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Doug MacLean
 
Doug MacLean was born and raised in New York, fifty miles North of Manhattan.  His first interfacing with the art world was in Fox Lane High School, while skipping classes and hiding in the Art room.  Witherspoon, the art teacher was very lax and allowed Doug to stay and also to participate in the making of things.  This proved to be a great influence on his passion for the making of things.  Doug was drafted into the Army after high school and served in the Vietnam War.  After being discharged from the Army in 1970, he chose not to return to New York, but to establish residence in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It would be at his first job in California that his artist career started to develop.  Doug worked for a clothing retailer and noticed that they would throw a lot of wire hangers away.  He started collecting them, feeling that it was a waste of good wire.  At home he would bend, torch, weld and solder the wire, testing its capabilities to express his vision.  As he started making money at his day
 
  job he bought a place in Brisbane California where he had space for a studio, equipment, and tools for wire and wood sculpture.

Doug also had an extensive background in woodworking, he grew up learning the craft from his father, who was a master woodworker.

It would be at Doug’s second job in California that his artistic visions and sensibilities really flourished.  While working in a warehouse, he once again noticed that perfectly good raw materials were being trashed.  This time it was wooden commercial pallets used in storage and transportation.  Long before society turned “green”, Doug salvaged the palettes, started experimenting with the wood, and decided that it was an appropriate material with which to make animals.  He was overwhelmed with the idea of “making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Doug developed an elaborate technique with the wood, layering shaped pieces of wood together to create form, fusing them with dowels, and then burning them with a torch.  It was his intention to create, out of recycled material, sculptures of power, design and mysticism that would capture people’s attention.  He began selling right away and was represented by the Don Conard Gallery.

In 1981 he decided to return to wire and make kinetic sculptures using wire, marbles, rubber bands, gears and found motors.  The machine he created moves 100 marbles through six different tracks.   The small marble machine was seen by Harrah’s Casino in Reno Nevada, who commissioned Doug to create a large marble machine called “The Marvelous Marble Machine”.  The Casino wanted an artist sculpture that functioned also as a promotional device.  The large Marble machine is 9 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 4 feet deep.  It moves between 3,000 to 4,000 marbles continuously through 24 individual tracks created from over 4 miles of wire.  The casino guests could push a button and one ball would be diverted from the machine.  The color of the ball would decide the prize.  The machine is in the shape of a large slot machine and was built by working 20 hours a day seven days a week for 2 months in order to meet the Casino’s promotional date.

As an outsider artist, Doug has developed a passion for making sculptures that are lively and fascinating.  His use of found wood and wire has matured into a very sophisticated art form combining imagination and nature.  Doug shows in galleries and art exhibits in the Bay Area, and sells his work privately and commercially.

 
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