Richard Arfsten

Richard Arfsten

WI, United States

About Richard Arfsten

I have an ambitious approach to life ... and to art ... make something happen every day ... but most of all have fun doing it! A sculptor first, and now working in 2D, I do my best to do just that. Presented here are examples of some of my work. •• My sculpture runs the gamut from abstract, to figurative, to architectural. The materials and methods used are diverse ... from figures modeled in clay or wax, then cast in pewter or bronze ... to aluminum maquettes (produced by evaporative pattern casting) which serve as the 3D blueprints for the pieces that are enlarged and fabricated from sheet metal of all kinds. •• My 2D pieces range from abstract to figurative. You’ll find Originals done in oils or acrylic, one-of-a-kind monotypes, collages, mixed media paintings, and more ... I love working in all mediums. Some of my 2D work may be available as reproductions on this site. ••• MY FASCINATION WITH SCIENCE FICTION & MAKE BELIEVE - When I was in second grade, television was new and the hottest thing. The "Adventures of Flash Gordon" was my favorite program. There was only one kid in the neighborhood who had a TV. We, all the kids, gathered at his house for every episode. I was a huge fan of the characters. Flash was cool and my hero. Dale Arden was OK but Princess Aura was way cooler because she was naughty. Ming The Mercilous was very interesting. But Dr. Zarkov and his super duper telescope - that could see into time forwards and backwards, far and near - was the star of the show for me. The spaceship was really hoakey. You could see the wire that it was traveling on and the little puffs of smoke coming out of it were a joke, even for me. But the concept of the show was magical. Also at that time there were radio shows about space travel and aliens and monsters. I would listen to those shows with my grandfather as I sat on the floor next to the big wooden box radio so I could get the full impact of the sounds. •• These shows inspired me to draw spaceships, mostly "new and improved" versions of Flash's ship. I taped them all over my bedroom walls. At night I would travel with Flash. We would go to distant parts of the Universe and explore ancient ruins - like what I saw in National Geographic when I was not looking at the bare-breasted girls of exotic cultures. (I think artists and sculptors, are to a large part, voyeurs.) Those memories pop up in my art over and over. •• Faces also intrigue and inspire me. People from other cultures and their dress, especially the hats, fascinate me. I am drawn by the proportions of the face of a woman I find most appealing. •• In high school and college I used to go on a lot of blind dates. I loved them while other people hated them. During that time I found there was no connection between outer and inner beauty. Everybody is like a Christmas present to me. As you take the package apart it is most always different than what your initial impression was when you first met. Well art is that way too. At first observation you might say "ick," but if you take the time to examine it and hear the back story you might get a better appreciation for the piece. •• In my case I have to create things that are interesting to me, otherwise it is pure work. This creates a dilemma. Some of what interests me is weird to others so there is not much market for it. This is where the back story comes in. I like to give the viewer a couple of quesses as to where I was in my little neverland world when I put my creation together. This gives the buyer a story, which I encourage them to embellish upon when they are showing the piece to someone else. If it is a pure fantasy piece and they are showing it to their grandchild and wrapping it in a story that interests the child I have achieved my goal. •• On a grander note, I would like to sell my work to people who value make believe and enjoy being transported to another dimension - if only for a few seconds.


I am mostly self-taught, but I don't believe in re-inventing the wheel so I will go anywhere to learn a skill that I'm interested in acquiring. My college degree in Industrial Arts has provided me with a background in most industrial processes and my natural curiosity drives me to continually experiment and manipulate those processes as I incorporate them into my art. •• That being said, I have studied art with some fine teachers throughout the United States and Australia. I have won awards at the Johnston International Figurative Sculpture Competition. I have also taught sculpture classes locally.


Commissions include: the University of Minnesota - Crookston, MN; Beloit College, Beloit, WI; Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee, WI; the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Madison, WI; and UW Hospitals and Clinics, Madison, WI, as well as private collections.