By Fred Currant and Max von Menzing
Q: When did you first take a wire hanger and make it into a figure
Stephan: When I was twenty something; after the first time of getting my clothes back from the dry cleaners on one of them.
Q: Why Wire Hangers
Stephan: They are one of those things that are everywhere and they just tend to accumulate.
Q: How did you see that they could become figures and sculptures?
Stephan: I probably saw it in one of the hangers that had warped after carrying too much. Maybe it was because they pop up everywhere and you have to keep throwing them away. That isn’t easy since they somehow never fit into trash cans. Then you start bending them and all off a sudden you have a figure - a Wireman or Wirewoman.
Q: Do you use any tools?
Stephan: Not really - it’s all done by hand. Sometimes I step on them to straighten them out.
Q: When did you begin to put the wiremen in boxes?
Stephan: At first most of them were made to be put against a surface like a wall and often there are several in a setting. Usually they would just be lying around or sitting on ledges or shelves after I made them. But I also always have had a lot of cigar boxes lying around and so I put the two together. The boxes give the wiremen a setting - sometimes the box is more like a cell and sometimes it just gives them a place to settle into. Of course it protects them too.
Q: Are they fun?
Stephan: If they make people smile and happy then quite a lot is achieved.
Q: Do you make more than one copy of each figure?
Stephan: Not really, every pieces is unique and has a different expression and intention.
Q: Aren’t you afraid to be copied?
Stephan: To be copied is the a form of flattery!
Q: But not only artists can do it. Everybody can. Will we soon have millions of wiremen..
Stephan: That means they would be everywhere. That is fine with me - it’s a very social concept for a sculpture.
Q: But it sounds more like making copies on a computer.
Stephan: Maybe, but everybody gets an original. Its a concept like couture or ready-made.
Q: Used wire hangers usually get used as antennas.
Stephan: As antennas, as skeleton keys and there are many other good, sad, bad and ugly ways of using them!
Q: Is it a poor man's sculpture? Or is it folk art, tramp art or maybe even high art?
Stephan: Those are all labels, but being part of one of these art forms is nothing to be ashamed of. Art should be for everyone - I guess then it would be labeled “crossover”!