Jim Kransberger entered the world of Art and Crafts through the back door–he’s self-taught and “later” in life. In January, 2010, at the age of 75, he made his first mechanical (automata), wooden sculptures. He had his first gallery showing that August. He was the second banana at the show and sold his first piece in twenty minutes.
It was an auspicious beginning that brought invitations from many nationally known galleries as well as several museums. His work has been included in three books: How To Make Masks, by Jonni Good; Humor In Craft, by Brigitte Martin; and the upcoming (May 2013) Lark Crafts 500 Paper Objects. He is one of 38 artists selected (from the nearly 300 who were published in the Humor In Craft book) who were invited to the national Humor In Craft exhibition hosted by the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh. That show is scheduled to travel to several nationally-known museums during 2013. Jim has also done several commissions for private collectors.
His wife, Jan Kransberger, is also an accomplished artist, who shows her kiln-cast glass sculptures in several galleries.
Jim’s first mechanical works were made with basswood, and fell into the “whimsical” category of art because of their child-like entertainment value. Jim eventually switched his media to paper mache, which is finished just as smoothly as his previous carvings. He says he made the switch because he didn’t bleed as much as he did as when he was carving basswood.
Jim’s subject matter is also morphing away from the purely whimsical and mechanical, and towards slightly more serious (and non-mechanical) themes–a move which has been well-received by his collectors. In the near future, Jim plans to create some of his unique sculptures in fired clay.
“The delight in making art is that you need not be a one-trick-pony,” Jim says. “Making is great because each time you sit down at your work space you get a clean sheet of paper you can scribble on and play with. The sky’s the limit! As an aficionado of great one-liners, I am attracted to making sculpture that begs to share the lighter side of life. Perhaps the funniest part of my work is that I make it. As a self-taught, very late bloomer, what you see is what you get.”