(Photos | Courtesy of Miguel Edwards)
Bend Artist Miguel Edwards previously appeared in local news when his sculpture, Hope Rising, served as the cauldron of fire for the 50th Special Olympics in 2018, and went on to light up Bend Winterfest 2019, for which he was the featured artist.
Recently, Miguel completed installation of his latest large public sculpture in the Seattle Center district of downtown Seattle.
The sculpture, titled El Sol: Elevate, is a striking, seven-foot sphere formed by curved layers of steel and glass. The sphere rises 20 feet to overlook the courtyard at Center Steps, a new development across from the Seattle Ballet and near the Space Needle, and it’s visible from Mercer, Roy and 2nd streets.
El Sol: Elevate was inspired by Miguel’s very first public sculpture, a sphere titled El Sol. Miguel decided to circle back to this type of sphere because of a unique connection to both time and place.
The original, El Sol was unveiled in 2009 — another tumultuous time in the world. It was shown at Seattle’s Carkeek Park for the first annual heaven and earth exhibit by CoCA, (Center on Contemporary Art), and was followed by El Sol: Shining Through, displayed in Bellevue in 2012.
“So, with Elevate, I came back to my beginnings not only because this is a time when we are again in crisis, but also because of this iconic area in Seattle — it’s only about a half-mile from the neighborhood and the studio where my career began. I wanted to create something that would lift the gaze of passers-by, inspire a moment of contemplation and hopefully elevate the outlook of a community I care about — one that has seen its share of challenges lately.”
Bend artist Greg Amanti assisted Miguel on El Sol: Elevate, and together they have invested around a thousand hours of work.
“Inspiration and creativity are the antidote to the current trajectory of our society and environment. Build the world that you want and deserve. Not just for yourself, but for your community.” — Miguel Edwards
Background on Miguel Edwards
Miguel moved from Seattle to Bend 2018, seeking a larger space for his workshop and a location central to the cities he works with most. In Bend, he also found a more grounded quality of life and new inspirations for his work.
In 2019, Miguel collaborated with other artists on the interactive sculpture, Relativity Clock, installed at the Main Transit Hub in Redmond.
Originally from New Mexico, Miguel began his career in art as a photographer in Seattle. He captured the ‘90s grunge music scene for KEXP radio and Billboard Magazine, explored the Seattle art scene for City Arts magazine, and delved into many, varied projects in photography and film. His work is also commissioned by Microsoft, Boeing and other Fortune 500 companies.
Miguel collaborated with James Rupp on the Silver Design Award winning book, Art in Seattle’s Public Spaces, published in 2018.
The spark for Miguel’s work as a sculptor in steel and glass came in 2004, when he was commissioned to create a steel sphere for Burning Man. By 2009, that spark had grown to a fire that would shift the course of his career. Now Miguel works in both photography and sculpture, and the two art forms interplay in his work.
Miguel has become a recognized public artist and accomplished sculptor. His work is currently on display at the prestigious CODA gallery in Palm Springs, as well as other galleries around the nation, many public spaces and outside the private homes and businesses of people right here in Central Oregon.