gmhTODAY 12 gmhToday Jan Feb 2017 - Page 79

GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 up of a blend of alloys that form a stable rust-like appearance. It has been used for bridges and larger structures but is also a favorite of architects and sculptors for its naturally oxidizing finish. His favorite sculptor, abstract expressionist Clement Meadmore, was among the first artists to recognize the sculptural potential of COR-TEN steel. His influence can be seen in Starks sculptures. Dozens of his works in various sizes and shapes adorn an outdoor sculpture garden and indoor gallery on his rural one-acre lot off Hecker Pass Highway that he also calls home. Industrialist, rusted beams twist and turn in abstract geometric forms, seemingly carved from a single, solid metallic mass, boldly flex against the surrounding space. A typical sculpture takes one to two months to complete and he doesn’t always know what’s next, saying sometimes he needs to get away from a work in progress to contemplate his next steps so he doesn’t get sloppy. It is the metal mastery of Starks in shaping, forming, welding and finishing that creates the seamless appearance but it is his creative side that envisions the final product. He’s always looking for new ideas. “Most of my work today originates from imagined shapes I have created in my mind and in my sketchbook.” Born in Sacramento, his parents, both school teachers, moved the family to Watsonville before he was a year old. After graduating from Watsonville High School, he attended Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz before transferring to San José State University where majored in Industrial Studies and minored in Art. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in 1968, Starks enlisted in the Navy. Before receiving a medical discharge one year later, he obtained his teaching credential. “I told them when I went in that I had flat feet and a bad back. They heard that a lot back then, but after a thorough medical exam they determined I was telling the truth.” In 1970, following a brief stin