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Kinetic art in motion

Southern California artist on display at COC hopes his work moves visitors

Posted: February 20, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 20, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Erick Nuno, left, and Arlyn Escobar watch as metal wings flap on birds on a sculpture entitled "Jacaranda" at the College of the Canyons Art Gallery in Valencia.

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A Southern California artist is hoping his latest exhibit of kinetic art will move enthusiasts at the College of the Canyons Art Gallery.

Artist Jim Jenkins, 57, has a selection of kinetic artwork on display at COC until early March.

As with any kinetic performance, kinetic art pieces move and, in this case, interact with visitors. Jenkins’ art invites viewers to push a button that causes the artwork to come to life and move for a time.

Jenkins, who lives in Costa Mesa, has been crafting such pieces for more than 30 years.

“I always figured I would stop sculpting when I ran out of ideas,” Jenkins said. “But I haven’t run out yet.”

One piece, “Two Happy Carrots,” features old, carrot-shaped toys dancing on top of a globe. Another piece, “A Dime a Dance,” features a moving marionette and a neon light display.

Though Jenkins said he is fond of many of his works, there is not one that he holds in higher esteem than the others.

“My favorite piece is always the one I’m working on now,” Jenkins said. “But I like them all. If I didn’t like a piece, I wouldn’t show it to anyone else.”

Jenkins has been the head of the sculpture program at California State University, Fullerton, for 32 years. He teaches the occasional class on kinetic art, along with more traditional sculpting such as wood and metalworking.

And though kinetic art is his passion, Jenkins said, he does not try to push his students into the field.

“I think it’s important for every student to find their own little niche like I was allowed to back in school,” Jenkins said.

Jim Jenkins’ exhibit, “Wizard of Kinetic Sculpture,” runs regularly until March 7 in the art gallery at College of the Canyons’ Valencia campus, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road. Exhibit times and dates can be found at www.canyons.edu.

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