Planting the Seed

Christopher Weed
Planting the Seeds, 2017
Polished stainless steel

For centuries, artists have drawn inspiration from many sources. For example, Leonardo da Vinci once suggested to artists that if they look at old walls or streaked stones, they will see abstract patterns that can inspire new designs and subjects.

Christopher Weed’s stunning sculpture Planting the Seeds was inspired by nature; the large, open space of Merriam Marketplace’s lawn; and gardening traditions.

His design of new seedlings, in which a round seed sends out a young shoot, is much like his polished steel spheres that are pierced by gently curving rods. The orbs suggest large seeds. They have a highly polished reflective surface, allowing the viewer to reflect, muting outside distractions. His goal was to draw the viewer nearer, transforming them to another realm – if only for a moment. This recalls the centuries-old tradition of placing “gazing balls” in gardens.

Weed made his spheres big enough to fit the large scale of the Marketplace lawn and to generate life-sized reflections of things like visitors, passing cars, and the flags displayed around the July 4 holiday. The flag reflections were especially important to Weed because he’s a United States Air Force veteran.

Weed also chose the location of each globe very thoughtfully. He ensured that one of the orbs would be visible from Merriam Drive, and he was careful to leave plenty of open space so the three parts wouldn’t seem crowded.

Weed’s thoughtful use of space and size are hallmarks of an artist who has cultivated a successful career creating large-scale public sculptures. His work compares favorably to other large-scale public art by the likes of Claes Oldenburg, whose giant-sized Shuttlecocks on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has become a symbol of Kansas City. The highly reflective surface of Planting the Seeds recalls the wildly popular public sculpture in Chicago by artist Anish Kapoor titled Cloud Gate – perhaps better known as “The Bean.”

Weed lives and works in Colorado. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Maryland and studied as a postgraduate in Germany. Weed’s art has been commissioned nationally and internationally and acquired by collectors in the U.S. and abroad.

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