The thing I most love about my honey, Steve Heller (http://fabulousfurnitureon28.com ), is that he is absolutely sure of what he likes and what works. There’s no waffling in his world. Once he spent over a week constructing a dinosaur-head made from found metal. One day he stood back, looked at it for a long time, and decided that the wrench that was the supporting piece for the neck didn’t work. “Soup,” he told me when I tried to talk him out of taking that dinosaur apart.
“Soup” is the worst thing Steve can say about art, especially his own. We learned that from Lily Tomlin. In her brilliant one woman show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Tomlin pointed to a huge picture of a Campbell’s soup can. “Soup” she said. Then she showed us Andy Warhol’s iconic painting of the same can. “Art.” Long pause. Soup. Art. Soup. Art. Tomlin’s head spun from left to right, like the little girl in The Exorcist. Soup. Art.
Needless to say, that dinosaur’s head was in pieces in 2 hours flat!
Steve doesn’t live in the world of “good enough.” He hates that kind of thinking. When people at breakfast wish him an innocuous, “Don’t work too hard,” he absolutely bristles. “Why not work as hard as possible?” he’ll ask. They are never sure exactly how to respond.
Because he can only work on his metal sculptures outside in the spring, summer, and fall, this long cold winter was really hard on him. He decided he was going to make a robot, which he could work on in the shop. He had been thinking about robots for years, but hadn’t found the inspiration. This time he dug some pieces out from the snow, pieces he’s been collecting for decades. They included a taillight from a 1919 car, a floor waxer, and chrome motorcycle shock absorbers. His first robot, the General, was fabulous. In real Steve Heller fashion--- OCD meets ADD--- he started making 6 more. Now he has a battalion of robots, each more gorgeous and clever than the next.