Chris Mora has worked in many artistic mediums including drawing and painting, but his favorite medium to work in is steel, and his favorite thing to create is robots.
His robot sculptures have ranged from small to larger than life. His most recent work is a series of poseable (articulate) robots. He works through many iterations of a design, which is then transferred to cuts in steel. Springs are added, magnets are installed, mechanisms are tested, joints are tensioned, pieces are made and remade. After hundreds of hours it ends with the careful assembly of dozens of handmade pieces into a single articulate robot. His most recent works have full motion in every joint and limb.
Mora took some time to answer some questions from Cabal members about his work, which follow:
Why Robots? When did it start?
I have always been drawn to robots because I am mechanically inclined and I love character art. I think those two interests very much combine unintentionally into robot artwork. I have always liked creating an expressive face and pairing it with interesting geometry. I also have a fascination with moving parts such as gears, pistons and other mechanisms.
What are some of the other projects you create?
Aside from my primary focus on articulate robot sculptures I work on many other steel fabrication jobs as well. Some tables, some fences, racks and any other application my skill set can be used well for. If someone approaches me with a project in need of fabrication or welding I am always interested in hearing about it.
Who inspires your work?
I am inspired by faces and emotions. My robots have an emotional quality I value very much. Some of the expressions I see on people’s faces are inspiration for the moods robots end up displaying. Machinery, large or small, is also a huge inspiration. When I work with a machine, or a vehicle, the thought always goes through my head of how I could recreate the mechanisms I see and stick them in sculptures.
Any prospects of robot animation at some point?
That’s an interesting question. I have always been interested in animating and even did some as a teenager. My robots are actually intended to work well for that application if I ever choose to do so. Its just a question of time, I haven’t gotten around to it yet.
How did you get into steel fabrication?
I started off in watercolor. I painted the robots that I wanted to make thinking that the barrier for entry into sculpture would be too expensive or time consuming. Eventually I realized I just had to take the initiative and jump in. I bought a welder and an angle grinder and went from there. My first project was a robot, as was the second, third, fourth, fifth and so on. Steel fabrication was simply the most appropriate medium for what I wanted to make. I am so glad I got into it, it is so versatile. Its a lot of fun too.
How long have you been creating in this medium?
I have been working in steel for five years now. I didn’t know a thing about it when I started. I remember being warned about not knowing what I was getting myself into when I said what my plan was, but I disregarded the warning almost immediately. I just knew what I wanted to do. There have been many failures as well as many successes along the way. I am grateful for all the opportunities I have been given to learn and grow through this medium. Now that I think about it I owe much personal growth to steel fabrication as well.
What other mediums do you work in?
Steel and stainless steel are pretty much what I work in now. I have devoted all of my time to them. I do some in watercolor or ink from time to time but I have never found more joy in anything but metal.
Come see over 20 of Chris’ most recent creations, with accompanying blueprints and paintings in a solo exhibition, on display January 12th through February 2nd.
Join us for opening night 6-10pm.
This event is free and open to the public. Donations accepted.
For more infromation about Chris Mora and his work, visit any of the following links: