Stretch

Artist & Entrepreneur

STRETCH is a sculptor, artist, visionary, restaurateur, entrepreneur and television personality. STRETCH’s works have been on display in private and corporate collections throughout the world. The sculptures vary in scale from small approachable pieces to environmentally dominating. The choice of materials STRETCH uses in his pieces - glass & steel - work against each other, causing tension while maintaining a high level of dialogue.

STRETCH owns a restaurant called Grinders, and a deli, Grinders West, and developed a monthly art auction called Art Bidz. STRETCH, in association with Pipeline Productions, has developed the sculpture park behind Grinders into a live music venue known as CrossroadsKC at Grinders, which promotes artists, musicians, and benefits for non-profit organizations.

In addition to public art, STRETCH expanded his creative career to include direct participation in Discovery Channel’s hit show, “Monster House” as well as working with ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (EMHE) for five episodes. For EMHE, STRETCH has built a Fire Fountain piece on location in Kansas City, created custom steel furniture for a family in Wichita, Kan., and designed an extreme monster truck bedroom as well as a custom flagpole and Marine Corps memorabilia for the Gilyeat family. In 2006, STRETCH built a monumental fire and water fountain sculpture and custom furniture for the Sabine Pass Firestation No. 4 that was damaged in Hurricane Rita. STRETCH has been building large-scale sculpture for more than twenty years. Most recently, STRETCH has filmed a pilot for “Hungry Men at Work,” on SPIKE channel and participated in renovations on episodes of “Bar Rescue.”

The FOOD Network has also featured STRETCH as a sculptor and restaurateur on the hit shows “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” and “Guy’s Big Bite.” STRETCH most recently traveled with the Guy Fieri Food Roadshow and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, showcasing his 25-gallon Monster Margarita Machine.  He has most recently traveled with America’s Chefs and Messlords, cooking and entertaining the military and their families.

Recently presented an Urban Hero Award, STRETCH plays a major role in the community. He has served as vice president of KC’s oldest non-profit artist coalition (KCAC), and has been a board member for Review Magazine and the Crossroads Community Association. He is now a member of Kansas City’s TIF Commission and recently joined the Board of Directors for the International Sculpture Center.

STRETCH is a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute. He completed his masters at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, VA. Both Dale Eldred and Jim Leedy mentored STRETCH into the growing Kansas City art scene. STRETCH has since worked with many renowned artists including Mark di Suvero and John Henry. STRETCH has worked with numerous artists on public commissions – for airports, college campuses, and city sculpture parks around the world.

Why is KC a great environment for creativity and the arts?
There’s more support now from the community and the local government. There’s more organizations to help artists out and facilitate means to an end. The community has really supported the arts to help produce and keep creative folks here.

What is your favorite spot in Kansas City?
I like being in the Crossroads. It’s a great location. It’s the center and the hub of the area. Great people, great restaurants. Some of my favorite locations are actually driving into Kansas City at certain times of day. But there are also some great vistas right here in the Crossroads with the new Performing Arts Center, the Arena – the contrast of the old and the new is really cool. Sometimes it just depends on my mood and maybe I just want to be out with my dog down by the river.

Where's your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
I’ve traveled all over the world. San Francisco is one of my favorite cities in the world. I put it right up there with Paris and New York. There’s a lot of wonderful architecture and beautiful vistas. And San Francisco is one of those cities that is just absolutely reeking of creativity.

What's your most treasured possession?
I would say my art collection. More for the friends that have given it to me and the meaning. But there’s no way I could grab one piece over the rest. Other objects really don’t mean anything to me.

Who's your favorite fictional hero?
Kurt Vonnegut. Anyone from his books.

Who do you most admire in real-life?
I have several. Local heroes of mine are Jim Leedy, Brad Nicholson, Adam Jones… people who have done a lot for the community. There are really way too many to list.

When and where are you happiest?
Usually in the studio or on my motorcycle…and then sometimes on the golf course. I don’t have a lot of leisure time, and move in a lot of different directions between my TV shows, photo stuff, the galleries, sculpture, two restaurants, music venue and now this new cooking thing I have going …it takes me all over.

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