“IF IT’S NOT making you think, it’s not good art,”
proclaims Costco member Steven Steinman
( www.stevesteinmanfineart.com), a fine artist
whose latest project transforms
junk into a cultural message. In
the ArtZone, his studio in Atlanta,
the professional sculptor, artist
and educator has worked for
more than 30 years to make
people think and feel in
response to the form and shape
of otherwise ordinary objects.
In his new series of sculptures, Remade in America,
Steinman, 65, uses recycled metal
to redefine viewers’ concepts of consumption. The impermanence of many
modern products troubles him, so much so
that he utilizes junkyard scraps to remind peo-
WHEN THE RECESSION hit,
Costco member Steve Cinnamon
lost everything. Suffering from
depression and recovering from
a heart attack, the former ad
executive discovered cigar-box
guitars, a musical relic dating
back to slavery. A do-it-yourselfer who is handy with tools,
Cinnamon decided to make one
and found it therapeutic.
“Suddenly I had the feeling of
self-worth again,” he recalls.
When a friend of his wife’s
begged to buy his first guitar,
Cinnamon made another, which
also sold quickly, so he kept at
Finding beautiful art
in junkyard scraps
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it. His second year, he sold 35
guitars. The year after: 270.
His clients, who include blues
bands, sometimes buy three at
a time and hail from all over the
country. Now his goal is to get
his awe-inspiring throwback
guitars, which fetch up to $350,
into the hands of as many
celebrities as possible. “I’d like
to become the biggest name
in cigar-box guitars,” says
Cinnamon. “The sky’s the limit.”
Cinnamon makes the guitars
in his Sarasota, Florida, work-
shop ( www.cottinpickinblues.
com). No two are the same. His
guitars, which can take a day
and a half to build, use bathtub
drains for resonators and have
fret boards made of sanded-
down finishing nails. “People
have even brought me old, beat-
up cigar boxes,” he says, “say-
ing, ‘My father used to save
things in this. You think you can
make a guitar out of it?’ ”
Cinnamon loves to see the
expression on a person’s face
upon seeing the nifty musical
instrument he’s just created:
“Tears come to their eyes. It’s
an incredible feeling.”
music Left: Steve Cinnamon rocks
out. Inset: One of his creations, the electric resonator.
ple that everything is art and is to be cherished.
“It’s my statement about economically and
conceptually … where this country now stands,”
Steinman exclaims. Citing a loss of pride in man-
ufactured goods, he wishes people
cared enough to want to fix them
rather than throw them away.
“Everything that we have
as consumers, what people
don’t realize, is that all of those
things are art,” he says. By using
recycled pieces, he wants people
to see how many otherwise insig-
nificant items can come together to
become a beautiful work of art. “By
understanding everything as art, it helps
you understand everything better,” he says.
“With sculpture, that’s what I’m trying to do.”
recycled pieces, he wants people
WHAT STARTED OUT as a dream for artist
and Costco member Hannah Stevenson has
become MiniMe Paper Dolls.
Stevenson’s successful concept is fairly
simple. Customers choose from eight different dolls and select various skin-tone, hair-color, eye-color and “extra” options, which
include glasses, freckles, etc. She has made
more than 2,000 personalized paper dolls for
customers over the past four years through
her company, Lily & Thistle Creative Studio
( www.lilyandthistle.com).—Laura Bode