Humdinger is a compelling visual and emotional journey through the life and work of the extraordinary artist, Michael Malpass, whose life was cut short at 42 years of age, as he made his way from the burgeoning art scene in New York City to becoming a “house sculptor” along the water in New Jersey. This book takes us beyond his astonishing body of work to the man behind the artist, and in doing so invites the reader to experience a truly unique level of understanding and appreciation. This is more than just a book: it is a journey that is meant to appeal to anyone. For the art aficionados, it takes them into the mind of an artist to explore the inner workings of a genius mind, displays pages of photos of beautiful sculpture and other art forms, and gives insight into the technique behind the art. For those more interested in the story of a man, they will be taken on a journey filled with emotion, struggle, history, love, and beauty.
Malpass, the oldest child and namesake of sculptor Michael Malpass (1946–1991), immortalizes his father’s legacy in this beautifully illustrated, reverential tribute. The author traces his father’s artistic drive to his childhood in Yonkers, N.Y., in the late 1940s, through his education at Pratt Institute in New York City, to his time in the Vietnam War. The younger Malpass describes how his father infused his art with existential wonders at every stage in his career. The older Malpass was inspired by the sphere, which he called “the most perfect form,” and his best known sculptures are patchwork metal globes (up to five feet in diameter), which he welded together from metal scraps, creating what he dubbed “humdingers,” “an outstanding thing of its kind.” Whether finding spiritual connection in the spheres, whimsical joy in his “chicken men” sculptures, or authenticity and psychological depth in his collages and autobiographical drawings, the sculptor expressed his passions for life and family through the process of creating—which he did until his death at 44 from a heart attack when the author was a teenager. This beautifully crafted book offers an indelible portrait of a sensitive artist, his spirited psyche, and his diverse body of work; it is also a son’s loving homage. (BookLife)