Harry Moritz spent an entire night constructing a banana-based work of art. His aim was to show the relationship between human consumption, decay, and the seldom-seen world of transportation and mechanics behind it. The piece lasted a day, before the artist dismantled it.
Most of Moritz’s work is more permanent. Using a 1940s-era lathe, plus screws, gears and bushings he creates and his own imagination, the 2010 Staples graduate is forging an identity as a sculptor.
It’s a path few classmates would follow.
A painter during his high school years — inspired by teachers like Camille Eskell, Jonathan Nast and Angela Simpson — Moritz took a gap year after graduation, to travel and work.
As a Pratt Institute sophomore, he walked into a metal shop. Suddenly, he had a new home.
“As a sculptor, your art supply store is Home Depot,” he says, describing his fascination with big machines that make precise things. He still draws every night. But much of his day is spent creating sculptures in which all the parts move and mesh.
Moritz calls his work “humachanical.” He examines the infrastructure that supports manufacturing and transportation, which enables society to efficiently produce and transport the objects we need.
Moritz says he explores those processes, and their effect on the human condition. “Machines would have no purpose without humans,” he notes.
He learned a lot at Pratt. But he furthered his education at Housatonic Community College’s advanced manufacturing program. Moritz learned how to operate machines, along with math and blueprint reading.
He just landed a job with a New York lighting design and manufacturing company. That will help pay the bills, as he works in his studio building big, artistic contraptions.
Moritz is particularly proud of his lathe. He found it in Massachusetts, through Craigslist.
“It’s the machine that creates other machines,” he explains. “I’m always thinking of how to be creative with it.” Sculpture, Moritz says, “is not just about wood carving. It’s also fabrication and welding.”
(Click below for a video Harry made — that’s him, in a story about lathes.)
Why does he take this tough path?
“I need to express my imagination. I feel I have something to bring to the world.” he says. “I’m not concerned about making money with it. I know I’m lucky. I don’t have to pay rent for my studio.” (He uses his grandmother’s garage, in Stamford.) “I have a job. I’m not starving.”
Like most artists, he would like his work to be in shows and galleries. But he also sets up on the sides of highways and rivers (and, once, in Westport’s Stop & Shop parking lot.) He plans to push his “Downward Spiral” around Wall Street.
Harry Moritz admits he himself is a work in progress. He loves to travel, and though he currently lives and works in Westport, Stamford and New York, he has no idea where he — and his art — will end up.
“Right now though,” he says, “I’m where I need to be.”
(For more information, visit www.harrymoritz.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org).