“Take a Peek Inside My Brain…”

“Take a peek inside my brain where fishin’ tales are spun.
My psychedelic fish parade has only just begun.”


A lot has happened in the 9 years since I moved back to South Dakota. Some of it has been personally difficult, some grossly unfair and some just plain terrifying. But much more of it has been very special, made that way primarily by some special and inspirational people. Among those people is a tall, gentle, terminally cheerful fellow with extraordinary talent and imagination. His name is Steve Bormes. Steve and wife Tova own a very cool retail establishment called Rug and Relic in the 8th and Railroad building in Sioux Falls (rugandrelic.com) It’s a gallery full of genuine Turkish rugs, antiquities and folk art that shares space for Steve’s artistic creations, which mix a crazy array of found items, lights and an imagination unlike any I’ve ever experienced.

A year and a half ago Steve was notified he had been chosen for a major exhibition of his art at the big gallery at the Washington Pavilion. He immediately went to work creating the most wonderful and whimsical creatures which would inhabit his “Imaginarium”. Last Friday my wife Joan, my Mom and I went to see the show and reception for Steve. The show was even more enchanting than I had expected, and I’d expected a LOT. It was like walking into a backlit giant aquarium with these fish/creatures suspended on wires or mounted to pedestals, all glowing from within with lights of all colors. The Little Johnson fish (pictured) are crafted from vintage Johnson outboard boat motor cowlings, grandma’s wire wisks for fins and airhorns off of a Peterbuilt for tails. There was chrome from 50’s cars, tail lights from a Caddy ambulance and on and on. It was especially neat to see the gaggle of kids who accompanied parents to this show. I can’t begin to guess what was going on in their little brains, but I bet it was neat

Full disclosure: On occasion I’ll hook Steve up with some interesting items I find in my travels. It was surprising and delightful to find a few of those pieces artfully repurposed within the Imaginarum. It reminded me of the day when I found the words to describe the difference in what I do with old junk for repurposing and what Steve does as an artist. I can look at a late 50’s Electrolux canister vacuum cleaner, or a giant steel sieve sleeve from a long-ago combine or some whirly roof ventilators off of an old barn and say, “These things have style and personality. Someone could do something neat with them”. Steve however, can look at the same pieces and say, “These things have style, and I’m going to do THIS with them.” This creative invention is born in Steve’s brain in a millisecond.

Enjoy the photos, but If you’re in the Sioux Falls area stop in and see the show in person, which runs until the first week in January 2017. Bring along some cabbage if you have it and take something cool home with you. And in the process I hope you get to meet Steve, because there’s only one and he’s it. JT


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