I am a second generation sculptor, having been trained under my father Frank Niemi, (a self taught abstract sculptor and ornamental iron artist.) In 1968, at age 12 he taught me how to weld and my love for sculpture began. Receiving a wrestling scholarship from Northern Illinois University in 1974, I actively pursued my two loves, sculpture and wrestling I then graduated in 1981 with a BFA in sculpture.
I began doing juried fine art shows, juried competitions, seeking gallery representation, and marketing the “Cool View” welding helmet an invention of my father’s. In 1984 I met my future wife Suzi while out dancing (one of my passions). Through my faith in God and the support of Suzi, I shifted gears, focused solely on my art, and went full time as a sculptor in 1987.
My first public commission came in 1989 a 12’ by 6’ by 8” wall sculpture for the Village of Vernon Hills, Illinois. Since that time, I’ve completed 42 public sculptures throughout the country. The most notable “The Eternal Flame War Memorial”, commission by the D.A.V. to honor veterans of all wars and conflicts, located in Worth, Illinois.
In April of 2007 I was honored with the Outstanding Achievement Alumni Award in the College of Visual and Performing Arts from Northern Illinois University. In 2009 I installed “Remembered” a 17’ 7” stainless steel memorial for the students that were slain on the campus of Northern Illinois University February 14, 2008.
My purpose is to stimulate the mind of the viewer as well as creating a sculpture that complements and has harmony with the environment that it shares. Stainless steel and silicon bronze are my primary materials. Craftsmanship, structural strength, and public safety are also key elements in my work.
My love for sculpture is evident in the way the finished results dance.
Bruce A. Niemi