Category Archives: Sculpture

ArtTake: Arty Bike Racks

ArtTakes are my mini-posts on art found in unexpected places that is often FUNctional (sculpted bike rack, painted newspaper stand, crafted business signage).

Bike-rack-art pops up all around downtown Sacramento; from silly and simple to beautifully sculptured. I’ve collected 5 so far and I’m sure there are more to come. Photos of the most elaborate bike-rack-art I’ve found to-date are at the end of this post; be sure to scroll all the way down so you don’t miss it.

This bulldog bike rack protects your bike while you are inside enjoying Mondo Bizzaro Cafe (formerly Butch and Nellie’s) at 18th & I Street.

Cutlery bike racks are the only way to go for the Bicycle Chef at 32nd & N.

One Speed, a bike themed pizza restaurant, has a bike rack crafted from bicycle parts. Thanks to Nick on the Town for drawing the One Speed rack to my attention in his second installment of amusing bike racks. Nick’s first installment of amusing bike racks was posted in Sept 2009.

This sculpture in front of Danielle’s Creperie at 9th & K appears to be a bike rack, but one isn’t 100% sure….

until they get a little closer.

This functional bike rack is a beautiful sculpture on a landscaped corner of the patio at La Bou on Stockton between V & X:

ArtTake: Welding Fun ~ 34th & P

ArtTakes are my mini-posts on art found in unexpected places that is often FUNctional (sculpted bike rack, painted newspaper stand, crafted business signage).

Just around the corner from Western Feed & Supply at 34th & P, is the workshop of welder, Danny Breckenridge, who (I assume) created the 3 welded figures that stand guard like post-modern gargoyles along the top of the garage door. I enjoy them every time I visit Western Feed for Rupert’s dog food.

Fremont Community Gardens ~ 14th & Q

Several artists’ works are integrated into Fremont Community Gardens at 14th & Q. The garden is part of the City Parks & Recreation program; the 52 plots are ‘rented’ to members of the community (1), and gardeners practice sustainable organic gardening. There are twenty eight small plots (10×10), twenty large (10×20) and four ADA raised plots (2). The garden art includes a gazebo, a windmill, a tiled entrance walk, and tomato and carrot sculptures doubling as bike racks.

The site of Fremont Community Garden has an interesting history…

It was originally home to the Ron Mandella Community Garden (3). This state-owned, undeveloped land was zoned for housing, but it had been used as a community garden for 30 years and was “a central gathering point for gardeners, residents, children and state workers on their lunch hour” (4). In 2001, Capitol Area Development Authority (CADA) announced that the garden land was to be reclaimed by the state and developed into residential use (5):

[This] became a difficult time for the entire community. This pitted those who wanted to keep the site as a garden against those who wanted it developed into housing. In 2002, CADA and the State Department of General Services committed to retain 100% of the community garden square footage. This was accomplished by acquiring a half city block near Southside Park. The land was developed for the new Southside Community Garden located at 5th and W Streets. This garden represented two-thirds of the original Mandella Garden space. Concurrently, CADA and the State set aside one third of the Mandella site to continue as a community garden, now called the Fremont Community Garden. (6)

Soil testing showed toxins in the soil which needed to be removed (7). A California EPA grant was used to remove 24 inches of soil from the entire garden for a total of about $450,000 (8). The soil near the roots of the walnut trees could not be cleaned, and so this area is now used for two bocce ball courts (9).

According to an article on the garden by Anne Hart, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who is a former Charles Manson follower, and the man who pointed a gun at president Gerald Ford in 1975, was a community gardener at the Ron Mandella Community Garden in the 1970s (10).

Now back to the public art…

The steel and glass gazebo called “Bell Pagoda” was created by Chico artists, Patrick Collentine and Susan Larsen (11, 12):

The artists have explored the bell curve form in other works, and in this installation, the pagoda is referred to as a tribute to Sacramento’s Asian history, particularly because the area of Fremont Gardens was once Japantown (13).

Collentine and Larsen are CSU Chico alums and prolific public artists (14, 15, 16). They have a radio show on KZFR called Sonic View where you can “listen to the sounds of poets, artists, and music experimenters, from the 20th Century sound pioneers to the voices and visions of contemporary artists.” (17).

The gazebo has a solar powered neon light structure (18). I’ve driven by at night but have yet to catch it when it is lit.

In another project or theirs, Collentine and Larsen take photos in different locations with a 6-foot-tall photographer’s color bar; this project is called kolorbar and you can see some of the photos of the bar with Cristo’s Gates , in the redwoods, and at Burning Man under a double rainbow. Their main webiste appears to be, and this neon art website, Tesla Neon, seems to be associated with the two artists as well.

Larry Meeks created the carrot and tomato sculptures (19). These funky vegetables function as bike racks. Two carrots and a tomato sit along the grass outside the garden and a pair of each are inside the garden.

Meeks’ website contains a photo gallery of some of his works. He primarily works in metal (steel, brass, bronze and copper) and indigenous river stone (20). The site describes his artwork as flowing “from natural settings and many times reaches the edge of surrealism. He believes that art should make a bold statement and evoke the inner emotion of the viewer” (21).

Meeks public art work can be found around Sacramento including the willowy gates to the inner courtyard of the Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park, and the steel trellises at the World Peace Rose Garden in Capital Park (22). Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission lists 6 pieces by Meeks in their online Art in Public Places Collection. The rain collecting lady bug is a must see.

Meeks is quite active outside of his art (23). He is a syndicated columnist who has written a column called, Ethnically Speaking, since 1991. The site lists Meeks as a pastor of a church, but I was unable to locate a church website for more details (24).

The windmill and the tiled entrance walk were created by Numan Begovic (25). The windmill looks like it will soon be draped by the vine growing on up its wooden structure.

Fall leaves blocked my view, but Sac Metro Arts has a nice photo of the tiled entrance Begovic created for the gardens, which is called “Spirit of the Garden”. They also have a nice photo of the windmill, which is called, “Spirit of the Garden II”. Begovic has numerous other works around Sacramento, Sac Metro Arts lists 9 public art works by him.

Begovic and his wife, Yasmina, were choosen for Sacramento & Co’s “Get Inspired” series for November 18, 2010. The video interview tells some about his history and art. He emmigrated from Bosnia and his art is in numerious mediums including stone, metal, ceramic, and wood. He incorporates memories of his life as symbols within his art (26).

The interviewer asks Begovic why art in public places is important, and he replies, “I think everyone needs art” (27).

Title: Fremont Community Garden
Artist: Numan Begovic, Larry Meeks, and Patrick Collentine & Susan Larsen
Date: 2007?
Media: Metal, wood, ceramic
Location: 14th & Q

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(1) Fremont Garden google group
(2) Fremont Garden google group
(3) Examiner article
(4) CADA project list
(5) CADA project list
(6) CADA project list
(7) CADA project list
(8) Examiner article
(9) Examiner article
(10) Examiner article
(11) Sac Metro Arts newsletter
(12) Chico News & Review article
(13) Chico News & Review article
(14) CSU Chico Humanities newsletter pdf
(15) Chico News & Review article
(16) Chico News & Review article
(18) Tesla Neon
(19) Sac Metro Arts – Art Tour PDF
(22) Sacramento Magazine Best Of
(23) profile
(24) profile
(25) Sac Metro Arts – Art Tour PDF
(26) Sacramento & Co Get Inspired Video
(27) Sacramento & Co Get Inspired Video

INK Bench ~ 2730 N

This elaborate bench was created by Matthew Byrd and sits outside the front door of INK Eats & Drinks.


Byrd is a Sacramento mixed media artist who works in metal, wood, paint, and more (1). He has a Flickr gallery with photos of some of his painting/sculptures and in the photos you can see how he brings in 3-dimensional aspects to his paintings. Here is a photo of the artist with some of his other works.


Turns out I’d already seen some of Byrd’s work last fall when he had a show at The Urban Hive. The Urban Hive is a co-working community here in Sac and I was working there at the time. A number of Byrd’s paintings were hung along the large brick wall.


The metal sculpted flower in the photo above is one of my favorite elements of the bench. I also like the array of colorfully painted images sculpted into the back.


The overall effect is very cool, and there are many smaller details to notice. Like this ship…


The Koi fish and the eye just above it….


Pac Man, blazing heart, checkered flag…


Cherries, knife, sun, star….




The star on the arm rest…


And this random wrench….


The bench fits perfectly with INK’s style and energy, and creates a bright, colorful spot on the corner of the block.


Title: (unknown)
Artist: Matthew Byrd
Date: 2010
Media: Metal, Paint
Location: Ink Eats & Drinks, 2730 N Street

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Under the Microscope: Steel Doors ~ 28th & N

Local artist Keith Peschel crafted these steel doors and grilles for the Sutter Community Parking Garage at 2701 N St. He’s dubbed the design (appropriately for a medical center facility) “Under the Microscope”.

My photos of these pieces leave something to be desired. Some nicer quality photos are posted by the artist at (see photos 36-39).

A gallery of Peschel’s wide ranging work is available on his web site, Rock and Iron Design. He creates wine bars, chairs, doors, gates, hand rails, trellises and many other items from steel. Here is a double-entry gate from his gallery that I like a lot:

Cat Tail Double Entry Gate (7×6 feet)

Amazingly enough, in Peschel’s work, “the Steel has been bent by hand. There is no use of heat or machinery in the bending process” (1). It is hard to imagine cold bending steel is even possible, and I bet it would be fascinating to watch the process.

And a final odd tidbit, Sutter posted a press release (of all things) for the grand opening of the parking garage.

Title: Under the Microscope
Artist: Keith Peschel
Date: 2007
Media: Steel
Location: East and west corners of the alley side of Sutter Community Parking Garage, 2701 N St

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Fuller Poles ~ 16th & Q

The Fuller Poles at 16th & Q enliven the corner of the parking lot of what was once the Fuller Paint store. The sculpture was created by the designstudio of famed graphic designer, Saul Bass, as part of an identity campaign for the Fuller O’Brien Paint Company in the early 1960’s (1). It consists of 81 poles set in a 9 x 9 grid (2).

Originally, all 81 poles were painted a different color (3). They have been repainted at least twice and reduced to about half of the original 81 colors. One site reports that the poles are currently painted 32 (4) colors and another reports 45 (5).

Bass subcontracted this 3D work to a friend, Herb Rosenthal, and the poles were actually designed by Dick Hastings who worked in Rosenthal’s firm (6). Hastings eventually moved to Sacramento; he had an interest in historic buildings and became the city’s first preservation director (7).

Researching this sculpture is the first I’ve heard of Saul Bass. He has an interesting design history:

Saul Bass was one of the nation’s leading graphic designers from 1960 to 1990. He became famous for some of his logo designs for numerous national companies including Quaker Oats, Girl Scouts of America, AT&T, United Way and United Airlines. Bass was also known for his design of film titles, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Psycho. (8)

The poles were first designed for the 1964 World Fair but they were never used for that project (9). Initially, they were designed to be freestanding so they would move with the wind. However, this design proved too costly, so a steel grid was attached to the top in order to restrain the poles from movement (10).

This sculpture is dubbed a Mid-Century icon in Sacramento (11). Mid-Century style “followed the Modernist fashions of the day, including then-new materials like concrete, glass and steel, and new styles inspired by Bauhaus, Prairie and International Style schools of architecture.” (12).

Today, Midtown [Sacramento] is best known for its Victorian and early 20th century architecture, but examples of mid-century architecture and design can be found alongside century-old Queen Annes and heritage trees. During the mid-century era, Midtown’s colorful Italianates were considered gaudy firetraps, Craftsman bungalows plain and uninviting, and revival styles simply unfashionable. Minimalist but bold, Modernism was far better suited to the exciting space-age era of high-speed freeways, jet airplanes, and nuclear power. (13)

Because the sculpture is on private property, it is not protected as public art. The fate of the Fuller Poles lies with the owner of the property. It is encouraging that the poles have been painted in recent years. It is also encouraging that during the opening celebration of BloodSource (the current tenant) in Oct 2009, they handed out “a special poster to celebrate the BloodSource center, its donors and the Saul Bass commissioned poles” (14).

Under the grid is an array of lights and here is a fabulous nighttime photo from another blog:

Photo from The Mehallo Blog article by Michael Kennedy

Title: Fuller Poles
Artist: Saul Bass / Dick Hastings
Date: 1960’s
Media: Metal
Location: 16th & Q

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Stainless Steel Grillwork ~ 15th & O

This interlocking stainless steel grillwork created by Gale McCall can be found on O Street between 14th and 15th along the outside of the childcare facility yard at the Department of Education building.

The fence runs about half of the length of the entire block. There is a door at each end and one in the middle.

Between the doorways, there are eight large circular pieces that are made of interlocking shapes, cut-out like a puzzle and placed back together to make them whole (1).

This grillwork is one of many pieces in the Capitol Area East End Complex Art Program; which is a “$2.8 million art program that emphasizes the values, heritage, direction and goals of the State of California.” (2).

McCall works in a variety of media (3) and in her metalwork she often uses cold bending and welding (4). A few of her other pieces are displayed on this art slant profile. She has a number of public works including Columbia City Station, Port of San Diego, and The City of Whittier

Title: untitled
Artist: Gale McCall
Date: 2002
Media: Stainless Steel
Location: O between 14th & 15th

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Community Roundabout ~ 26th & S

Update Spring 2012: Two of the sculptures were knocked over, apparantly by a car accident, and they have since been removed.

This metal sculpture by Kristen Hoard sits in the roundabout at 26th & S. There are four figures marking each direction of the roundabout.

I can’t think of another roundabout in town that boasts art. Apparently Hoard went through an involved two-year process with the City of Sacramento and the Homeowners Association for this piece:

The public project that Kristen has named “Community” has involved submitting proposals and plans, obtaining engineering approval, and coordinating with other artists and assistants who have also donated their skills to cutting, grinding, powder coating, and eventually erecting the large metal pieces stabilized in concrete in a local traffic circle roundabout. Even the metal has been donated (Blue Collar Supply) since this is one of the few Kristen Hoard pieces that is not constructed of recycled metal (1)

The figures are powder coated a different color on each side, making eight colors total as a symbol of diversity in the Sacramento area (2). I bet it is particularly stunning in the spring when the flowers are in bloom.

Hoard works most often with recycled metal from scrap yards (3). She started working with metal in 1999 in the Bay Area and came to Sacramento about 7 years ago when she bought a house here and transformed the garage into her metal working studio.

My journey into artistry has been in parallel with my spiritual journey. And, I believe these two things are inseparably linked in numerous ways. The feeling I get from working with metal and all the processes involved is all consuming. There is great sensuality in working within this genre, because visually, heat brings out differing colors, shapes and textures that transform simple object into art (4).

You can see more of Hoard’s work on her website,

Title: Community
Artist: Kristen Hoard
Date: 2009
Media: Metal
Location: 26th & S

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Spirit: The Chrome Horse ~ 1814 19th St

This chrome sculpture is an 11-foot tall, 2,500 lb imposing piece of art that dominates the front entrance to Safeway of all things. It is a strange beast. I admit my own intrigued but ambivalent feelings toward this shopping center art. After learning more about the artist, Sean Guerrero (aka The Bumper Hunter), and his work I have more intrigue and less (but still some) ambivalence.

Guerrero builds his sculptures in chrome from recycled bumpers of old cars. On his website, Bumper Hunter, he writes:

As an artist, when I’m alone out there among my latest finds, cutting off the bumpers of these old iron beasts. . . . I envision them as old buffalo that never completely decayed and crumbled into the earth again; different herds of steel buffalo- Pontiacs, Chryslers, Chevys, and Buicks- that all ran together on their prairies of concrete and asphalt. . . . Whether it’s a 14 foot rearing stallion or an imposing Knight on a Horse, I feel that through the reinterpretations I’ve created over the years I’ve preserved their strength and style like a monument to their dignity. (1)

The horse was commissioned by local developer, Paul Petrovich, who is quoted saying “Retail is about life and energy. . . . His art adds lots of energy.” (2) Retail is not about life to me, but Guerrero’s work definitely adds energy.

I was impressed to read a quote by the landlord of Guerrero’s studio in Denver who says, “He doesn’t make any plans, or any sketches, he doesn’t measure anything. . . . He just cuts a piece out and welds it on. It’s unbelievable how he can visually look at this stuff and have it come out the way it does.” (3)

I’ve seen some of Guerrro’s other work and it conveys to me the intensity and power I think he is seeking to convey. His pieces do feel like resurrections of the big chrome bumper car beasts, and the horse lover in me is drawn to what he captures in this piece. I suspect that part of my ambivalence comes from how these pieces evoke the myths of Westerns and the American Dream for me. I am aware of the problems those myths perpetuate so it is difficult to surrender to the images/feeling of the art. Part of the value of art is making us stop to reflect on these things, regardless of the degree to which we “like” the images or not.

Title: Spirit
Artist: Sean Guerrero
Date: 2004
Media: Recycled chrome car bumpers
Location: Safeway storefront, 1814 19th Street

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