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A Gay in the Life: Erwin Overes
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

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Erwin Overes shares his personal thoughts, feelings and emotions in artwork that he sculpts, all centered around material found on and around trees.

"I put my feelings in many [of the sculptures]. It's almost impossible to make some art and not put your own life experience in it," Overes said. "It doesn't mean that the viewer has the same life experience, but that's not a primary focus."

So his sculptures often include bark, branches and more. He often creates an amazing three-dimensional painting.

"I focus a lot on craftsmanship, probably because [my background] originates from furniture. I like my work to be flawless," said Overes, now in his third local studio.

He started in America by making furniture for several years, but found that to be restrictive since

furniture must also be functional.

"I never wanted to make simple furniture [similar] to what you could buy at IKEA; I wanted to make something that will last, that people would be proud of," he said.

Overes earned a master's degree a few years ago. He now works with many natural materials.

"My way of restoring and sculpting those materials, and applying the finish, helps me to find answers," he said. "I hope the simplicity of the finished sculptures stimulates the viewer to ponder his own [life]."

With trees as his base, he's moved beyond furniture—but he almost had to.

"Many wondered, is it a piece of furniture or a piece of art? I wanted it to be clear," he said.


Age: 48

Neighborhood: Lakeview

Job title: Sculptor; runs his own studio in Pilsen

Hobbies: Tennis, bicycle riding, watching movies

All-time favorite movie: Ludwig (1972)

Coming to America: Moved to the United States in 1999 and to Chicago in 2001

Little-known fact: "Growing up, I wanted to be a math teacher."

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