Marco Rando combines his passion for sculpture and design with the needs of his young children to create unusual and portable art. Rando and his family use the child-friendly policies of many museums to their advantage, by wheeling his children into the museum on one of his artistic creations and exhibiting his work alongside other works of art. Rando calls his impromptu creative experience "Improv Kinetic Exhibitions."
"My family and I have performed kinetic exhibitions with my strollers in museums and galleries," said Rando on his official Web site. "Using these spaces to evoke a spontaneous experience of sculpture and display."
Although exhibit onlookers and museum patrons are often unsure of how to categorize or relate to his art at first glance, it doesn’t take them long to appreciate his creative freedom and element of surprise.
"Well one thing with Marco was that we had seen his work at the first show we opened this space with called ‘Imprint,’" said Joanne Bauer, GRACE’s exhibition director. "It was for people who had grown up in the Reston/Herndon area who had become professional artists. I think what did it for me was how compelling they [his art] were as structural objects. They were just visually beautiful."
Currently Rando’s artwork is featured at the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) at the Reston Town Center until June 16 alongside Sandra Woock of Bethesda, Md. On May 12 he hosted a workshop in kinetic sculpture at the GRACE building.
What is your inspiration for your art besides your children?
My inspiration also comes from a group of artists, the Dada’s and the Dadaist movement. You have artists like Ron Cousy who, at an early age, I just fell in love with his work. I later found out he influenced a fellow by the name of Noguchi who was also a big influence as well. The influence from my education and product design, also the influence of woodcarving. The ability to take a material like wood and really be able to play with it … an art form that is almost as ancient as the wood itself; woodcarving being the art form. It’s a real whole process of creating; there was something about that being a wonderful inspiration.
What other galleries have you presented at?
Well the whole thing is these things were created not only for my kids but to be put on display in the museums up in New York. So we’ve been in all the major museums. Improvisational kinetic exhibitions are when we’ll put the children on the strollers and go through the Museum of Modern Art. That’s my favorite [museum] because I love the space. I know it very well, it has been through modernization in the last five years but I knew it well before then and I know it after and I knew it very well as a child. I have always loved the spatial relationships in that museum. It was great to have a piece move through the museum, to actually have an exhibition on movement, hence kinetic. Certain pieces were specifically done for certain shows.
What got you started creating this art form?
I started when my kids were young. I did my first woodcarving in 1995. I started with woodcarving and it sort of moved away from pencil and paper. I’ll still jot down an idea or draw a thumbnail just to get a concept, a lot of times what I create in three dimensions has nothing to do with the finished product. You can’t see the relationship. This process of creating is a growing process, it doesn’t happen all at once. I’ll play with pieces to see what they look like and I might get to a certain point and find another piece of wood that I would want to add to the piece. I have this thing where I say "I don’t find the wood, the wood finds me."
I understand that your father is an artist, what influence has he had on you?
A major influence, he of course brought me to the museums. He is my connection, he brought the books like Ron Cousy and Henry Moore … he brought the books into the house at a very early age, like 5 or 6 years old. Traveling to Europe, living in Rome, visiting all the museums in Rome and being exposed to art at a very early age.
It is my understanding that you left the area for some time?
Yeah I actually left twice. At first I was up in Brooklyn, I started to create the strollers. Then Sept. 11 brought us back. It took my wife six hours to walk out of Manhattan and we just started thinking about raising kids and thought why not bring it back home? I started building a house in 1991, my father’s house where my studio is and that was a big influence on my work as well … I really got experience with hands-on constructing. It was contracting and constructing a house as opposed to carving but it all relates.
How would you say your environment affects your creative process?
It greatly does. Going to New York is like getting recharged with energy. New York is wonderful, the people, the energy, it definitely gave me a lot of juice to create …. I can’t say that Virginia is the same way; it is different. It is not that same sort of immersion, it’s more organic, it is being around nature more.
Do you have any peers or contemporaries that you draw inspiration from?
There is a fellow, Martin Puryear, he’s an artist out of Washington, D.C. I really relate to him in the sense that he uses wood in the traditional sense and he mixes it with other materials. I just recently discovered him and he’s a fantastic artist.
Is this the only medium of art you create?
I actually create mobiles; it’s still sculpture but it hangs from the ceiling. I have played around with a few organic pieces, doing some pieces outside. There’s a fellow by the name of Andy Goldsworthy where you just take nature directly and create a design with it and just let nature take it over. I’ve played with other stuff like that. The performances are what is bringing me to a differently level, how can I make sculpture more of a performance