Vollis Simpson • Whirligigs and Whatnots

At age 93, Vollis Simpson has a few years on me but we've both been creating kinetic art for over thirty years. His style, materials and approach are very different from mine but I am fairly sure we'd have a lot of common interests to discuss if we ever meet.

Photo Credit Jeremy Lange for New York Times

Mr. Simpson was a machinist and, after he retired, he put his skills to use creating a farm full of whimsical whirligigs. His acrege in Lucama, NC has become an unofficial tourist attraction as people travel to experience the crop of kinetic sculptures growing in his yard. 

Photo Credit Jeremy Lange for New York Times 

The New York Times did a special article about him in 2010. In it, they refer to him as a "self-taught practitioner, now known by the dressed up names of outsider art or visionary art." Hmmm. Is that how they'd catagorize me?

The nearby town of Wilson, NC is working to create an in-town sculpture park for Mr. Simpson's sculptures.  An organization has been set-up to maintain the work and park for others to enjoy. 

Marji and I plan to go on a USA roadtrip sometime in the next year. Together we bicycled across the country back in 1972 and have wanted to revisit so much of it. We are researching sculpture parks and other sites of kinetic interest for us to explore. I expect we'll swing through Wilson and Lacama, NC and try to meet up with Mr. Simpson for a conversation.


Photo Credit: Big Bang Studio