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Written by Chloe Green

Sculpture: Implied Kinetics

Miguel Edwards

Kinetic energy is the energy possessed by an object in motion, the energy that exists within the flow of a dance or the beat of a drum. While artist Miguel Edwards’ pieces don’t often involve physical movement, his sculpture work with steel and glass embodies implied kinetic energy. Large steel beams are welded into fluid, arching shapes that convey movement and emotion. His work is evidence of a fine-tuned creative mind and decades-long dedication to craftsmanship.

Edwards grew up the son of artists in Santa Fe. He recounted a childhood spent in his father’s woodshop and watching his mother weave. “I’ve never not considered myself an artist,” he said. From that upbringing, Edwards pursued an education in the arts at the University of New Mexico and at Southern Oregon University. Young and lovestruck, he followed a girlfriend north to Seattle, where he made a name for himself as a photojournalist, documenting the city’s 90s grunge scene for Billboard Magazine and The Seattle Times.

His creative identity expanded and morphed throughout the years. He dabbled in jewelry and oil painting. His first foray into metalwork came out of necessity; he wanted to avoid paying the steep price of framing for his pieces, so he taught himself how to weld metal frames. Throughout the late nineties and early 2000s, Edwards worked on a few larger-scale metal pieces here and there, including hammered-copper draping for a collaborative sculpture in Portland’s Pioneer Square and a commission to craft a steel orb for Burning Man in 2004.

Hope Rising Fire

In 2009 he created “El Sol,” a sphere crafted from pieces of overlapping curved metal, for the “Heaven and Earth” exhibit at the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle’s Carkeek Park. It was after finishing this piece that Edwards shook his fist toward the sky and declared himself a sculptor. “It was so beyond anything I had ever made, and I was kind of in shock, like, where did that come from?” he said. 

The piece that prompted the public to declare him a sculptor and helped launch his professional life to new levels was “Perseus II” in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, a 35-foot tall kinetic sculpture crafted out of stainless steel. Ever since this career-altering project, Edwards has been passionately dedicated to this craft and sought out for his work. Presently, he is represented by nine galleries across the nation and has collaborated with various organizations to create impressive public works. One of his most renowned pieces, “Hope Rising,” commissioned by the Special Olympics for its 50th anniversary, is an imposing steel cauldron that ascends 20 feet into the sky and was set ablaze at the opening ceremony in 2019.

After years of living and creating in Seattle, Edwards decided to move away from the city in search of some new inspiration and a better quality of life. In 2018 he and his wife, Corrina Jill, who owns Corrina Jill Skincare, moved to Bend and purchased a home in the Deschutes River Woods neighborhood, a property with space for him to work and weld. He continues to grow his collection of sculpture and photography work in Bend with several large-scale projects back in Washington in process. He is excited to create more art and inspiration for the Central Oregon community.

Miguel Edwards
Photo Orion Tupper/Miguel Edwards

The portfolio that Miguel has created over the past 10-plus years is diverse, with each gravity-defying piece demanding viewers’ complete attention, a result that doesn’t happen by mistake. “Everyone is absorbed in their own life; their tangly head and their phone. So many people are feeling so isolated.” Edwards said. “I strive to make something so striking, dynamic, weird and beautiful that people pause and live in the present for hopefully a couple of moments, maybe even longer.”  

See migueledwards.com

Read more about Central Oregon artists here.

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