Sculpture name: “The Kissing Bench”
Artist: Matt Cartwright
Details: The interactive bench is on the south side of the 500 block of Main Street at the entrance to the breezeway.
Interested in purchasing? Call 245-9697 for information.
This steel sculpture invites downtown visitors to rest their keister and pucker up their kisser, if the opportunity presents itself.
“The Kissing Bench” is the brainchild of designer and fabricator Matt Cartwright. The Portland, Oregon, artist grew up in Broomfield and it was during a drive home in the summer of 2005 to visit his parents that he stopped in Grand Junction.
“My wife has friend in GJ so we stopped to visit, went to a restaurant and bar downtown and I saw the Art on the Corner,” Cartwright wrote in an email to The Daily Sentinel.
The following year, he entered his “Lotus Bench” sculpture in the city of Broomfield’s “Green Space Program” and eventually applied a few times to the Art on the Corner program, “after getting some public art traction in Portland,” he wrote.
“I developed a technique (for the ‘Lotus Bench’) using formed flat bar for (the) seating surface and formed pipe as a frame for the organic shape of the Lotus,” he wrote.
“A few years ago, I was looking at photos of the Lotus and saw something that looked like lips. I made some maquettes/models to work it out scale-wise to fit two people.”
“The Kissing Bench” invites couples strolling along Main Street, to take a break and sit a spell. Or as Cartwright suggests, “… to steal a quick kiss on a steel thing that seems to be kissing.”
“I also wanted to make something glossy, sexy and creates a moment with God,” he wrote.
Cartwright’s day job includes building beer brewing equipment, but at the end of the day, he likes to make functional art.
“If I make a piece of public art I try to make it do something other than just being art. I like to work with metal because of its permanence and its scale ability. So I make public seating, artsy things to lock bikes to, or fancy gates.”
His ideas for projects are often born from work leftovers “or wreckage that might spark something,” he wrote.
Whether he dreams it up, sketches it, makes a model or it’s an extension of a client’s idea, Cartwright seeks to figure out how things can be rearranged and combined to enhance or evoke emotion.