Tag Archives: Harry Moritz

Harry Moritz’s Humachanical Complex

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.

Harry Moritz's lathe.

Harry Moritz’s lathe.

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.

Harry Moritz calls this piece "Pallet Precarity."

Harry Moritz calls this piece “Pallet Precarity.”

“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.

Harry Moritz's banana art. It stayed up for just 24 hours.

Harry Moritz’s banana art. It stayed up for just 24 hours.

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.

Harry Moritz, in his Stamford studio.

Harry Moritz, in his Stamford studio.

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 harrymoritz@hotmail.com). 


Growing Through A Gap Year

From time to time, I’ve reprinted Staples principal John Dodig’s thoughts from the PTA newsletter, “For the Wreckord.”

This time, the newsletter’s insights come from a 2010 graduate, Harry Moritz. Whether you’ve got a child now of any age, are a kid today — or once were one — his words are worth reading.

Staples has more opportunities for its students than many other high schools in this country. For me, Staples was a place to explore my creativity through the variety of art classes that were available.

Harry Moritz

However, being the unsettled teenager I was (as are many teenagers), I quickly rejected subjects that to me made little “sense”– such as math. My first 3 years in high school were overall positive and exciting. But the moment I heard that I had gotten into college, high school seemed more meaningless to me than ever. The idea of even trying in math class was more pointless to me than it was useful or productive. I just wanted to be free.

By December of senior year I felt very unmotivated. I dragged my feet to school, seemingly unhappy with my situation: Why did I have to go to high school? I thought of school as such a burden, and could not wait until I was done.

Sometime in the early winter months I began asking myself if going to college straight after high school would be the best idea for myself. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to attend college but I simply was not ready. I thought, “What is the reason for spending $50,000 a year on a college that I am not mentally prepared for?”

It was this question that has made my life as amazing as it has been. I decided that I would take one year off before attending college in order to get my brain in the right place. So, upon graduating I worked endlessly throughout the summer in order to save money. At the end of August 2010 I left Westport and began my journey. The details of my year are not as important as what it is I am trying to explain.

The important aspects of my year off are the lessons that I learned: Hard work, keeping an open mind and staying positive. These 3 attributes are what I acquired by taking a year off.

A year on a farm can provide a valuable education.

For a parent, it may seem very far off that your child should ever be set free into this world of madness. However, the qualities that can be achieved through experiences of traveling, farming and connecting with nature are what truly feeds the work ethic and responsibility to get the most out of a college education.

For some, college is a party. Classes can take a back seat for too many students, especially in their first year when they are finally “free” from their parents. With all of the drinking and drugs readily available to students on a college campus, it is no wonder why a freshman year (if not longer) can turn into an endless time of debauchery.

For me, taking a year off put this behavior in perspective. Not only that, but I gained a sense of independence to where I felt that I did not need to give in to peer pressures of just “hanging out” or going to a party.

I realized that I have my own individual characteristics and passions that in order to feed, I must prioritize my time. I came to understand that partying is not what college should really be about.

College is about challenging oneself, and in turn gaining knowledge and personal beliefs about the world in which we live.

Through my experiences I learned what the balance of opposites truly means (otherwise known as the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang). Our lives are balanced by what are sometimes seen as imbalances. What I have found through my experiences is that the time I took to travel and the work I put in on farms directly correlates to the mentality and work ethic that I hold in college. Without my year off, my college experience would be completely different (and in many cases much less satisfying).

So, for any parent to who feels that a gap year between high school and college is a complete waste of time or that it may have a negative impact on your son or daughter: Please reconsider.

The path to a college diploma need not be straight.

It is actually an investment. It is an investment in their lives and yours. All too often our society urges people to rush from one thing to the next. Rushing will not enable anyone to get the most out of what it is they are trying to achieve. By taking a year off, your son or daughter will have time to develop the part of themselves that is completely individual. This aspect will in turn yield a happy and wholesome sense of well-being, while building up a work ethic that will directly impact their mindset upon attending college.

Harry welcomes any questions, from anyone: harrymoritz@hotmail.com