When Joe Riche hit Denver as a University of Denver MFA candidate in the late '90s, he was an inventive kid with big ideas, interested in building kinetic and robotic machine-dream sculptures and unwilling to to let the size of those creative visualizations slow him down. He went on to play out those ideas, etched in fire, with the Motoman Project, which perfected a form of flame-throwing machine performance throughout the last decade.Demiurge fabrication studio was born: Demiurge works with large-scale sculptors to realize their monumental public-art pieces. And while running that, Riche has also fabricated a few sculptures of his own, including the familiar work, Trade Deficit, a jumble of shipping container parts rising out of the concrete at the intersection of Broadway and Blake Street. Now he's set to install a new sculpture of polygonal shapes in Republic Plaza at the end of this month. Demiurge has also instigated a residency program for young artists who, like Riche himself, have big ideas; recent Colorado Creative subject Amber Cobb was the first to complete the program. And because we think big ideas are what being a Colorado Creative is really all about, we asked Riche to answer our 100CC questionnaire. Read on to see the results.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Joe Riche: Marcel Duchamp and Jean Tinguely: Duchamp for his concept that he is an artist because of his mind, not because of the objects he creates. That was a day the universe changed for me. His machine assemblages inspired my early sculpture, and his cubist paintings are now informing my new work. Tinguely, because I think it would be a blast to create sculpture as freely as he does. The rigidity of his found object materials doesn't slow down his assembly process. The baggage that a found object has doesn't affect him. They are just forms, and he places them where they make the best formal contribution to the sculpture.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Their work in generative design and parametrics is really exciting to me right now. 3D digital design tools are finally being used to create more than presentation materials -- they are now able to directly interface with CNC production equipment to become an integral part of the fabrications process. We at the Demiurge shop are further working towards a seamless integration between the digital aspects of the design studio to the analog format of the fabrication shop. That's still the weak link in the process, but it's achievable with an open mind to letting the design tech infiltrate and inform the production methods of the shop.Continue reading for more from Joe Riche.