FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — In his comfortable shop in Fergus Falls, the sound of grinders and welders. Jeff Zachmann puts the finishing touches on yet another kinetic sculpture. Nearby, another piece is heading for a buyer in the Middle East.
But Zachmann has just completed a special piece that moves like no other. At the Kaddatz Art Gallery in downtown Fergus, Zachmann’s 1,000th kinetic sculpture is on display.
“I use a lot of found metal, whether it’s from farm implements or 55-gallon drums — stuff I find scrapyards,” Zachmann said.
With the flip of a switch, a 9-volt battery charges up a mesmerizing symphony of marbles, chains and cogs.
“I have a garage full of cans of marbles,” Zachmann said with a laugh.
Some of the pieces for kinetic art come from everywhere, from places like junkyards or hardware stores.
“There are balls going up in these little cups, the ones spilling out and also these little forks here in the back of the pickup, and then (the balls) start rolling down the slope,” Zachmann explained.
With this sculpture number 1,000, Zachmann has many fond memories, thanks to how his art affected others.
“Most artists will have one or two people watching at a time, and I’ll have 20 people in my booth all day, every day. It’s just, ‘oh look at this’ (…) That bring people in and just hold them,” Zachmann said.
Fulfilling commissions and sending his sculptures across the country and around the world, his art is worth thousands of dollars.
Each piece is always unique. Always moving.
“People are drawn to the movement,” he said.
“I think people are basically like cats,” Zachmann said. “They’re just, ‘what is it, what is it,’ and have to go see it,” Zachmann said.
Watching the marbles jump from one track to another, other pieces spinning, it’s like the kinetic child never left that childhood, playing with marbles in the pile of dirt decades ago .
“The best times I have are when I’m all alone in the studio,” Zachmann said. “I light up some blues, calm down, and work out. It’s the most calming thing. My mind just gets caught up in it, (and) everything else falls apart.”
To see more of Zachmann’s sculptures, visit: http://www.zachmann.com/