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David Such and Fred Hammond bring 'Fish Out Of Water' with sculpture | 2024 Lansing ArtPath Profiles

20 purple and yellow striped fish made of metal, put up on poles on a grassy field
Sophia Saliby
Fish Out of Water brings a school of tropical fish onto the Lansing River Trail.

Many artists who participate in the Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center’s annual ArtPath exhibition find inspiration in the setting of the Lansing River Trail for their pieces.

Some take inspiration from what lives in the water below like two metalworkers who are bringing a school of fish onto land.

Fred Hammond uses a power tool on one of the sculpture's metal poles to smooth it out
Sophia Saliby
Fred Hammond has been working with metal for 20 years.

Fred Hammond is in his Lansing workshop, throwing sparks into the air as he uses a power tool to smooth out a metal pole that will be a part of his ArtPath sculpture.

Outside, his creative partner for the project, David Such, is using spray paint to decorate one of the 20 fish cut out of metal they made that will go on each pole.

The pair have been working together for more than a decade, ever since the first Lansing ScrapFest in 2008. Such created and organizes the annual up-cycled and repurposed art festival and competition.

Since then, they’ve found they can rely on each other for creative projects. Hammond says he lets Such take the lead on finding the inspiration for pieces

David Such spray paints some of the sculpture's metal fish hanging outside
Sophia Saliby
Each fish was painted with purple and yellow stripes to catch the eyes of people using the River Trail.

"David is really by far the more artistic and creative side of this," Hammond said. "I'm a little bit more of the craftsman, mechanical side, so it works well."

Such adds that without Hammond, he’d probably give up on some of those ideas

"He figures out stuff that I have no clue how to figure out. He's got a good problem-solving brain," Such said.

The two have collaborated on several ArtPath pieces in the past. Such says this time, he wanted to use the setting of the River Trail as part of the piece.

"The idea came from the river running through the city, but there's also living creatures in it."

The living creatures they decided to highlight are fish. Originally, the pair wanted to put metal sculptures of fish in the Grand River.

"They'd just be above the surface of the water," Such said. "But that would be like way hard to install that."

So, they settled on bringing the fish to land for a sculpture called Fish Out Of Water. It features 20 bright purple and yellow painted fish cut out of aluminum. Hammond says each one is placed on a pole that kind of works like a weathervane.

"It's not just a static sculpture that sits there, but when the wind changes, this is going to move."

The fish are all meant to shift in the same direction in the wind.

"The idea is that all the fish will move, just like a true school of fish would in the water," Hammond said.

Hammond also says the name Fish Out Of Water has a double meaning because their design isn’t supposed to resemble anything in Michigan waters

"If you look at the fish, they're kind of a tropical species, not something you'd find in the Grand River or the Red Cedar."

Fred Hammond and David Such pose next to one of their fish sculptures
Sophia Saliby
Fred Hammond and David Such have known each other for two decades and have been collaborating on art since 2008.

Reflecting on their partnership and Lansing’s relationship with its creative community over the past two decades, Such and Hammond say appreciation for art has grown, but there’s still more work to do which is why ArtPath is important

"I think art should be seen by more people rather than less, and what better way to see it be seen by more than putting it into public spaces," Such said.

"Lansing needs a little bit more art, and we're happy to help," Hammond added.

David Such and Fred Hammond’s sculpture Fish Out of Water can be found at the Oakland Trail Head in Turner Park.

The Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center is a financial support of WKAR.

close up of one of David Such and Fred Hammond's metal fish sculptures, placed on a pole in a grassy field
Sophia Saliby
The fish are meant to be atypical of what can be found in the Grand River.

Sophia Saliby is the local producer and host of All Things Considered, airing 4pm-7pm weekdays on 90.5 FM WKAR.
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