Public Art

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1019 Seventh Street
Coronado, CA, 92118

Transition by Jon Koehler

Public Art

About the artist:

“Transition” May we have the courage to embrace each moment - JON KOEHLER

Kinetic - of, or relating to, or resulting from motion Kinetic art - art (as sculpture) having mechanical parts which can be set in motion Motion - fluid movement - with a hard-forged tranquil core.

The journey is just as important as the destination in the craftsmanship of Jon Koehler’s stainless steel sculptures. By creating kinetic sculptures, Koehler is pushing the boundaries of metal engineering. Starting in the details of the craft, knowing how to breakdown the elements of steel with the manipulation of welding. Koehler brings opposing forces into equilibrium, turning cold hard steel into a graceful kinetic balance within its environment. Making the immovable move, making a heavy medium appear light, is the dichotomy of his work. Creating from a pure source of exploration and pushing the boundaries of imagination and engineering.

“Transition” was specially commissioned for the park in front of the John D. Spreckels Center. Working with the Cultural Arts Commission Public Art program area, Koehler found the creative objective was to bring the viewer into a new world where a gentle breeze will bring to life the complexity of this organic sculpture. Thus transporting the viewer further into a world where steel dances like a feather in the wind. The continued exploration of “opposites in balance” is what fuels the artist’s imagination and continued creative pursuits. To extend the realm of kinetic movement. Creating a visual harmony with flowing lines of steel, within a natural environment.

Inspired by the forms and forces of nature and the nautical and aquatic world surrounding him, Koehler creates motion from materials others see only as immobile (or static). Noted particularly for his kinetic sculptures crafted from hard-to-form stainless steel, the artist is a largely self-taught craftsman renowned for his precision work and meticulous attention to detail. He developed a special feel and understanding for stainless steel, which is intrinsically harder to work with than softer and more malleable metals like copper and aluminum. Stainless steel requires a special expertise and finesse - as well as patience and persistence - to manipulate without fracturing or damaging the metal.

Born into a San Diego boat-building family and raised in and around his family’s Shelter Island boatyard, Koehler displayed an early talent and pleasure in working with his hands along with a distinct artistic bent. His father, a hands-on master boat-builder and founder of Koehler Kraft who passed on his knowledge of the traditional marine crafts and his focus on quality, encouraged his son’s interest in metalwork and welding, which he started learning from one of Koehler Kraft’s skilled welders. Later he refined his precision metalworking skills and his passion for metal flourished.

In working on his sculptures, Koehler senses the proper balance and grace between metal and open space, between calm and fluidity. He worked with Coronado to understand our vision for public art in this new facility.