piece....

    At least the Wrench Bench is already installed.

  • The Plains Art Museum Spring Gala

    Yeah, my "Coffee Tin Battleship" found a new home!

  • Foxes for sale!

    Foxes for sale!

    My daughter is really into foxes lately and I decided to make a Christmas ornament for her.

    I got hooked on the form and decided to make a few more.

    Take a look!

  • Foxes for sale!

  • Balsam Arts Exhibition - Gone Fishin'

    Balsam Arts Exhibition - Gone Fishin'

    I've been showing some works out of town lately.

    My friends Michael and Jean bought a building in Balsam Lake, WI about an hour and a half northeast of the Metro area. It's a sweet building where they have a new gallery - Balsam Arts Gallery and show a variety of artwork from around the region. They also offer classes (Michael's a great painter) by hosting artists around the area.

    I was part of the first batch of artists showing there and still have a few works there. I've already sold one of my 'Watertower Lamps' and I'm working on another one as a commission.

    Here's a couple of examples of them - the Balsam Lake one is not completed in this photo and is also the one that sold.

    Check them out online - https://balsamarts.com/

  • The Plains Art Museum Spring Gala

    The Plains Art Museum Spring Gala

    Now you can own an original "Fokken" and help out a great organization to boot!

    "Coffee Tin Battleship"

    I was asked this winter to donate a piece for this show and I thought it'd be a good idea to support a museum with a great following in a great community. I've had the opportunity to do a residency at the University of North Dakota in Fargo and was 'wowed' by all the great activity happening there.

    Please take a moment to bid on my piece or one of your faves. Here's the link.


  • Going Fourth - I got another MN State Arts Board Grant!

    Yes, I'm 4 for 4 in my applications for grants for the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist's Initiative Grant for 2018.

    I found out a week ago but have been too busy to post it here.

    Anyway, here's the description - I've been wanting to work with bronze for quite a while and these funds will help me do that. It will no means make me rich, but it is a nice chance to work with a mentor and feel free to play around with a few ideas and hopefully make more sales or get more public art commissions.

    Kyle L. Fokken, Minneapolis
    Fokken will be exploring mold making, bronze casting, and fabrication techniques to make a new body of works based on animals. He will purchase a TIG welder and hire a professional bronze sculptor as a mentor.

  • Re-Leased! The Dutchman is staying in Mankato for another year!

    Re-Leased! The Dutchman is staying in Mankato for another year!

    The Twin Rivers Arts Council enjoyed my piece so much they wanted to lease it for another year!

    It's currently located outside the Emily Frenz Gallery in downtown Mankato.

  • Wrench Bench is open for business!

    Wrench Bench is open for business!

    I just installed my "Wrench Bench" for the City of Minneapolis Public Art '29th Street Public Art Project' today. I designed this 'curved locomotive wrench' styled bench as an homage to all the people who worked on the Milwaukee Road Railroad system. This is one of the railroads that built Minneapolis and St. Paul by providing transportation of Midwestern passengers, culture and goods to the rest of the world.
    This is the first of two pieces I will be installing on 29th Street and are my first public art pieces for the City of Minneapolis.
    Checkout my 'Wrench Bench' and the other great works in the Lyndale Lake Neighborhood (Jungle Theater, The Greenway, Herkimer Brewing, The Lime Building).
    Kyle Fokken, Top Dog, and Wrench Bench;
    Gail Katz-James, Flour Sack Rack;
    Niko Kubota, Roaming Rails; and
    Sara Udvig, Rules of Play.
    All works are located between Bryant and Lyndale Avenues on 29th Street South.
    Special thanks to the Fabulous Fabrication Folks at SIGNMINDS AND SOLID METAL ARTS, the City of Minneapolis Public Art, it's Public Works Department, and of course Mary Altman and Ann Godfrey.

  • The Butterfly Dress is going to Eau Claire!

    The Butterfly Dress is going to Eau Claire!

    I just found out that my piece "The Butterfly Dress" is on it's way to Eau Claire, WI for their Sculpture Walk.

    The piece is currently in Mankato, MN for their CityArt Sculpture Tour and it will move this spring to Eau Claire.

    Hopefully, it'll win an award while it's there.

  • Second Place for sculpture at the Minnesota State Fair!

    Second Place for sculpture at the Minnesota State Fair!

    Happy to say that I won Second Place for the sculpture division of the Minnesota State Fair!
    It is highly competitive and many people apply but few get in. I think my category typically only accepts 25 out of 45 or so finalists and typically more than 200 people apply for this category.

    Part of what winning an award here is that there is so much great work in our state and it is very competitive. I have been in this show a number of times in the last 15 years or so and have won many awards but none as high as Second Place!

    Checkout my piece "The Jack in the Basket" (Figurehead Series) and all the other great artwork our state has to offer.

  • Minnesota State Fair!

    Minnesota State Fair!

    Well it's that time of year again in Minnesota - time for the Great Minnesota Get Together - aka the Minnesota State Fair!
    Yes, it's a big deal, one of the biggest and most well attended in the US.
    Along with that is the highly competitive Fine Arts Show. Yes, there's are a log of paintings of farm animals, cute children with hats but there is a lot of really good work that doesn't fit into those genres.
    I've been fortunate to get my work in a number of times, won a a lot of awards and gotten some sales too. Most of my stuff is a little off kilter and weird, but I have to say that this year's piece takes the cake. I entered in my piece "The Jack in the Basket" which features a snake in a basket with the head of a human skull. The skull is wearing a hat made out of a Winnebago pickup camper with a large satellite dish on top. The piece references the 'Don't Tread on Me' snake and this deathly obsession we have with cable news which creates a 'trailer park mentality' in grabbing the juiciest soundbites as fact - on both the left and the right.
    Frankly, I'm surprised that it made it past the first judging so to see it actually in the show will be quite interesting to see how it's received.
    If you get a chance, take in the show. The 2017 fair runs Aug. 24 – Sept. 4. Check it out!

  • The Satiric Versus - New Carved Figuretive Works

    The Satiric Versus - New Carved Figuretive Works

    I'll be featuring some new works focusing on woodcarving techniques that are influenced by art history and political cartoons from the last 300 years.

    This is all due to a generous "Artist's Initiative Grant" I received in 2016 from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

    I hope that you can checkout all the different pieces and enjoy seeing all the various artwork, music, foods and beverages that will be in place
    “during the Art-A-Whirl® [weekend/event/exhibition]

    “Art-A-Whirl® is an open studio tour in Northeast Minneapolis showcasing the work of NEMAA members. Art-A-Whirl® is a federally-registered trademark of NEMAA.”

  • 'Best in Show - Other Media"!

    'Best in Show - Other Media"!

    I got "Best In Show" in the "Other Media/Non Bronze" category for Mankato's City Art Sculpture Tour. I've shown here a few times before and I've won a Third Place Award, but it's nice to be on top again!
    In the spirit of 'paying it forward' I did donate a big chunk of the award towards various arts non profit galleries and organizations that I support during Give to the Max Day.
    Another nice thing is that the Twin Rivers Art Council has decided to lease the piece and place it in front of their offices for another year.

    Hopefully, some one will buy it soon. It's a great piece and it really should have a permanent home.

  • 'Best in Show - Other Media"!

    'Best in Show - Other Media"!

    I got "Best In Show" in the "Other Media/Non Bronze" category for Mankato's City Art Sculpture Tour. I've shown here a few times before and I've won a Third Place Award, but it's nice to be on top again!
    In the spirit of 'paying it forward' I did donate a big chunk of the award towards various arts non profit galleries and organizations that I support during Give to the Max Day.
    Another nice thing is that the Twin Rivers Art Council has decided to lease the piece and place it in front of their offices for another year.

    Hopefully, some one will buy it soon. It's a great piece and it really should have a permanent home.

  • The Butterfly Dress has landed!

    The Butterfly Dress has landed!

    I installed my new piece "The Butterfly Dress" about a week and a half ago in St. Cloud, MN for their first ever Sculpture Walk!

    Here's a pic of my college friend Bob and his daughter Ava to give you some idea of scale. The piece is constructed out of steel in a cage-like formation and then clad with painted aluminum. The actual butterflies are made out of Light Inference Coated Stainless Steel which makes them iridescent in the light changing colour from burgundy blue to a peacock green blue.

    Here's my statement about the piece:

    For “The Butterfly Dress”

    “The Butterfly Dress” is about beauty, loss and transformation. I made this piece as a way to remember all the fun times with my little girl and how she’s growing and transforming into a more beautiful and interesting person.

    The imagery of the piece is my daughter’s school uniform slowly transforming into butterflies. There is sadness for the loss of childhood, but there’s beauty in what is to come.

    Checkout my work and vote for your favorite piece!


  • New Studio for the Largest Art Studio Crawl in the USA!

    New Studio for the Largest Art Studio Crawl in the USA!

    I finally got a new, self contained studio. I'm in Studio 120 in the Casket Arts Building in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. I got another MN State Arts Board Artist's Initiative Grant to rent it and to start making a new body of work. I really needed to get a taller studio to make bigger work and I'll be working on life sized 'Figurehead' sculptures. 'Figureheads' are the carved forms of mermaids, monsters, kings and maidens on the fronts of sailing ships. I'll be combining my mixed media vehicle pieces with human figures to explore a new aesthetic. I'll keep you posted...

    Meantime, checkout the pic with all the people in my space this past weekend.

  • 29th Street Public Art Project Open House - April 5th at LIME

    Well, I can't disclose too much at this time, but the thing that has been taking up most of my time (aside from constantly applying for grants, museum shows and public art) is this project for 29th Street in South Minneapolis. I'm one of 5 finalists vying for 2 possible artworks in this recently hip and trendy neighborhood.
    As part of this project, I've gotten to know a number of wonderful artists and their work and it will be very interesting to see how everyone approached the 'woonerf - a Dutch term for 'shared street' - or 'shared street' - how we're referring to it. Anyway, the concept is to raise the level of the road up to sidewalk level to make a large 'plaza' style of street where people can walk, bicycle, have a pet on a leash and even drive. The speed limit will be very slow to allow for safe coexistence and will be mostly for access to the multiple housing and parking lots adjacent to the street. The idea is to create more of a 'back yard' for the people in the area and make a spot for festivals and farmer's markets, art fairs etc to occur. Currently, the street is a glorified alley with a lot of potholes and a bent steel fence guarding against a steep slide into the Midtown Greenway Bikeway.
    If you'd like to see my proposal, models and drawings I suggest you come out for the open house. See the info below.

    West 29th Street

    Tuesday, April 5, 2016
    Marché, 2904 Lyndale Ave S


    Join us for a public open house to introduce designs by five emerging Twin Cities' public artists for West 29th Street between Lyndale and Bryant Avenues. This event features a drop-in open format. Come by, meet the artists and provide feedback on their designs.

    For more information on this project, visit http://www.minneapolismn.gov/dca/WCMSP-173461. Para asistencia 612-673-2700 – Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 – Haddii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.

    City of Minneapolis
    Art in Public Places
    Community Planning and Economic Development

    ARTE PÚBLICO en West 29th Street (la Calle 29 West)
    Se les invita a una Reunión Comunitaria

    El martes, 5 de abril, 2016
    de 6:00 a 7:30 pm
    en el restaurant Marché, 2904 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis


    Acompáñenos en esta reunión comunitaria para introducir los diseños de cinco artistas emergentes de las Twin Cities (Ciudades Gemelas) para el proyecto de renovación de la West 29th Street, lentre las avenidas Lyndale y Bryant. Este evento informal ofrece la oportunidad para que miembros de la comunidad conozcan a los artistas y compartan sus opiniones sobre los diseños. Dos de los cinco artistas serán seleccionados para incorporar sus proyectos de arte público en la renovación de la West 29th Street. La participación de la comunidad es valiosa.

    Para obtener más información sobre este proyecto, por favor visite al http://www.minneapolismn.gov/dca/WCMSP-173461. Para asistencia 612-673-2700 – Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 – Haddii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.

    City of (Ciudad de) Minneapolis
    Art in Public Places (Arte en Sitios Público)
    Community Planning and Economic Development (Oficina de Planificación Comunitaria y Desarrollo Económico)

  • Upcoming outdoor exhibits

    I'll be playing the annual reshuffle of outdoor sculpture again this spring. I'll be showing work in the cities of Stillwater, Mankato, and Bemidji and I'm working on submitting a new piece for St. Cloud. These next few weeks will be very, very busy.

  • Third Place in Sculpture!

    Third Place in Sculpture!

    I have two pieces in the Arts In Harmony International Juried Exhibition in Elk River, MN. I received a 3rd Place in Sculpture for my piece "The Rising Tide". The piece is comprised of a pleasure sailboat sailing on top of a 'gusher' of oil coming from an old fashioned oil derrick. It's probably me at the least subtle and a more overt political piece so I surprised to see that it had one an award in the ex-urbs of the metro.

    The show will be up through the end of March.

  • Phipps Center for the Arts

    Phipps Center for the Arts

    I'll be exhibiting some new work plus some old favorites at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, WI.

    I've been in a few group shows there in the past and this is my first 'two person' show there. I'll be showing in Gallery Two with this awesome painter Sherri Dahl who does these vibrant paintings of junked bicycles and other types of cast away items.

    The title of my show is called "Flotsam and Jetsam - For Ships and Giggles'. Yes, it's a silly title, but I didn't want to go with 'colored forms and abstractions'...blah...

    I've got most of the work done, but I'm still scrambling on getting one other done. Should be fun!

  • Hat Trick!

    I am happy to say that I've just been awarded my third Minnesota State Arts Board Artist's Initiative Grant!

    It's my third application and third awarding of this grant in a row, so it's a 'Hat Trick' as they say in 'Hockeyspeak'!
    I've been spending a lot of time on the computer lately working on a number of proposals this summer and fall for public art, so I haven't been able to be in the studio so much. What's nice about this grant is that I'll be renting a studio specifically to work on wood carving. I'm going to be working on 3-6 pieces that I'm calling my 'figurehead series' based on the carved wooden figures that would sometimes be affixed to the prow of a sailing ship. I'm gonna have a little fun with them as well since I'll be incorporating some of my mixed media toy type sculptures into them and looking to European and American cartoons from the 18th and 19th centuries as a added element.

    Other than one piece, this will be my first attempts at making figurative sculpture so it'll be a big challenge to see if I can make it all work.

  • Showing with a world class sculptor!

    I'll be showing off some new work during Art-A-Whirl in the studio of Michael Speaker - Studio 402 B in the Northrop King Building.

    Read more about our event!
    Please join Sculptors Michael Speaker and Kyle Fokken to where cello’s become ships, rhino’s become furniture, sports heroes turn to bronze and everything in between!
    Michael Speaker is recent transplant from to Minneapolis from New York, He graduated with an MFA in painting but found himself working as a scenic artist/special effects sculptor/model-maker in the LA motion picture business. While there he worked on multiple movies and most notably designed and led the construction team for the Firefox Airplane in for the Clint Eastwood film FIREFOX. Since then Michael has thrived as a sculptor for over thirty years showing in galleries and museums and private collections in the US, Japan and Europe. Notable collectors like Frederick Weisman, Michael Jordan, and Nike are just a few. He’s also designed high-end gifts available from Neiman Marcus’s Christmas Catalog. Currently he is working on two incredible commissions that will be on view during Art-A-Whirl. One is a life-size Rhinoceros desk based on an Albrecht Durer Print and twelve bronze portrait plaques of major sports heroes. You can even compare your hand with Michael Jordan's Hand (in bronze) during the event!

    Joining Michael is noted local sculptor Kyle Fokken. Kyle’s award winning work is known for its mixed media toy inspired ‘mash-ups’. Kyle has also shown work nationally and internationally in Canada and China and his work was recently featured in the book ‘Traveling DEVICE’ put out by DEVICE Gallery, Los Angeles showcasing some of the world’s top mixed media sculptors. Kyle’s work is featured in the permanent collection of the South Dakota Art Museum and as the backdrop behind President Barak Obama at the Union Depot Railroad Station in St. Paul. He was also an artist featured in TPT Channel 2’s Emmy winning series “Minnesota Original”. Kyle is currently working on a large ‘toy tank’ sculpture that will be unveiled during Art-A-Whirl on the park grounds in front of the Northrop King Building – the ‘King of the Crawl’.
    Studio 402 B of the Northrop King Building, 1500 Jackson Street NE, Minneapolis, MN.
    Art-A-Whirl’s 20th Anniversary celebration happens on Friday, May 15th (5-10 pm), Saturday May 16th (noon-6pm) and Sunday May17th (noon – 8 pm). 612-598-6647 Kyle or 845-401-4287 Mike

  • Finalist for Forecast/Landmark Center Public Art Project

    Just found out today that I am one of two finalists that is vying for a commission via FORECAST PUBLIC ART and Landmark Center, St. Paul. I was one of 10 artists invited to apply and now it's down to me and one other.
    This should be a fun project if I get it since Landmark Center (a former 8th District Courthouse) has been home to an anti war senator, trials of gangster, classical music, and even a former intern at the Minnesota Museum of American Art (that's me!).

  • After the reception...

    Well, the reception at the Hudson Hospital was pretty much how I thought it'd be...a smattering of volunteers, friends and family members and not much else. It would really be nice if there were more active members of the hospital there to show whether they really like the work or not. I'm glad we were there for their entertainment...

    I appreciate the sentiment of having a reception, but the show space for my work and much of the other artists is so spread out I really wish they would have had fewer artists and maybe a more concentrated area. But that's the point...they want artwork on their walls all over the place. At least they had coffee and cookies...
    Well, the show comes down in another week so I'll be trekking over there to pick it all up. Maybe something will sell...or not.

  • Another Award and some reasonably good press...

    I won 3rd Place in the sculpture division of the Wintertide Biennial Exhibition. My piece "Airway to Heaven" was one of 32 pieces of art out of over 400 pieces submitted. I was happy to be in it, but even happier to win an award! I also got mentioned in some press about the show - a rare occasion in the Star Tribune. Here's the link and another for the website The Examiner. Neither is glowing about my work, but it's still good that they mentioned me. One reviewer gave the show 5/5 stars!
    So it can't be all bad.

    Winter blooms on the Minneapolis gallery scene

    Article by: MARY ABBE , Star Tribune
    Updated: January 29, 2015 - 12:50 PM

    Two galleries try to revitalize the Minneapolis art scene with a biennial and youthful ideas.

    All businesses, even art galleries, need a periodic jump-start to get things hopping again. Enter the “Wintertide” biennial at Public Functionary gallery and the “Common Oasis” show at Gamut Gallery. What the shows and their young venues lack in polish, they make up for with moxie and winning charm.

    “Wintertide” is bigger, more ambitious and stylishly presented in Public Functionary’s handsome warehouse in northeast Minneapolis. It features just 32 pieces — paintings, photos, sculpture and mixed-media compositions — by 32 regional artists, most living in the surrounding neighborhood. They were selected from 479 pieces entered by 180 artists.

    The biennial was initiated by the Cedarwoods Foundation, a Minnesota nonprofit, in collaboration with the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA) and the gallery. The foundation also put up $10,500 in prize money to entice top-quality artists to compete.

    The selection ranges from pure abstractions to photo-realist and slightly surrealistic paintings, from landscapes to documentary photos, and from free-form designs to obsessively detailed folk-style sculpture. It resembles a more rigorously edited mix of the best of the State Fair art show. In fact, keen observers will recognize several pieces from the fair and other metro area shows, notably Kyle Fokken’s folksy “Airway to Heaven” sculpture, which adds airplane wings to a steepled church, and Dean Lucker’s “Moon Hospital,” an elaborate mechanical scene — complete with miniature lights and movable parts — in which three gloomy moons are being nursed and repaired in a field hospital.

    Wintertide: Biennial Juried Art Exhibit

    Caveat Emptor... A juried show by it's nature is a subjective grab bag collection of works chosen not as impartially as one might think. This idea is old hat for artists and exhibitors, but it’s important to point out for the casual patrons of the arts. The word objectivity is bantered around much too liberally, especially in the juried format, and should be abandoned. The motif of money rears it’s head when awarding prizes, and just because something is popular doesn’t always mean it’s good. A glance at Hollywoods weekend box-office for American Sniper is a testament to this. That being said, the NEMAA Wintertide show at Public Functionary is as good as the juried genre gets.
    Erik Ritter
    View all 5 photos
    Michael Speaker's Trojan Suit
    Erik Ritter

    Director Tricia Khutorestsky’s excellent introduction in the show’s catalog displays a deep understanding of a juried show’s strengths and weaknesses, stating, “Selected works show us potential in a sampling of art, hand-picked as notable in this moment…” The wall to wall attendees at the Saturday night opening are the product of an art hype machine firing on all cylinders. The inclusion of the high quality, and even more importantly affordable, catalog for visitors was a great choice. Public Functionary has hit it’s stride as the place to go and show art in the Twin Cities.

    Wintertide walks the tightrope at Public Functionary

    Walking a tightrope…
    A specter of craft and kitsch subtly haunts some of the jurors selections. In the fine arts, kitsch is not always a crime, but still a concern. Dean Lucker’s exquisitely detailed kinetic puppetry Moon Hospital is a work of undeniable craftsmanship, but displays an all too familiar children's book mythology. A sprinkling of contemporary pixie dust might release the shackles of victorian automata, and give it the chance to evolve into new areas. Easier said than done.

    Airway to Heaven is another solid work from mulit-media artist Kyle Fokken. Anyone familiar with his pieces have come to expect this from Fokken, and this style comes as easy for him as shooting fish in a barrel, maybe to a fault. Again, an object displaying great craftsmanship, but teetering a line of Mad Libs punnery.

  • Wintertide / Hudson Hospital / Sartell Paper mill/ Grant stuff

    Well, I've been busy but not producing much.

    I've got a show of my work in a group show at the Hudson Hospital in Hudson Wisconsin. I don't expect much out of it - it's just their way of avoiding buying artwork and if they do, it probably won't be mine anyway. I'd love to have my work in a children's or young adult's wing, but it seems that my work has too many physical and psychological sharp edges for these institutions. Well I can dream, right?
    I look at it as good storage for the work - better being seen than in the studio.
    I've also been working on my maquette for the Sartell Paper Mill which needs to get done soon and of course a working on my MN State Arts Board Grant project with ordering printed tin from China - more on that later.
    In the meantime, I've got work in a 'new and exclusive' juried show here in 'Nordeast' Minneapolis. It's a new venture for the North East Minneapolis Arts Association called 'Wintertide'. It's meant as an additional show to benefit members of NEMAA (artists who work in Nordeast). In this case, the added benefit is the chance to show in Public Functionary - an art gallery specializing in artists from out of town, and the opportunity to win some serious cash prizes. So, fingers crossed everyone...

  • Schleprock...

    Well, looks like things have been down a lot lately. I've gotten rejected from a major grant, a 'placemaking' spot and even an outdoor sculpture show. Sales have been slow lately too. I do have to remember that I had a big spring and that if what goes up can go down, so what's down can go up as well.
    In the meantime, I've been showing work at Doug Flanders Contemporary Art in Minneapolis, and have a show at the Hudson Hospital, in Hudson, WI.
    I'm also currently working on my grant project and a reworking of an older piece to submit for a show in a couple of weeks.
    Things are looking up!

  • Luxury Home Tour

    Thanks to the fine folks at Flanders and Associates Gallery, I am exhibiting my piece "The Rising Tide" - a sailboat sailing on top of a 'gusher' oil rig - at a model home for the Luxury Home Tour. I wonder if anyone will 'get it'...???

  • Finalist for the Creative Placemaking in the South Loop (SOLO)!

    Well, I've been applying for a lot of things lately and haven't had much time to get into the studio lately. Anyway, at least these things have been bearing fruit! I was chosen as one of 15 finalists to submit designs for the South Loop area of Bloomington, MN. This area is home to a number of hotels, residences, high tech businesses, a national nature preserve on the Mississippi River and of course the mall to end all malls..The Mall of America. This is gonna be quite the challenge since we as artists have to find a way to knit all these things together and to create a more 'urban experience' in the middle of the Twin Cities largest suburb.
    There's only 4 slots available, so the odds are against me, but I'm gonna give it my best shot and see how I do. Wish me luck!


  • Sartell Paper Mill Art Project

    I am working with a few artists to re envision some components from the Verso Paper Mill that exploded just over a year ago. We went on site two days ago to find pieces that we could salvage and turn into useable components for a series of parks in the City of Sartell, MN.
    We spent some time with some former employees of the mill to get their opinions of what we were doing and hear stories of what it was like to work there and how the community will be affected without such a large plant along the river.
    Sounds like we've got our work cut out for us but it should be fun!
    Checkout the entire project and see some great photos of the the Mill in its glory via Lead Artist Heidi Jeub.

  • "Scultura Curiosa"

    The opening went well for the show of a number of nationally known sculptors and myself. I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful group!

    You can see the show at the Doug Flanders and Associates Gallery in Uptown, Minneapolis thru August 15th.


  • Artwork is up in the Northeast Minneapolis Library!

    An image of my piece "Freerk" is pictured in the Northeast Minneapolis library along with many other northeast artists. It is my second public art piece this year and I'm really happy to be a part of it!

    Check it out!

  • Workin away...

    I'm working on two new pieces for the "HEAVY...The Metal Show" coming up next week at the Instinct Gallery in downtown Minneapolis. It looks like it'll be a really great show and I'm very pleased to be showing in such a location with such talented pieces. John Schuerman is a great artist in his own right and has exhibited a lot of talent as a gallerist in the way that he can put so many great artists into such a tiny space.

    INSTINCT Art Gallery
    940 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN
    Saturday, March 22
    at 6:00pm - 8:00pm

    Heavy: The Metal Show is wrought from the earth and constructed for conceptual and aesthetic pleasures. This exhibition includes 2D and 3D work with metal being the common thread. Come and see how metal, a tangible and traditional medium, is produced into contemporary expressions.
    Featuring the work of Karen Searle, David Aschenbrener, Irve Dell, Kyle Fokken, Tina Blondell, Shelly Mosman, Katayoun Amjadi, and Mayumi Amada.

  • Another First Place Award!

    There have been times when I sort of expected to win an award and many times where that flat out wasn't the case. This time, I didn't expect anything and was really surprised by it!

    Here is a little note in the Minneapolis StarTribune (Strib) about it.

    Kyle Fokken took first place honors for his mixed media sculpture "Fokko."
    Members of the Society of Minnesota Sculptors turned out for the opening of an exhibit of art by their colleagues at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, on view through April 3. The society's 85 members are an eclectic lot whose work typically tends toward whimsical, figurative or abstract pieces in wire, bronze, ceramic or mixed media.
    Jurors Sally Johnson of Groveland Gallery and Holly Streekstra of Minneapolis College of Art and Design presented ribbon awards to: Kyle Fokken for "Fokko," a mixed media sculpture that took first place; Richards Poey for "Let's Tango, a bronze sculpture in second place; and Kate Chrisopher, whose ceramic bust, "My Vanishing Illusion," took third place.
    Honorable mentions went to Thomas Zahn for his bronze "Solo Dance," Carl A. Smith III, for a wire sculpture, "My Eyes are Here," and Norman Holen for his stoneware piece, "Man with an Owl Mask."
    The society is also sponsoring a one-day workshop by Twin Cities area sculptor Foster Wiley, Jr. who will explain how to "Sculpt a Head in Clay." (10 a.m. - 5 p.m. March 15, Minnetonka Center for the Arts, 2240 Northshore Dr., Wayzata/ Orono. To register go here or call 952-473-7261, ext. 16)

  • Obama at the Union Depot! Maybe he's see my train sculptures?

    I'm so pleased that the President of the United States will be speaking in our wonderfully refurbished Union Depot to talk about all the prospects of rail travel in Minnesota. Hopefully, he's see my pieces and respond to them and maybe the press will get some pix too.

  • Walker Art Center - Walker on the Green - Artist Designed Mini Golf

    Yes! I got one of the holes for the Walker Art Center Mini Golf Course on the grounds of the Walker Sculpture Garden.

    My piece "Peril in the Garden" is a loose take on a 'carny game' combined with the idea of an snake in the 'Garden of Eden' or in this case the Walker Sculpture Garden.

    My par 4 hole is designed to meet the grounds specifications of the garden by being very compact. It uses a few tricks to challenge the golfer. It has a small ramp to launch the ball into the mouth of the serpent and roll down it's coiled back to a channel at the bottom. Once it hits that, the tail of the rattlesnake shakes making a rattling sound. The ball then rolls from the channel underneath to the green where the golfer has to put it past a couple of obstacles - plants and stones.
    Not crazy hard, but tricky enough given that many families - including mine will be using it to entertain their kids.

    Speaking of kids, it really makes me happy that my kids can play with a sculpture that I designed.


  • First Place Sculpture - Again! And some good press!

    I decided to enter the 'Arts in Harmony' show the local ex-urb of Elk River about 45 minutes outside of Minneapolis. I won the first prize for sculpture there a few years back and was thinking it'd be fun to do it again. I'd always rather have my work out in front of people than sitting in storage and fortunately, I usually win an award or two for my efforts. At the very least that helps defray the cost of not being able to sell much in Minnesota. I also look at it as a way to build value on my resume and social media.
    I don't look at is as bragging, but in 'Minnesota Nice' land we've really got to get past this stoic self deprecating culture and blow our own horns since no one else will, eh?

    Oh, and here's the newspaper link - even got a photo.

  • Finally done! My Union Depot Commission is up!

    Yes, it's finally done!

    It's been a long road - almost a year this spring when I got the word that I was awarded my first public art commission. I learned a lot in this process and I hope that everyone enjoys the result.

    Anyway, here's some brief explanations of the pieces.

    Each piece has a train related name - The Occidental Express, The East Friesian Flyer and the Asymtotic Line. The pieces are based on the bas relief frieze that runs directly over the pieces and are mean to represent the construction of the Trans Continental Rail Line from the past (as seen from the west coast) to the present ( 1920's when the station was built) to a 'retro-futuristic' monorail like the types of artist renderings I'd see as a kid in the late sixties and early seventies. The sails on the covered wagon are a play on the idea of a covered wagon being called a 'prairie schooner'. I chose a 'junk', a Chinese boat to represent the workers from China who labored to build the rail line from the west (Occidental) coast. The train in the middle is to represent my ancestors who came from Ostfriesland/Frislan a region that straddles the German/Dutch boarder. I based the piece on my grandmother's black flowered sewing machine and pictured how she may have arrived from Germany via Ellis Island. The last piece is a make believe piece in that no one really knows what the future holds so why not make it fantastic? It is loosely based on an 'X-Wing' fighter from Star Wars, my Japanese chef's knife and a hand held vacuum cleaner.
    Each bridge/trestle represents a bridge in downtown St. Paul. The wooden bridge has the shape of the Robert Street Bridge, the lift bridge is the most literal since it mimics the Union Pacific Lift Bridge trestle and the final one is based on the High Bridge. I designed the pieces to tilt down to represent the setting sun of the past, the straight one in the middle to represent the present and the one pointing up as the future.

    One of my local artist friends accused me one time of not making anything that doesn't have to do with flight. I think he may be right.
    Each of these pieces has some sort of flight element to it either being sails, aircraft wings or graphic bird wings. You can decide which is which from the pix. I did also place my first pair of 'wings' from my first jet flight when I was 25 to a ceramic artists convention in Tempe, AZ. I asked for a pair of 'wings' that they give to kids on their first flight on a plane. Since I was flying North West Airlines (a now defunct MN airline) they have the NWA logo with gold wings on each side. I placed it on the front of the 'future train' piece as a little homage to them and my first trip.

    Well, hopefully, people will enjoy these pieces as much and if not more than I did designing and making them. I hope that people will use them as markers to where they can find their appropriate exit to a bus, local train or high speed rail to Chicago and beyond.
    Thank you to everyone who was involved in making this process happen.


    Yup, I got another grant! This is my second one in two years! You can only apply every other year so this makes my second grant in a row!

    It's an honor of course and the money is good, but I know that I've got a lot of work lined up for me in the next number of months. It's a good problem to have and I hope that what I do works out. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

    Kyle L. Fokken

    Fokken will explore the process of printing on metal, with the goal of making production 'tin-toys' of various sizes; the largest will be displayed in a public park.

  • Slow going...

    I installed my brackets for my Union Depot Public Art piece last Monday.

    Things are progressing, but as I stated, some of it is slow going. I'll be very happy when this piece is completed and I can look a all three 'fantasy trains' projecting out from the wall in the Depot.

  • North East Library Public Art Project Finalist

    Well, I submitted my final image for the Northeast Minneapolis Library Public Art Project. I was contacted about a week ago with the news that I had made the first round by FORECAST's director, Mr. Jack Becker.

    My piece "Freerk (Flying Dog Series)" was chosen for this round so we'll have to see if the image makes it into the final collection of 42 images that comprise of a representation of some of the best artists in Northeast Minneapolis.

  • Society of Minnesota Sculptors Member Show at Gallery 13

    Hope everyone can make it out for this great show. My piece "Coffee Tin Battleship" is featured on the front of the postcard. There is a lot of really great work being shown from a diverse collection of member's work.
    Check it out!

  • Twin Cities Public Television's Minnesota Original online article on the MN State Fair

    Here's a great little interview with me and featuring my "Song of the Flying Dutchman" 3rd Place winning sculpture.


    MNO Alumni at the Fair

    August 21, 2013

    The gates for the Great Minnesota Get Together don’t open for another couple days, but Minnesota arts fans already have plenty to get excited about: 2013 Fine Arts Competition winners were announced at last night’s Fine Arts Preview Night. With all of the winners’ art collected under one roof at the Fine Arts Center, the State Fair actually serves as Minnesota’s largest juried art exhibit. This year, part of the Fine Arts Center will also be turned from gallery into a studio space as part of Studio: HERE, which will provide a rare glimpse into how art is created. MNO alumni are well-represented between Studio: HERE participants and Fine Arts Competition winners. We’ve got a video round-up of MNO alumni and 2013 Fine Arts Competition winners at the bottom of this page. To get more perspective on the State Fair’s Fine Arts exhibition, we spoke with Kyle Fokken, who was featured on MN Original #317, and also received a 3rd Place Award in Sculpture this year.

    MNO: What have your experiences participating in the Fine Arts exhibition at the Minnesota State Fair been like?

    Kyle Fokken: I love the Minnesota State Fair Art Show! I think there is so much wonderful variety that it hits so many tastes and styles. You never know who the juror is and what he or she will think of your work and whether it will make it in the exhibition. The visual arts community (at least in the metro) is a small community and everyone knows most everyone else and/or their work, making it a politically challenging exercise. I think this is my third “Third Place” award which makes me pleased, but I’d still like something higher.

    As an artist, you always feel that your work is the best until you see work that blows yours out of the water and demands your respect. I always learn something new whenever I go and I appreciate the opportunity to show with so many great artists of all disciplines.

    MNO: What does this award mean to you?

    KF: Gas in the car and money to pay the photographer. If you are lucky or want to splurge, you can pay it forward and use it as an opportunity to buy someone else’s artwork. Being a working artist means that you celebrate the victory of winning an award but at the end of the day you need those funds to help you to keep on doing what you’re doing. With my piece “Song of the Flying Dutchman,” I would love it to be the centerpiece of someone’s lovely home or as part of a public art collection in an art or musical institution. It is one of my favorite pieces and I just love the romance that comes with the merger of classical music, sailing ships and the open sea. I have a ‘violin’ version in bronze in case anyone is interested. Please see my website for details – www.kylefokken.com. (Shameless plug, of course.)

    MNO: How is showing at the Minnesota State Fair different than any other ‘arts only’ shows?

    KF: I think it is very egalitarian from both the artists and the viewer’s perspective. In most art shows you have to have a body of work to submit whereas the Fair only allows for one piece. This allows beginners and professionals to compete side by side and mixes things up a bit which keeps the event fresh. I also like the idea that there is truly something for everyone. This exhibit allows me to show my work to a larger audience who may never have been to an art show or would never venture into a gallery. It also allows viewers to visually ‘taste’ a variety of different artistic ‘flavors’ and develop a richer ‘pallet’ and better artist ‘taste’.

    It’s always hard to know if this sampling will lead to sales, but I look at it as part of my overall marketing strategy since so many people see the show and it is highly regarded in the artistic community. Best of all, it’s free!

  • Third Place and the Jennifer and William Oliver Awards!

    It was nice to get these two awards at the Minnesota State Fair. It's a big deal in these parts and I've been fortunate to get in on more than a few occasions since it is so competitive. I've also won a number of awards over the years, but so far, haven't broken past the 3rd Place mark. Oh, well. It was nice to get the additional award although I do not know if the people named in the award are actually the ones that assign it or if there's some sort of proxy system. Either way, both were a nice surprise and I'm happy with the recognition and the prize money.

    The only thing left would be to get a People's Choice or Kid's Choice Award. I got the Kid's Choice Award a couple years back (along with another 3rd Place and some other award) so it'd be nice to get something like that again too.

    You can see my piece plus a lot of other great works in the Fine Arts Building at the MN State Fair starting today and going through Labor Day.

  • Wheehewww! Glad that's over...

    What an intense winter/spring!
    Lots of things to get completed and a lousy weather season to boot!

    Anyway, I had my final presentation for my Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant in April at the Kolman and Pryor Gallery. My final report was due before the end of May. In the meantime, I spent some time hanging out with students and staff at North Dakota State University in Fargo,ND. it was the first time I've had a residency and it was tough to be away from the wife and kids. It was a great experience and I got to meet a number of nice people and promising artists up there. I was a little concerned about the flood danger as well, but we dodged the bullet and it was a lot lower and a week later than anticipated.
    I also went down to Mason City, IA for their Sculptures on Parade program. I had to repaint my piece "All in the Same Boat" and show off some of my smaller work at a gala they hosted for us. They put us up in a wonderful Historic Frank Lloyd Wright hotel which was very cool!
    I also have work in Yankton's RiverWalk in Yankton, SD, Eau Claire's SculptureTour, in Eau Claire, WI and in Mankato's CityArt Sculpture Tour, in Mankato, MN. I wasn't able to install those myself due to other family commitments but plan on checking them out.
    To add to my stress, I showed in 6 locations during Art-A-Whirl (big studio tour in my neighborhood- over 600 artists and roughly 50k people coming to our 5k neighborhood) and even curated a show of eight artists (including myself) in a new venue.
    Also, I wound up getting a public art commission for the Union Depot Rail Station. I'm designing (see the project proposals section of my site) 3 fantasy trains that mimic the frieze in the classic 1908 rail station waiting room. They'll be jutting from the walls akin to the train coming out of the fireplace in a Margritte painting. They'll be mounted on roughly 5 ft long trestles high above everyone's heads. They'll look pretty cool.

    I've also submitted some images for a book and a show in Los Angeles, CA via the DEVICE Gallery. They're putting together a book and show called "Traveling DEVICE" which should happen this fall.

    I've also got a show setup for the MAD Museum (kinetic Art) in London, England. It should be fun and I hope to be able to bring the wife and kids next year.

    Oh, and I finally shipped off my commission that had been taking a back seat to all these other things. It's titled "Fletje" and is a re-imagining of a piece I made a few years back. The customers lost the original in a forest fire that claimed their home. They loved it so much, they built a special alcove for another sculpture in their new home and asked me to make a piece similar in shape and tone. I was happy to oblige, but it is a challenge to revisit a place where you used to be artistically.

    Like I said - 'Whew!". Anyway, onward and upward!

  • Juicy Steak Moustache II

    I will be showing work for the second time in this show. Last year's JSM was so well received that they decided to do it again.

    Opening reception is Saturday, March 23rd. See below for details.

    Hope you can make it!


    The Twin Cities’ brightest artists come together for an unconventional art show to launch the new Kolman & Pryor Gallery

    The Anita Sue Kolman Gallery in the Northrup King Building has been a celebrated gallery for two years, launching and recognizing some of the Twin Cities’ most unique visual artists, including
    Betsy Ruth Byers; Kelly Jean Ohl; Karl Unnasch; Patrick Kemal Pryor; Jodi Reeb-Myers; and Kate Casanova, who was featured on the cover of City Pages for the alt-weekly’s Artists of the Year issue.

    Pryor, an abstract painter, has been curating the unique shows at the gallery for two years, creating shows such as “Fashioned: One Becomes Another,” in 2011, which saw him collaborate with Project Runway designer Christopher Straub to turn his abstract images into fashion pieces that were like mobile three-dimensional sculptures.

    “To have a good partnership, you challenge each other,” says Kolman of their unique relationship, in which ideas bounce around and off one another like a pinball machine. Together, the two are like all of the other great pairs in history, finishing each other’s sentences or adding comical trajectories.

    “Juicy Steak Moustache II” opens the new Kolman & Pryor Gallery, on Saturday, March 16, and runs through Saturday, May 11. An opening night party on March 23, from 7 pm till 10 pm, will showcase the unique show and new partnership.

    “It seemed like the perfect show to open,” Pryor says. “Because we really like to have fun. And this show is all about interactive fun.”

    Also featured will be works by painter, Emily Bennett Beck, who turns pop-culture iconography into often excruciating images; Kyle Fokken, who creates modern toy mash-ups using antique found objects; Danny Saathoff, who creates peculiar mechanical works and timepieces that beg users to slow down; and Dave Beck, whose 3D images are virtual sculptures of both the odd and mundane.

    “I don’t want anyone to be afraid to come in here,” says Pryor. “I want it to be a space that reflects our unique artists but also welcomes people to be a part of it. This show really reflects that.”

    Each of the pieces¬—from a flock of butterflies powered by a hand crank to a performance where participants are asked to draw on the gallery walls and kiss the artists—inspire people to think and interact in a unique way.

  • My First Public Art Commission!!!

    I'm happy to say that the Union Depot Rail Station will now feature not one , but 3 of my unique pieces! I proposed the work in 'tiers' to comply with possible budget constraints, but they loved all the pieces so much, they decided to fund all 3!
    I'm still waiting for instructions as to what my timeline is on it, but I'll keep you posted.

  • Union Depot Finalist!

    I found out last week that I am a finalist for the Union Depot Station - small artworks project!

  • Second Place - Visual Arts Minnesota

    Yes, I got Second Place for my piece "Cultivator" at Visual Arts Minnesota's 13th Annual 'Essential Art' Show. This is the second of two awards I've gotten in a show via this organization's exhibitions. The show was held at the Paramount Theater in St. Cloud, MN and runs until February 14th.

  • CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour - 3rd Place!

    This was a nice surprise!

    I got 3rd Place for my piece "Klompenboot". I love this piece, but I really didn't think it would win any awards in a moderately small city like Mankato, MN.

    It's nice to get surprises every once in a while, eh?

    Checkout my piece (it's for sale!) and others via their website.



  • Ups and Downs

    Well, everything doesn't always go my way, so it's important to talk about that as well as any successes.

    Yes, I've been fortunate to win a number of awards, but there have more than plenty of times that I've been passed over or outright rejected. When I was first starting out more than a decade or so ago, I remember getting letters back from the galleries that I was applying for telling me that my application had all kinds of things wrong with it.

    One of the most glaring was my handwritten notes (front, back, dimensions) on the slides (anyone remember them?) I was sending out. I don't have the best of handwriting to begin with and being amped up on coffee and filling out my applications during my lunch breaks from the mortgage company didn't help matters any.
    Nonetheless, I persevered, learned from my mistakes and keep at it.

    So, just recently, I got a nice award in cash at a small local show, but got totally ignored for a big show where I've taken top honors and first place a combined total of 3 times. Getting ignored even for the small awards felt like a really big injustice, but I've got to remember that for all the times that I've been a juror, there are others who've not liked my choices for awards.

    Ultimately, it is up to one or a small group of people that make these choices and you've just got to learn to roll with them.

    So, I've got to take my lumps too and move on to the next project.


  • Now Officially Collectable!

    Yes, that's right folks, my work has been bought by a museum! I currently have work up in a two man show at the South Dakota Art Museum and they decided that they needed to have a genuine Kyle Fokken!

    They purchased the piece "Uptet (Babylonian Gunship) just last week after keeping me on pins and needles about it for over a month.
    I suspect that they also purchased a piece from printmaker Brett Anderson who is showing with me, but I haven't checked in with him.

    So, the next time you are in Brookings, South Dakota, take a little time out to visit "Uptet" in the permanent collection. Also checkout the paintings of Harvey Dunn, the reason for the museum. Phenomenal stuff!




  • American Tourister for Bikes for Africa

    Hello again!

    I was asked to make a piece of sculpture for this project. The piece I made was "American Tourister" and features a wooden shoe/tractor/race car made with a minimum of 25 various parts made by the SRAM Corporation.

    The benefit reception will be held in New York City on November 29th at the Cedar Lake Theater
    547 W. 26th St., New York, NY, 10001
    (212) 244-0015 -http://cedarlakedance.com

    Hope to see you there!


    UPDATE - My piece sold for more than I was expecting! I didn't win any prizes, but the money went to a good cause.

    BTW, checkout Lewis Tardy's piece from last year. He's a friend of mine from Michigan and he won the grand prize of a trip to a country in Africa
    where the Bikes for Africa is making a difference.
    Check out his piece via the link (http://www.sram.com/partproject/) and/or go to his website www.tardysculpture.com.

    The SRAM pART PROJECT is back, bigger than ever. pART PROJECT NYC debuts this November with twice as many artists and a whole new way to transform bike parts into art.

    It’s art that’s continuing to make a difference. And a big splash, too.

    For the New York City event, 95 noted artists will contribute original pieces created from SRAM components – including, for the first time, works of collage as well as sculpture. The artworks will be featured in a juried gallery exhibition, then sold at a gala live auction event.

    The auction is scheduled for November 29th at the Cedar Lake Theatre in New York City. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to World Bicycle Relief.

    First- and second-place prizes will be awarded in the collage and sculpture categories. There will also be one overall grand-prize winner, who will receive an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Africa to witness the work of World Bicycle Relief firsthand.

  • Minnesota State Arts Grant

    I won a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist's Initiative Grant! Finally!

    I won it based on the portfolio of my work plus a desire to make more work to better handle the outdoors. In doing so, part of the money goes for a ventilation system so that I don't get sick when working with stainless steel and towards experimentation with my new materials.

    Now, I've got to get to work...

  • More Awards

    I had three pieces in the "Sculpture by the River" show at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, WI and won three awards!

    I won 'Second Place" for my "Airway to Heaven" piece (a piece that's won a number of awards already) and "Honorable Mention" for my "Song of the Flying Dutchman" piece. The 'Dutchman' piece mentioned above also won me a "People's Choice" award.

    Not a bad haul - helps to defray the costs of making the pieces anyway. Anyone wanna buy a flying church?

  • Minnesota Originals

    Yes, I am now a "Minnesota Original" if that really means anything. I figure if you do anything long enough, you'll get known by it, so thar ya go.
    Anyway, I am honored to be part of Twin Cities Public Televisions' "Minnesota Original" program, now in it's third season. I was very happy to be picked for my 6-10 minute segment since the show only runs a half hour and dedicates the other two thirds to poets, writers, music, dance and theater. So all in all, I lucked out. I am also fortunate to be in the company of many great artists in this northern state and am happy we have an outlet to showcase the talent of local artists.
    This has been in the works for some time. They originally contacted me for the 1st season, but had to bow out in favor of other work last summer. Then, they contacted me in November of 2011 and finally got something shot in my studio on Valentine's Day of this year. So, it can be a long process.

    Anyway, look for it in another month or so - late April, early May on TPT Channel 2. Checkout other episodes streaming online via their website -http://www.mnoriginal.org/.

  • Gearing up for another opening

    Yes, another opening in St. Cloud, only this time it's a solo show in a downtown 'pop up' gallery sponsored by Visual Arts Minnesota. My friend Heidi Steadman and her batch of intrepid volunteers have been doing a great job revitalizing the scene and bringing in new life to the area.

    Anyway, it should be a fun time since I'll get to see a lot of old friends and from the web traffic to my site, it looks like there will be a number of people out for the event - must be the food provided by the sponsors - Bravo Burrittos!

    It's the last show they are doing in this space and I'm happy to show off my new 'celloship' piece "The Song of the Flying Dutchman" as seen on the homepage of this site.

    Hopefully, I'll see you there!


    Here's the info and the link.



    Visual Arts Minnesota and 912 Art Gallery presents the work of Kyle Fokken. The exhibit will be from December 5 – 30, 2011 in downtown St. Cloud. A reception will be held on December 9, from 7-9pm at the 912 Art Gallery, located at 912 West St. Germain Street. The reception is free and open to the public, sponsored by DealChicken. Food will be provided by Bravo Burrito, cash bar by DB Searles.

    Antique toys directly inspire Fokken’s sculptures, speak to the transfer of beliefs, values and prejudices between generations. Fokken says, "I use distressed materials to convey an 'antique' aesthetic, to emphasize that these beliefs have been long established but are decayed and in need of renewal or examination."
    Fokken grew up in a small farming town on the Great Plains in West Central Minnesota. He graduated from St. Cloud State University with a BFA in ceramic sculpture and a minor in business. His inspiration is fueled by imagination, “All those experiences living in a farming community, being close to machinery in a town where there wasn't a lot to do, is what led me to be an artist. I think that your creativity soars when you have to make do with what you have and find ways to entertain yourself through your own imagination.”
    Fokken’s sculptures can be found in many public art exhibitions and commissions, galleries and museums and private collections. For more information, go to www.kylefokken.com .
    This exhibit is the last of a 4 month exhibition series for the 912 Art Gallery, in the beautiful Regency Event Center. Gallery hours are Mondays 11-3pm, Thursdays 11-3pm, 5-8pm, Fridays and Saturdays 5-8pm. Restricted hours around holidays. Please check website for details www.visualartsminnesota.org http://www.visualartsminnesota.org> under 912 Art Gallery link.

  • Another great review in Louisville!

    Kyle Fokken at the Garner Narrative

    Review by Mary Margaret Sparks

    On November 4, while walking across the street for the downtown gallery hop, I noticed an interesting sculpture through the front window of the Garner Narrative Gallery. It was a beast-like creature made of mechanical parts resembling a robot. It was “Lord of the Rings meets Star Wars” and linked me back to my junior high and high school days. Being a lover of both sculpture and nostalgia, I was drawn into the gallery to view the rest of the work by Minnesota artist Kyle Fokken. His work takes a modern approach to antiques and machinery with works including everything from antique toy trucks to churches.

    Works in the exhibition include “Airway to Heaven” a giant airplane and “Wrecker (Church Series IV)” a church building attached to a wrecker crane. Both sculptures include functional and kinetic aspects such as lighting and are composed of many small parts including bike chains. The artist fuses materials together to create unique images reflecting on war, childhood, religion, fantasy, memories,etc.

    On close observation, it’s obvious the dedication that Fokken takes when choosing how to construct each sculpture. Each work is handcrafted not only in its build but also in its appearance. The patina work is beautiful and the artist’s use of color adds a vibrancy to the wood and metal. His fascination with history and society create for a unique 3-dimensional show.

    My work is based on a love of antique toys as viewed from a modern perspective. We are naturally drawn to relics of days gone past. In my artwork, I fuse this nostalgia with “visionary” art – art often made by people using scrap material and rough construction. Like these artists, I’m not a “junk sculptor” because my focus is not on the found object itself, but on how I can use objects to fulfill my vision. I employ this technique as a metaphor implying the bond between generations “making do” with available materials and the cultural legacy of values and ideals. (Kyle Fokken Artist Statement)

    The exhibition is free to the public and will be up during the December First Friday Gallery Hop on December 2 from 6-9PM. The exhibition runs through January. Garner Narrative Gallery is located at 642 E. Market Street.

    The Kyle Fokken exhibition is the third for the Garner Narrative a new endeavor for artist Joyce Garner and her daughter Angie Reed Garner. Initially the Garner Furnish Studio, the gallery closed in early 2011, renovated and re-opened as Garner Narrative Contemporary Fine Art. They began representing artists in September 2011.

    Garner Narrative is accepting proposals for exhibitions; with the focus on contemporary narrative art in any media. They have two gallery spaces — one quite large and then another scaled for more intimate work — as well as four window spaces viewable from Clay Street perfect for wall-mounted installations.

    Learn more about Garner Narrative Contemporary Fine Art

  • Nice review of my show at Garner Narrative Contemporary Fine Arts

    Monday, November 7, 2011
    Exhibit Review by Keith Waits: Kyle Fokken
    Kyle Fokken at garner narrative contemporary fine art
    Airway to Heaven, mixed media sculpture
    Review by Keith Waits
    Entire contents copyright 2011 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

    When a young child grasps a toy in their hands, it is an object that sparks imagination and creativity. In that same way, Kyle Fokken’s sculptures become a catalyst for intellectual stimulation in the adult mind. Perhaps they trigger a return to childhood playtime: each is fundamentally a toy, a truck, an airplane, a construction crane. Yet these mixed media creations are also idiosyncratic mash-ups of form and function: the operator’s cabin on the construction crane is a ramshackle church – the crane arm protruding from beneath the façade and anchored by a chain that runs through a window, nearly an act of penetrative violence. The positioning of a house of worship as a vehicle of destruction is a provocative juxtaposition in an age when we witness religion as a foundation for terrorism.
    But that impact is perhaps balanced by the contrasting image of another church structure serving as the fuselage of an airplane, lifting the spiritual into more traditional territory, albeit with the same idiosyncratic relationships of form and function.
    In other pieces, the stylistic combinations are more complex and subtle, such as the steam-punk anamorphism of “Uptet (Babylonian Gunship),” a quadripedal creature that seems a cross between a camel and the family pet, but equipped with giant propellers ready to take the steel and wood construction aloft. Mr. Fokken’s work is filled with cultural references, and in this instance it is difficult not see something of the Imperial Walkers from Empire Strikes Back: they have the same tension between awkward, lumbering mass and graceful, intricate design.
    The detail and craftsmanship are distinctive, and the found objects that Mr. Fokken incorporates never seem random or haphazard, but exactly the right choices for each piece. There is, however, one sculpture, “Difficult to Fathom,” that stands apart from the rest in this show. The merging of a church onto a submarine body is entirely consistent, but the dynamic placement of the contraption trawling across the scalp of a singularly annoyed sailor introduces a more straightforwardly comic image of a human face that could also be viewed as self-portrait. Whether or not the head bears any resemblance to the artist, the whimsical depiction of art emerging from the creative mind is unmistakable.
    This three-dimensional exhibit represents something of a departure for this space, having devoted itself for years to largely two-dimensional work from its proprietor, Joyce Garner, and a few select others. But this past summer the gallery was renovated so that the space underwent small but crucial adjustments. Mr. Fokken’s work highlights the new environment and suggests a more ambitious mission for garner narrative that should prove welcome in what is already the busiest and most vital visual arts neighborhood in Louisville.
    Difficult to Fathom, leather over wood, steel, found object

    Wrecker (Church Series IV), acrylic paint over wood

    Uptet (Babylonian Gunship) tempered scrap steel (soup, tomato cans) over wood, acrylic

    garner narrative contemporary fine art
    642 E. Market @ Clay
    Louisville, KY 40202
    (502) 641-8086
    hours: Wed-Sat 1-6, First Friday Gallery Hop 1-9

  • Children's Choice? Is this a trend???

    Yesterday, I got an award for the Hopkins Artstreet outdoor sculpture competition. I got the "Children's Choice Award" for my piece "Shoo-Shoe Train". I have to admit that I was bummed that I didn't get first place, but am still very happy to have gotten the award. It seems odd that I've been getting these types of awards lately since I usually never get any 'people's choice' type of awards because in years past my work has been too out there for normal folks. Anyway, in addition to Third Place in Sculpture at the State Fair, I got a "Kid's Choice Award" there as well. Again, I'm happy, but am starting to wonder if I either am headed in a new direction that will get me more cashe and big commissions, or maybe I should just chuck it and head another, more serious direction like I originally set out to do. Maybe there's something with having children lowers your testosterone and I'm getting mellow.

  • Minnesota State Fair 100th Anniversary

    Well I got in again and am pleased to announce that I won an award - 3rd Place!
    I can't say that I didn't want 1st this time, but there's no control over what the juror will pick. I'm just happy to get in and get a few extra bucks and some prestige for doing so. Hopefully, there will be a lot of people who see it and like it over the new 10 days or so.
    BTW, this is my 4th award - I got 4th the first time I entered in 2001, then 3rd the next year, skipped a couple of years (didn't pre reg, forgot, and had one rejection), one piece with no award (plenty of press tho') then last year got 5th place and now this year 3rd. All in all not bad - I suspect I may have gotten more awards than anyone else, but it has been around for a hundred years, so the odds are I haven't. Anyway, I'd like to get first one time -where is the love.....Ha!

  • Recent and upcoming shows

    I've been busy...and most of my updates have been on the AKA site. Sorry bout that.

    Anyway, I'm just finishing up on the Art of the Self Portrait that comes down on Saturday, April 30th. Great response, but no sale. I did get an award for a piece I did at the Spiritual Art Show - Honorable Mention, but at least I got my entry fee back! Ha! I've been goaded into doing this show for a number of years, so I finally relented. I think of being an artist a 'monastic quest' of a sort and most of my imagery hasn't been very 'spiritual'. Anyway, I like the piece I did which is titled "Toolbox". Just like it sounds, it's a metal toolbox with a metal steeple attached. I'll post pix later - just haven't gotten around to doing it yet. Is it a place one reaches for spiritual "tools" or is a place where "tools" (ie-losers) reside? I like the dual meaning that leaves it up to the viewer to decide.
    Well, the next show is part of an open studio tour at the Traffic Zone Studios in downtown Minneapolis. It's a rather posh place for people who buy their studios a lot like a condo vs renting. I'm showing with a wonderful photographer and friend by the name of Steve Ozone. Check his work out via the link in the 'LINKS' page.
    I'll also be showing at Spot Art Gallery in Northeast Mpls for Art-A-Whirl - one big ass art crawl/party happening the third weekend of May.
    And finally, I'm getting ready for putting a new piece in the Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk. I've got progress pix in the "PROJECT PROPOSALS" section.
    I'm stressed, but it's a good stress in the sense that I'm in demand and working towards some new goals.
    Wish me luck

  • New Blog space - Applied Kinetic Arts (AKA)

    Well, I took another step into being more connected.
    I was asked by a great artist in the mixed media/kinetic realm to join he and others working in this media and blog a little here and there.
    As you can tell, I'm not the best at this, but I figured it's just another channel to get my work out in front of people, network and a nice side benefit - the discipline to document and write about my work at each stage of construction.

    Check it out and tell me what you think.

  • St. Cloud Times Article

    Last Sunday, I got a little press in the St. Cloud Times regarding my show at St. Cloud State University. I was hoping for more along with some pix that I had submitted, but no dice. Anyway, press is press so I'll just chalk it up to experience.
    Here's the entire article - well, my portion of it at the tail end of a theater review entitled "Fine arts column: Musical pays homage to Alexander's bad day"

    Kyle Fokken exhibit at SCSU
    Almost two decades after graduation, Minnesota artist Kyle Fokken is back at his alma mater. Fokken’s whimsical creations will be displayed at St. Cloud State University’s Atwood Gallery until Jan. 13. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
    Fokken’s work is based on a love of antique toys.
    “You let the art dictate the form to you. I don’t always start out with a definitive form in mind. I have a general idea for the feeling of the piece,” Fokken said.
    Fokken’s passion for merging found objects began in childhood when he created his own toy models.
    “When I was a kid, I was pretty poor. I used to make a lot of model airplanes and cars,” Fokken said. “I couldn’t afford all the kits, so I’d go the library and (find a picture) of what I wanted to make and then find the parts that would go in there.”
    Atwood Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on the weekend.
    For details, visit www.kylefokken.com.

    Funny thing is, that I talked to my parents the other day and they stated that a former schoolmate (a few years younger than me, I think) saw it in the paper and told my hometown newspaper about it. They in turn contacted my parents for permission to publish it and there ya go - I've got street cred in Clara City! BTW, don't look for it online since, I just checked their website and it hasn't been updated since February 25th, 2009!

    Anyway, here's the links for both sites in case you need more info:

  • Close but no cigar!

    I was a finalist for the North East Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA)'s upcoming Art-A-Whirl Catalog. I was one of six selected and the only sculptor. The graphics person chose one of my small panel truck "toys" which I thought was interesting since they're not terribly indicative of my larger body of work. Never the less, I think the way she used the piece as a backdrop for the text was very good and I really appreciated her using it.

    You can see my image, the other finalists and of course the winner via the link below. All of those chosen were great and work well as a graphic to bring people to NE Minneapolis during Art-A-Whirl - the third weekend in May for the past 15 or so years.


  • "Kyle Fokken's Elegant Smash UPS" on MPR

    A short interview and photos are featured on Marianne Combs blog "State of the Arts on the Minnesota Public Radio's website.


  • Fall Fine Arts Show

    Well, it looks like my piece "Airway to Heaven" has gotten the nod for 'Best of Show' or 'First Place' for this year's NEMAA Fall Fine Arts Show.

    This is my third time winning it and frankly I was a bit surprised by it since it seems that the last few years only painters have been winning this award. Musta been the mostly male jurors..Ha!

  • Sculpture Walk Sioux Falls 2011

    Yes, it happened again!

    I got another piece of sculpture that's headed to Sioux Falls. It's a proposal piece in that it hasn't been built yet. This leads to a lot of new challenges as to what I can do with outdoor work and is always a bit of a struggle. At least with each new piece, I earn another arrow in my quiver (or earn the rank of "Fries" pinned on my Hardee's uniform). Hopefully this will prove that I can make interesting outdoor work that is more than just a rusting hulk or dirty bronze.

    Wish me luck!

  • "Best of Show Award" Other Material - Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk

    Well, I did it again. I think this is kinda a hat trick of sorts since it's my third "Best of Show" award there. The first one and this last one are both "Best of Show- Other Material" (non-bronze) and my second award was "Best of Show Overall" (all categories). So, technically not a hat trick or even a threepeat. Ha!

    Anyway, it's good to get and I got a few more bucks for materials and tools and to pay for the last one plus another bump on the resume.

    I'm still looking to score a nice purchase award, but that's how things go sometimes.
    I still need a place to put it when it comes down in Maybe if it doesn't sell or get moved to another location.

    Anyone want to buy a "yellow submarine"???

  • Castlegar News Article

    Well, here it is. I thought I'd post an image of the whole article in case you'd like to see it.

  • Interview with Castlegar News! and other things.

    Dear Diary... it's been a while....

    Well, I really have to get used to using this blog/news screen every now and again. Just hard enough to find time to work on grants/public art applications, etc much less sculpture.

    Anyway, it's been a good week. I just sold 3 pieces to an artist who runs a gallery in Cokato, MN. He operates under the moniker "The Art Pig". Go check out his wonderful child like drawings and paintings via his site (see the links page or google "Art Pig" and you'll find him), the Grand Hand Gallery in St. Paul,MN and Minnetonka Center for the Arts. I also sold a nice piece to a ceramic artist via Gallery 13 in Downtown Minneapolis. Needless to say, I bought some good scotch a couple of tools and the rest I'm saving for a shed to put all the non artwork related things such as bikes, lawn more etc in so that I have room to work. Oh, and my piece "Uptet (Babylon Gunship)" got accepted to the MN State Fair.

    I'm going to be conducting an interview tomorrow with Castlegar News in Castlegar BC, Canada. Hopefully it'll go well since the interviewer seems pretty cool and I'm sure it'll be a nice way to promote the Castlegar Sculpture Walk that I am a part of.

    That's all for now!

  • My first international show!

    Yes, I'm going international! Not that it's that hard these days, but there ya go.

    I will be featured in an outdoor competition in Castlegar, BC in Canada (not that far from Whistler and the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics) this spring. It's their first foray into the "Sculpture Walk" franchise based in Sioux Falls, SD and I am happy to be a part of it. I also will be included in the "Sculpture Walk Sioux Falls" this spring as well. I've won awards in Sioux Falls including "First Place" and "Best of Show Overall" and sold work from the show which in turn helps fund this website.

    I'll post pix of both pieces as they progress.

  • Positive and negative blog reviews of the show "Something from Nothing..."

    Here's a couple of blog reviews of the show at the Canton Musem of Art in Canton, OH. I'm happy to see people write about the show and both mentioning my work. I'm also happy that there are two different opinions of the show both positive and negative even thought, there's nothing specifically negative about my work.

    "R.Mutt Redux"
    This show occupies a varied landscape of conceptual approaches from playful to profound, and a considerably broad terrain between the two. Daniel Horne’s “King and Queen” presents the life-size royal couple of welded scrap steel as whimsical, kinetic skeletons who invite viewers to gently push various parts of their anatomies and enjoy their moving parts.% Kyle Fokken’s mixed media “Uptet (Babylon Gunship)” and its more “modern” counterpart, “Ship of Fools,” are both solidly constructed, fascinating war machines in miniature. “Uptet” looks like a creature from a science fiction story, and would be a downright hilarious apparition were it not for its clearly deadly function.%
    Nonetheless, both works are riveting in every sense of the word.


    Snarky Art by Judi Krew

    "I look for purpose and inspiration in pieces as well. A tin can is a logical steamship funnel and constructions like “Ship of Fools” can hold the attention of a child for quite a while, picking out various objects whose purposes were well thought out."


  • SOMETHING FROM NOTHING -Contemporary Recycled Sculpture from America's Rust Belt

    My first museum show!

    Two of my pieces "Ship of Fools" and "Uptet (Babylon Gunship") are both being shown at the Canton Museum of Art this winter. The dates of the show are November 27th, 2009 - March 7th, 2010. If you are in the area, check it out!

    My pieces will also be featured in " About Magazine" and you can also see an image of one of my pieces on the museum's website. Here's the link to the page which can also be found on the "LINKS" tab on my website.


  • My first Blue Ribbon!

    My first Blue Ribbon!

    Yes, I actually won my first blue ribbon for my sculpture "Ship of Fools" at the Minnesota Sculpture Society's "Fall for Sculpture" Show at the Bloomington Art Center.

    I've won awards in the past for First Place and Best of Show, but have never actually gotten a physical ribbon for it.

    So there ya have it.

    Check out the piece in the portfolio section and see what it looked like when I started.

    Also, I received a "People's Choice" award at this show as well. Two firsts happening at the same time. Hopefully this is a trend.

  • Launching of new website

    Finally, a new website is here!
    Check for new larger work as well as some new smaller work.