Interview with Found Object Artist Kerry Heath

“Montpelier, Ohio, Oct.6 1963-Hung by my ankles, spanked on the ass by a doctor, cried like a little baby, and met my new parents for the first time. (cute couple) The spanking didn't hurt, I cried because there was no art on the walls. Very sad.”
--Found Object Artist Kerry Heath

Art Heart 5

What breathes life into your work? 

My passion for art and creating something from raw materials, this is a huge part of who I am.

Among your other work, you create ‘found art’ sculpture. I suspect you tend to see artistic value in objects that many people take for granted or even discard. Do you think sculptors who create using found objects see the world in a unique way?

I think all artists see the world in a unique way but I also think that some people just don't look. Beauty and inspiration is everywhere.

Fillet of Fish 3

Twisted Fish 116

Twisted Fish 56

What was the inspiration for your Twisted Fish series? There are so many of them, though each is unique; I am thinking when inspiration hit you, it really hit you. :) Would that be correct?

I sold my work at the Sarasota Farmer's Market for 4 years and that's when I started creating my Twisted Fish. They were a big hit with my customers and they're still popular today.

Your Twisted Fish series sculptures are so expressive and colorful. I know your work has been featured on HGTV's Crafters Coast to Coast and is in collections all over the world. What do you think is the attraction of collectors to found object art? What was the pull for you to get into that particular form of sculpture?

I've always been a bit of a pack rat so I have lots of treasures that I've collected over the years and I'm always searching for more. I think art collectors are always looking for that one unique piece, that piece that you never get tired of looking at and with found object art, the sky is the limit.




You also create hand-carved art. How do you decide what the faces will look like? Is the wood type or wood grain part of that decision, or does that matter?

I doodle and sketch a lot so I have stacks of designs to refer to. The wood grain has little to do with my designs since most of my work is finished with paint. Basswood is my favorite wood to carve my designs in.

Do you see the faces as you work, or do you know in advance the expressions that you want to create?

I love to take a block of wood and just start drawing on it but I usually make a lot of changes as I go so I don't have many pencils around with erasers left on them.


This work is unique in that 3D glasses are another part of the viewing experience. This work is actually painted in 3-D. What made you think of that? Have you created other works of this type?

Certain color combinations are used to get the 3d affect, there are no special paints required. Most of my paintings are done in 3d.

What makes you feel that your work is completed and ready for display? Do you have a sort of internal checklist of the elements that need to be present?

I really don't have a checklist. I could always add something new to a "finished" piece so in my mind no piece is ever finished until it's sold.

What is a typical project like for you as an artist, in terms of planning and construction? How long does it typically take to complete a project?

This is a tough question for me to answer. I have so many ideas and designs in mind so it's hard to focus on just one at a time, I never do. I typically have 75 to 100 pieces in progress.

Big Hug 4U

Are you ever surprised by your work?

No, I'm happy with my work but never surprised.

Do you have a favorite project that you have completed?

I don't really have a favorite project but I did build my tv cabinet and I'm quite fond of this piece. It has a lot of hand carved work and found objects in the design. A very colorful, funky piece. I've thought about listing it on Etsy but I wouldn't sell it for less than 15,000.00

Mini Mask 21

Jazz Man 4

Mona the Mermaid

What primarily inspires an idea for your work – the materials, or something external?

I am inspired by everything around me. I keep a sketch pad with me at all times, I have many. I see things in my dreams so I keep one next to my bed.

Road Rage 4

There is humor in your work. Was it a tough day on the road that inspired this one? (I had to ask.) :--)

No, it wasn't a tough day on the road. I'm a very laid back driver, my father is the road rager.

What do you like most about what you do?

My freedom to create and to come and go as I please, my freedom. With my work, I allow people to laugh and smile in this sometimes too serious world that we live in and this makes me happy. I'm not ashamed to say this but I also struggle with anxiety so my time in the studio is also therapy for me. I can't imagine my life without my art!

Thank you, Kerry! I appreciate your time and thoughtful answers about your fun and unique art!

To see more of Kerry Heath's art, visit his Etsy shop Fig Jam Studio.

All images in this interview are used by permission, are property of Kerry Heath, and are copyright protected.

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