After spending a month crafting a 10-foot bird out of metal, Timothy Michael Hetland found he “had no feeling for it, no groove,” and dismantled it to start a bigger, 13-foot mechanical sculpture, hopefully to be installed in a Middletown park. “I’m an impulse builder and go with the flow with whatever comes to me in ideas,” he explains. “I was given an extremely creative mind and strong hands, which make a powerful tool in the art world.”
Three years ago, Hetland, former owner of a wind turbine company, started his brand Skunteundfish, after a fall destroyed his knee and boredom consumed the 18-month recovery. “I exploded with ideas,” he recalls. Thus, he began making the one-of-a-kind sculptures that, within a year, were being featured in nine galleries and met with overwhelmingly positive feedback. “People were digging my slight weirdness,” Hetland says with a laugh.
Hetland works with a combination of metals and alloys like stainless steel, copper, and brass, in addition to stone, crystal, and unique wood. “I have a deep connection to working with metals that are not easily workable and enjoy the difficult process of taming them into a shape and form that will be noticed and hopefully admired,” he says. “In short, I like the challenge.”
That challenge can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks – including several restless nights – for smaller pieces, and a matter of months for larger builds. However, Hetland, a self-described calm and mellow guy, is continuously changing and raising the bar for himself.
“My first thought is for someone to appreciate the ‘old soul’ in me,” Hetland says. “I love to create something that seems very ancient and spiritual, of times long ago – something that will stand out and be kindly talked about and admired for many decades.” This old world essence can be traced to Hetland’s third-generation Norwegian roots; it can be seen in the natural elements and patina of his pieces.
Hetland is proud to call his work timeless, balanced, and best of all, unique; they “boast both beauty and a distressed look, and are unlike anything else you will find in the art world."