This is the stone I have been carving for over thirty years. Its name has changed over time as the people that quarry it investigate its properties. I have taken to calling it ‘Farrago,’ a Latin word for ‘mixed.’ It is mined north of Las Vegas in a small area of BLM land where, two billion years ago, the strata of volcanic deposits that are commonly seen in the eroded face of the Grand Canyon were mixed by the intrusion of molten silicates. I’ve never seen another stone like it, and everyone that I’ve shown it to tell me they’ve never seen anything like it before either. As much as I hate the term ‘unique,' this is a singular deposit available nowhere else in the world.

Thirty-five years ago I was visiting Storm King and became inspired by an Isamu Noguchi work, Mamo Toro, to pursue stone sculpting. At the time I thought it more of a hobby, and doubted that someone like me, an engineering prototyper, could really create a work of art. But I thought I could copy, or create a piece in the manner of, since I had already produced many Duchamp inspired objects and had a working knowledge

of construction tools. Feeling that I needed to find a material that could act as a signature, since I thought my work would be derivative, I experimented with the different stones I could find in the Masonry Supply yards around Long Island, where I’m from.

As fortune would have it a prospector had discovered this stone and was beginning to market it as raw decorative rock to mason yards. It was a bit of good luck in the timing, since the raw stone did not fare well in the local climate and the company only carried it for a few years, and no other area supplier was interested. Over time I developed a high-temperature wax sealant to bring out the natural color and protect the stone from the outdoor elements, whether they be the freeze-thaw cycles of the north or the arid sun of the desert. It also prevents any oils and dirt from building up due to handling. The colors of the stone are permanent, in fact I’ve tried many ways of ‘bleaching’ them without success.

The more I worked with the stone the more attracted I became. In some respects it mirrors my thought patterns. Combining a strong visual memory with inspiration from modern painters rather than past sculptors, I’ve created a new form of sculpture, one that relies on the skills of an individual artist. Very few sculptors I’ve met actually do their own work, leaving assistants or fabricators to bring their vision to life. Soon most of the work will be done with 3D printers, and what was considered a sculptor will become a designer.

I’ve always taken my subconscious seriously. That’s strange for most people to say, and that I became aware of, and began to manipulate it, at six years old is almost disturbing. I started meditating seriously in my early teens and developed an interest in the arts soon after. Things happened with the stone that would be impossible for my conscious mind to deal with, but I was comfortable enough to stay open to those occurrences and continue working.

Is there a difference between creativity and inventiveness? Maybe it was the engineering background that lets me be more comfortable thinking I’m still in the R&D lab, developing potential uses for a new material.

The Spacescapes, as I call them, are a series that I’ve kept working on since 1989. Some of them have nicknames, but for the most part they are just numbered.

Kirk McCoy
Tucson, Az.
520 784-3402

(The Mae West Nebula)

(The Catcher’s Mitt Nebula)

 carved in stone, farrago, stone sculpture, direct carving