Michael Sirvet



I was born in the forested suburbs of the Pascack Valley of New Jersey with a backyard that opened onto a fifty acre wetland. This enchanting area was only twenty miles from all that Manhattan had to offer. My father was a renowned mechanical engineer and my grandmother a painter and nature lover of the highest order. These influences figure heavily not only in my creative life, but my life in general.

I attended Fordham University in New York City where I studied Finance and Art History. Studying in the city was invigorating, enlightening and challenging. After receiving my degree in Finance, I promptly put that to no use whatsoever in the publishing industry. I gravitated more toward the arts, a byproduct of my art history minor and the dynamic culture surrounding me. After leaving Fordham, I spent much time in both the steel canyons of New York City and amid the hills, valleys and waterfalls of northeastern New Jersey. It was during these years that I began to closely relate the machines and intricate mechanical systems of my father’s designs to the complex rhythms, structures and patterns I was discovering in nature.

I am a trail runner, and while running among deer and wild turkey in the hills and hollows of the Ramapo Mountain Range, I decided to return to college for further exploration of the arts and sciences. I attended the University of Maryland where I studied Mathematics, Engineering, Sculpture and Music. The interplay of these varied disciplines was revealing, inspiring, maddening and meditative. I also begin traveling the northeastern hemisphere to devour the most intense offerings of the natural world I could find. I have since camped, hiked and mountaineered over fifty national parks.

I graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in structural engineering and an overflowing fascination with science, the arts, nature and the patterns that bind them together. I was fortunate enough to practice engineering with some of the leading engineering firms in the Washington, DC metropolis; the final six years with one of the leading firms in the world working on such structures as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water, The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and National Museum of American History.

While working as an engineer, the sculptural mindset I had only begun to foster as a sculpture student grew and flourished upon the structures, connections, frames, tension and compression members, and ridged bodies and trusses I designed. I created my own sculptural works in my studio in the evenings and on weekends for years, but as I became more intrigued with structural engineering I became even more intrigued with sculpture. This continued until my desire to focus upon creating artwork eclipsed my desire to practice engineering and so; in the autumn of 2008, gazing into the abyss of the most questionable economy since The Great Depression, I made a leap, and left an amazing engineering career to pursue my career as an artist full-time.

As risky as that was, I am pleased to be making my living producing sculptural artworks using metals, hardwoods and plastics. In addition, I capture still and moving images of many of my sculptures in interesting and complementary sites to create video interpretations of my work. I continue to travel to the remote and fascinating places of the earth to immerse myself in the wonders of nature and upon my return combine them in my studio with the science and mathematics which influence and shape the artwork I create.

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