Featured Maker: Steve La Riccia, Steamworks R&D Labs

Steve La Riccia

Meet Steve La Riccia, a self-described “self-unemployed” artist living in Elmira. Steve has been a fixture in the Eugene art scene for over two decades. He is the Gallery Coordinator at the New Zone Artists Collective, and has been the producer of the annual Salon du Peuple (formerly the Salon des Refus├ęs) art show since 1991.

Steve spent many years producing hand-altered photographs using a Polaroid “instant” camera. You may have noticed, if you’ve been camera-shopping lately, that Polaroid instant cameras and film are hard (but not impossible!) to come by.

Faced with the prospect of his favorite art-making technology becoming obsolete, Steve decided to turn the tables — he’d use the obsolete technology itself to make art.

Land's Metamorphosis - Steve La Riccia

“Land’s Metamorphosis” was the first in Steve’s Steamworks Research and Development Labs series. It was built from the very same Polaroid SX70 camera with which he took many of his artistic photographs. The transformed camera takes on a “Steampunk” look, bringing to mind a century’s worth of photographic technology that has been swept aside in the digital age.

Since completing Land’s Metamorphosis, Steve has produced many more “contraptions” that recall technologies of the past century. These works not only require an artistic eye, but a technical hand. Steve is self-taught in a staggering variety of old and new technologies, “from fixing vacuum-tube televisions to building ultra-light flying machines.”

Oppenheimer's Enigma - Steve La RicciaFor the Eugene Mini Maker Faire, Steve plans to display “Oppenheimer’s Enigma,” a machine that combines old and new technologies into a unique work. It’s mesmerizing to look at, and it’s even functional! Visitors will be able to use the machine to stamp their own “dog tag” which they can take home with them.

Steve is very excited to be participating in his first Maker Faire with us next month. He especially looks forward to bringing his art to kids of all ages. “All of my work is interactive and enjoyable by kids ages 3 to 93.” We are thrilled to have Steve as part of our Maker Faire to share his technology-inspired art with us!

Be sure to check out Steve’s web page to see many more of his contraptions. If you’d like to meet Steve, learn his process, and see Oppenheimer’s Enigma in action, be sure to join us at the Eugene Mini Maker Faire on June 15th! Advance tickets are available, and we are extending our early bird discount until May 31. Use the code “early13” when you purchase your tickets to receive $1 off each ticket.

One Response to Featured Maker: Steve La Riccia, Steamworks R&D Labs

  1. We will be there for our “tags”, GO Steve!