Famous American artist brings kinetic sculptures to Dubai

Howe creates wind-driven sculptures resembling pulsing, alien creatures and vortices



How 'Octo 3' was created


Gulf News

Dubai: Renowned American artist Anthony Howe has installed two kinetic sculptures in Dubai.

Howe creates wind-driven sculptures resembling pulsing, alien creatures and vortices. He makes use of computer-aided design, shaping the metal components with a plasma cutter, and completing his work by use of traditional metalworking techniques.



The ‘Octo 3’, by Anthony Howe, which has been installed at City Walk, the latest addition to Dubai’s shopping and dining scene. Virendra Saklani/Gulf News


City Walk, the latest addition to Dubai’s shopping and dining scene, received ‘Octo 3’ by Howe within its premises recently. The installation, envisioned as one of the largest stainless steel kinetic sculptures in existence, stands at an imposing height of 7.6 metres and weighs 3,200kg.

It is open to visitors and located in front of Paul and Argo Tea Cafe.

The Beach, an upbeat destination by Meraas, is home to ‘Octo 2’, another installation by the American artist.

Designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 140km/h, while moving at constant speed, the sculptures work equally well in gentle breezes. At night, colourful lights add a different dimension to their beauty.

The artist hopes the pieces assume a spare, linear elegance when conditions are still, gaining wild vigour in motion when the wind picks up.

Howe has been creating kinetic figures for more than 17 years.

“The inspiration for all of my work is the same,” he tells Gulf News. “A desire to build something that excites and entertains me that I have never seen before.”

Although computers and 3D technology play a role in his designs, he is emphatic about the importance of good, old-fashioned imagination and hard work play in his craft. It took him six months of 14 hour-days, seven days a week, to complete the work or ‘Octo 3’ alone, he says.

He sees his work as, “The same style, more or less, as that of Alexander Calder, George Rickey, and other kinetic sculptors, possibly categorised as abstract art.”



Using computer-aided design, artist Anthony Howe creates wind-driven sculptures resembling pulsing, alien creatures and vortices. Above is ‘About Face’ one of his other works. Courtesy: Anthony Howe


Occasionally, he does make figurative pieces, he says.

“The technology begins in my head when I get an idea and can begin to visualise what I want to make real,” Howe says. “That is followed by clarifying the design and movement in a 3D software program but I must stress the digital aspect in no way is where it all begins.”

But coming to Dubai was not all work and no play for the artist.

“I have always had a fascination and appreciation for many of the visual aspects of the art, architecture and scripts of the Arabic world at the risk of being extremely general,” Howe says, “So it was very rewarding to be able to visit and install a sculpture in the UAE.”

With his Dubai project done, he is working on the design and fabrication of four new large scale sculptures being made for him at various fabrication facilities in the US, Canada and Germany.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Howe attended the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut followed by Cornell University and the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting.

He now lives on Orcas Island, Washington, with his business partner wife, his website says.

His work has been showcased across the world.

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