George Stankus (1950- ), aka “The Lamp Guy”, was always tinkering and making things to play with as a curious kid growing up in Miami, FL. With the help of his Pop, he learned basic wiring and circuit design using Lafayette Electronics science kits, building a shortwave radio and a basic binary computer. Long before “upcycling,” George was always thinking of what he could do with things he found. During a woodworking workshop in the summer of 1962, George had his first experience repurposing, using a discarded bowling pin. After turning it on a lather, he then took a metal coat hanger, burning designs into the wood. WIth a simple turned maple base, the pin was then mounted, wired and became what would be the first work by “The Lamp Guy.” In the early 1970’s, George landed a contract with the Smithsonian Institute to recreate items that were displayed in the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 for the 1976 Bicentennial Exhibition. With the help of Bob Johnson at Whistle in Winds in Chickamauga, Ga , they recreated Otis’ first elevator, Mast and Foos Windmill and 8 other projects using steam-driven period tools. Fast forward a few decades, past boring corporate jobs and countless creative projects in the kitchen and the yard with his daughters, to find George, retired and looking for a hobby. In his new home of Columbia, SC, George found inspiration in an unlikely place; the inspiration came on Tuesday nights in his neighborhood, when recycling tubs were put at the curb, George would sift through these blue plastic treasure chests, finding disparate items and envisioning them as whimsical sculptures. It wasn’t long until the first lamp was built from a fire extinguisher. Next came a coffee pot, and then a tea kettle on a waffle iron. Before long, George was exhibiting his unique lamps regularly in galleries and festivals around Columbia. As word got out about the man who can turn anything, no matter how random, into a lamp, customers starting bringing him their finds and family heirlooms to turn into custom lamps. As the boxes and shelves of his findings grew, a new being emerged. Seeing some used electrical boxes, pipes and connectors all laying on the floor, he envisioned these pieces coming together to form a kind of industrial being. After some experimentation, George created the “RoboMan Series”. He secured the rights to this unique design, and now RoboMen and RoboWomen hold court in homes and offices all across the country. In a manner similar to Rauschenberg’s “Combines,” George integrates his findings, blending materials and categories to create something far from usual. The works of “The Lamp Guy” have been met with wild acclaim as he has exhibited extensively throughout the Southeastern US since 2011. George was awarded the First Prize in Amateur Sculpture at the SC State Fair in 2015, and has been invited to participate in numerous juried shows, including most recently ArtFields in Lake City, SC. While he continues to warm hearts and inspire minds with his comical inspiration put into practical design, George is continually pushing the boundaries between art and design, found and fabricated, thus fully embracing the philosophy, "Anything can be made into a lamp!”
George's ArtPrize Entries
These are George's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.
George's Past Work
These are images of past work that George has done.