‘It’s all about relationships’: Meet the artist behind the new sculptures in downtown Farmington

Seven towering columns, made of steel, wood, and otherwise, were installed in downtown Farmington earlier this summer, a result of the city’s ongoing public art initiative. Each is unique; one zigs and zags, another twists upwards to the sky.

They’re the work of Ken Thompson, a Michigan-based artist whose large-scale sculptures punctuate the public spaces of towns throughout the Midwest. Thompson says his seven sculptures in Farmington’s Riley Park are among some 40 or so columns he’s created in total — and that’s not including his other works made since he first started sculpting in 1978.

(Photo: David Lewinski)

Thompson’s columns are a variation on a theme, he says. And he’s glad that seven of them, and not just one, have found themselves in downtown Farmington.

“I like to cluster them together so you can see the relationship between each of them,” Thompson says. “It’s all about relationships. It’s about human relationships — we’re all different but similar. We’re all different forms of human. We’re all variations on a theme.”

When his columns are installed in groups, he says, “it’s like they’re having conversations with each other.”
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