Three butterflies will be dancing around the boots of Big Tex at this year’s State Fair. At the tip of their wings, they stand 20 feet tall, and wind causes the steel and aluminum creations to take flight. “They work like a giant weather vane,” says neighborhood resident David Hickman. “The wings are fixed, but they spin around and always fly downwind.” Hickman defines himself as a three-dimensional sculptor who focuses primarily on kinetic art. His free-motion pieces, activated only by wind, can be found mainly at libraries, recreation centers and public parks, such as the archway entrance to the Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre. Much of Hickman’s work consists of welding, which suits him just fine because he grew up welding equipment on his family’s farm, and later had a motorcycle shop where he worked on bikes. Then Hickman decided to make “a shift from making utilitarian objects for a motorcycle to making free-form things,” he says. “I like the aesthetic forms, but I like the mechanical bits that make it all happen.” Others are fond of his work, too — in 2004 the Texas Commission on the Arts named Hickman the three-dimensional Texas State Artist, and in 2005 the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects chose him as Artist of the Year.

For more information on David Hickman’s work, visit The State Fair of Texas runs Sept. 28-Oct. 21 at Fair Park.

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