Local artist Nick Lillard is displaying one of his sculptures on campus during the Christmas season.
The sculpture, “Ornament,” is a large red and green structure mounted outside of Norick Art Center.
Like most of Lillard’s pieces, the sculpture is made from 100 percent re-appropriated materials. He originally made it for a Christmas art show in Ponca City. It took him about four months to complete
“I did a mixture of welding, bolting and stitching, attaching pieces together with fishing line, zip ties and baling wire,” Lillard said. “It’s intentionally placed at a weird angle because Christmas has turned into an odd, materialistic adventure. I’m kind of embracing that, but the main comment I’m making is that I made my representation of Christmas out of what I had and what other people threw away, instead of buying it brand new.”
The sculpture will remain on display through the Christmas season. Afterward, Lillard will store it until next Christmas.
Mike Wimmer, distinguished artist in residence and director of visual art, knew Lillard from various art shows and events in Oklahoma City.
“Nick showed me a picture of his sculpture last year, so I asked if he’d be willing to bring it here,” Wimmer said. “It’s helpful that we’re using it in an exhibition for Joe Slack, an Oklahoma City sculpture artist, in January.”
Wimmer also asked Lillard to guest lecture in his 3-D and figurative sculpture class for a day in November to teach safety and welding tips, along with proper use of the plasma cutter.
Kyla Bruegel, film production sophomore, attended Lillard’s workshop and said it was awesome.
“It seems intimidating with the sparks flying everywhere, but, once you start welding, it’s actually very relaxing,” Bruegel said. “I think it’s a great skill to have, and I ended up welding for one of my art projects.”
Lillard has taught longer workshops at OCU in the past and may return in the future, Wimmer said.
“I like teaching all ages, as long as the students are motivated to make their own art,” Lillard said. “I also like teaching a variety of topics, as I’ve developed multiple different art styles over the years.”
Throughout his undergraduate degree at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Lillard focused mainly on figurative art with the human figure. When he graduated, he began doing abstract metal work and created a studio in Norman. His pieces are usually large and often include robotic elements.
“My interest is in kinetic art, and I work with an electrical engineer to cross the line between art and engineering,” Lillard said. “My pieces may take many months to complete. Sometimes, I build them so that I can get inside and perform in them.”
Lillard is working with another artist to create a 12-by-eight-foot mural. By 2018, he hopes to complete a safe and city street legal vehicle that will comment on the cutting-edge engineering of today.