It is seldom that we come across a furniture craftsperson who transforms static objects into dynamic sculptures that awaken a deeper consciousness and invites viewers to interact with his artworks. One such contemporary artist and designer is Michael Beitz, who describes himself as an American artist challenging the functional design in public spaces.
Beitz’s distorted furniture explores the impact it can have on common people by actually fiddling with the functionality of everyday objects to challenge their minds. His artwork emphatically elicits a range of feelings – a heady mix of intimacy, alienation, and isolation. In other words, his works define the complexity of human relations.
Just a look at Beitz’s surrealistic furniture is enough to convey the way his mind works. The intertwined beds, knotted couches, looping tables, and much more provide commentary on human interaction. Similarly, his outdoor works in public spaces convey social interactions in an urban setting. A case in point is his portrayal of tables and benches cascading like a waterfall from buildings that not only provide a visual delight but also conveys a deeper underlying meaning.
It all began when Beitz, who was born in Buffalo, New York, USA, happened to witness the works of the Navajo potter, Maria Martinez, as a youngster. It inspired him to start experimenting with ceramics with the clay he found near his home. So smitten was he with this medium of art that he went on to study ceramics as Alfred University, New York, USA, where he earned a degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts.
However, Beitz changed tracks and turned his attention to furniture as a medium of art. For this, he spent years training under the world-famous American furniture artist, Wendell Castle. That he acquired amazing wood craftsmanship skills is evident in all his furniture artworks. Later, he also earned a degree in Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University at Buffalo, USA.
After teaching at the Art and Art History Department at the University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado, the USA for some years, Beitz moved to Berlin, Germany, where he is presently based. Today, his unique works have recognized the world over.
Beitz’s works are displayed in Banksy’s Bemusement Park, ‘Dismaland’ in the UK, and The Design Museum in London, UK. His works can be seen on his website and also on several social media platforms. He also performs public art commissions and interventions.