Personal History - Carl Geenen In 2005, the year after graduating from California College of Arts and Crafts, I enrolled in graduate-level art classes at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. I earned a 4.0 GPA and was placed on the Chancellor's List. I began to pursue a career as a fine artist, exhibiting my work around the Midwest and on the West coast. When my son was born, I put my master’s degree on temporary hold, but continued to pursue my creative and artistic development outside of school. I accepted a position as a metal fabricator and became a certified welder, enhancing my technical skills as a sculptor. I also continued to exhibit artwork in local galleries and shows. In 2006, I moved to Sacramento, California, where I accepted a position as art assistant to Alan Osborne, founder of the Art Foundry Gallery in Sacramento. While assisting Alan on designing and fabricating his public art commissions, including the Watt Avenue Public Art Commission, I was influenced by many world-renowned artists, including Manuel Neri, Stephen De Staebler, Nathan Oliveira, and Richard Hunt, among others. As I fabricated bronze sculptures for these artists, I grew to know them personally and to learn their creative processes. During this time, I was also able to cast my own bronze sculptures and exhibit work at the Art Foundry Gallery. Working, showing and teaching bronze casting and fabrication classes to adult students at the foundry had a profound influence on my own work and style. While in California, I started a metal landscape and sculpture business with a fellow artist. We designed and fabricated metal sculptures, interior and exterior gates, railings, and staircases for clients throughout California. I also continued to produce my work in a ceramic and metal sculpture studio and to show my work in galleries. After moving back to Wisconsin in 2011, I established a studio of my own which contained all the necessary equipment to produce my ceramic, painting and metal artwork. I began showing in galleries and art shows around the Midwest region. I opened my own gallery, Carl Geenen Gallery, in downtown Milwaukee's Third Ward area. I also helped create the Elmbrook Gallery at a local church in Waukesha. My ceramic work is in the permanent collection of the Charles Allis Art Museum in Milwaukee. In 2014 I began working as art assistant to sculptor Richard Hunt, traveling to his studio in Chicago to help him build small and large scale sculptures from bronze and stainless steel. I worked closely with Richard on many challenging pieces, utilizing my advanced fabrication skills, and greatly advancing my technical and creative ability to produce large metal sculptures. Under his mentorship, I also developed a more comprehensive understanding of how to secure large-scale public commissions and how to execute them in a professional and timely manner. This apprenticeship greatly broadened my appreciation of my potential and inspired me to challenge myself to create artwork that fully utilizes my artistic talent and vision. While living in Milwaukee I have worked as a professional metal fabricator, earning TIG, flux core and MIG welding certification in both stainless and mild steel. Designing and building stainless steel feeder bowl machines has helped me develop a new set of technical skills in an engineering environment. I look forward to applying my experience in designing and building functional metal machines to creating large-scale kinetic sculptures. I am also enjoying training a new employee in the skills required for successful feeder bowl tooling. Since earning my BFA, my artwork has truly flourished, in part due to my intense involvement in the art world, where I have worked closely with a wide range of artists. But now I believe it is time to further my art career to enable all my career efforts and creative energy to be channeled into the growth of my artwork. I am determined to overcome whatever challenges arise in reaching my goals and to keep the passion in my artwork alive. I plan to accomplish this by maintaining a perspective of courage and hope, by looking for lessons and learnings in each experience, and by continuing to incorporate these concepts into my work.
Carl's ArtPrize Entries
These are Carl's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.
Carl's Past Work
These are images of past work that Carl has done.