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Artist’s work around town, now in gallery

Joe Sackett is a sculpture artist who has been placing his pieces around a northwest Albuquerque neighborhood. Sackett works with wood and steel. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Joe Sackett is a sculpture artist who has been placing his pieces around a northwest Albuquerque neighborhood. Sackett works with wood and steel. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sculptor’s work adorns his Fruit NW neighborhood, now in gallery

Joe Forrest Sackett is a patient man. When considering the media he works with to create his sculptures, one could see why.

Sackett is an Albuquerque artist who works with steel and wood primarily. With precision and patience, Sackett steadily unlocks the beauty within the items.

“Working with steel is a little more forgiving than wood,” he says from his northwest Albuquerque home. “But each medium takes its form as I am working with it.”

Sackett has only been working as an artist for the past eight years. In that time, many of his neighbors have taken a liking to his sculptures and have them displayed in their yards – making the area on Fruit NW a little “wonderland.”

If you go
WHAT: “Joe Forrest Sackett: Wood and Steel”WHEN: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through June 28. Reception from 2-5 p.m. June 15

WHERE: Burris Hall Gallery, NMHU campus, 903 National Avenue, Las Vegas, N.M.

HOW MUCH: Free

“I’m humbled that my neighbors would want to help me show off my art,” he says. “It was all kind of random. One neighbor offered and then the rest came. It’s very special to have that kind of support.”

Sackett has had a couple of careers before getting into the art world. He worked for Central New Mexico Community College as a teacher and as an administrator, and was a woodworker who focused on cabinet making.

“I got tired of making cabinets because it was too precise,” he says. “Working with wood isn’t forgiving at all. One mistake and most of the time, you have to start from scratch.”

After giving up woodworking, Sackett says he taught himself to weld and began working with steel.

Sackett is preparing for an exhibit at New Mexico Highlands University that will begin on Monday, June 3. The exhibit will have about 20 pieces from his entire career.

“There are different phases of my work that I will exhibit,” he says. “There are some pieces that are too difficult to move and will have to stay with me because they are too heavy.”

Sackett says he works on art every day – though not many long days.

He says he’s always been creatively involved and it wasn’t until he had a health crisis about 10 years ago when he wanted to change his life.

“I got to think about a lot of things,” he says. “As the result of the health crisis, I started to value the time I have left and wanted to do something that I loved and have passion for.”

Aside from art, Sackett also is a playwright. He has written several plays that have been staged around the Duke City.

“This is an element that helps give me a different release artistically,” he says. “I get to use a different part of my brain when writing.”

While Sackett does have art being shown in his neighbors’ yards, he says he isn’t interested being commissioned for public art.

“That’s a tough one because when it’s public art, it does have constraints and the sculpture has to be built the way it was drawn,” he says. “With my work, it can take a turn at any moment and become something completely different. I would have a difficult time designing something that precise.”

When it comes to sketching, Sackett says he doesn’t know where his inspiration comes from, it just appears.

“Much like the work I do, it kind of takes its own form,” he says. “There’s something locked in the back of my mind that appears. It’s an evolution and I’m just there to guide it all into place.”

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