The boy in the art bubble is back, bounding through HemisFair last week in his latest creation, the Walking Fish, for local artists and documentarians ThePrimeEights, who are creating a short film for Texas visual-arts site Glasstire.com. The Current caught up with Jimmy Kuehnle for a quick chat while he huffed and puffed in the shadow of the Tower of the Americas. Kuehnle’s back in town with fellow UTSA grad and wife Mimi Kato, whose Artpace window installation opened at 445 N. Main last week. Log on to sacurrent.com for a slideshow of Kuehnle in action, and follow their work at jimmykuehnle.com and mimikato.com.
What is this?
It’s a walking fish inflatable suit. There’s a space for my body and a large bulbous area around it. This one has large orange fish fins. The name was partly inspired by those Darwin walking fish that you see on cars.
Why inflatable suits?
Well, because I move around a lot and they pack up really tiny and I can take them with me on planes.
How do you make them?
Sewing machine. I use nylon and doublestitch the seams. `The suits` use two battery-powered fans.
You used to create and ride bike sculptures around town. How do you get from bikes to inflatables?
I like to get around, and bicycles were a great way to do that, but they are bulky and can’t be taken on planes. I also made suits for my bicycles and that was a lot of sewing. I also think sewing is a lot like welding — much the same process.
Who/what/where influences you?
Everything and all of the above. I’m influenced by where I am; influences come in over time.