Rusty Lamer received his BFA in Sculpture from the Maine College of Art (99’) and his MLA - Master of Landscape Architecture - from the University of California, Berkeley (07’). His work exists within the wide spectrum of “landscape”, often traversing across themes found in the natural, rural, and urban contexts. He is a builder and a maker and believes in the value of working with ones hands. He employs various processes in his approach, sometimes sketchy and gestural while other directions require contrasting methods of precision, valued in areas of architecture and fine craftsmanship. His range of skills, interests, and experiences all feed directly into the funnel of multifaceted projects. He believes diversity in styles of application and perspective are positive and beneficial attributes to any working condition, be it collaborative or individual, multi-dimensional or interdisciplinary. His work is born out of these combinations and are essential to developing, producing, and communicating ideas. He is a generalist rather than a specialist; an artist, designer, builder, performer, educator, architect, farmer.
In 1999 Rusty started his own Sculpture Studio at the Bakery Studios in Portland, Maine and received several commissions for bronze and metal work. He subsequently worked as the Sculpture Technician for the Maine College of Art overseeing the metal shop and foundry, and teaching workshops on welding and mold-making. In 2000 he began working as a production manager and fine craftsman at Green Design Furniture, producing and managing runs of high-end, contemporary furniture. He moved to Tuscany, Italy in the Fall of 2001 and worked at La Tenuta di Spannocchia, a 1200 acre farm estate. He served as Farm Operations Manager and Co-Director of the Internship Program for the Spannocchia Foundation. Within this idyllic setting he gained a strong appreciation for the landscape and the power of working on the land. The Italian culture and life on the farm equipped him with invaluable lessons, both practical and profound, including traditional building techniques, values in stewardship, resourcefulness, and how to fix nearly anything with a piece of bailing wire.
In the Fall of 2004 he traveled to California to study Landscape Architecture at UC Berkeley. This experience established his framework in architecture and provided opportunities for both local and international projects. He traveled to Europe to survey variations in landscapes and to Thailand to develop a Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism. With a commitment to see the landscape of the United States from a new perspective, Rusty ran away to join a traveling bicycle circus after graduating in 2007 and spent 6 months on the road. He toured with chainsaw jugglers, sword-swallowers, burlesque dancers, and cannonballers. He was hired to build bicycles, props, and costumes for the show and ultimately performed regularly with each creation.
He left the circus upon receiving a research grant to study the lost art of traditional charcoal making, returning him to the forests of Tuscany in 2008. He remained in Europe for an additional year and a half traveling and working with masons, farmers, and foresters. His interest in international projects continues and has enabled him to work with a variety of cultures, including a trip in 2010 to the Middle East. In 2007, Rusty began an apprenticeship with artist Doug Hollis, and continues today to collaborate with Hollis on landscape projects centered on his signature investigations of natural phenomena.
Rusty Lamer currently lives and works in Oakland, California. He focuses on collaborative projects in the built environment and has recently been working with REDSTARTstudio on a series of landscape interventions. He has taught workshops on the art of charcoal making, dry stone wall building, sustainable water systems, the alteration of public spaces, and expressive drawing and has lectured at the Maine College of Art, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis. He’s always open to new opportunities for generating artistic gestures and community projects in the landscape.