They call him “the bluestone guy.”
Every Sunday for the last five years, Tyler Borchert, a Kingston native and local artist, positions himself on the Rondout, building and rebuilding sculptures made of stones and sticks.
He uses the materials, very basic building blocks of nature, to create abstract-ish representations of human figures or Neolithic, Stonehenge-y stacks of stones. The idea, he says, is to balance out nature with something that looks like it was made by a human hand and mind.
Borchert, who moved from Kingston to Hurley when he was 6 and then moved back later in life, said the idea for weekly sculptures emerged by accident. He had begun building his first sculpture to find it had been knocked down the next day. “For the next year that’s what happened. I just went back to keep rebuilding them,” he said.
Natural scenery is a source of his artistic inspiration. “I hike all of the creeks and rivers looking for unique driftwood to build on a pedestal,” Borchert said.
Borchert said he aims to create a theme, building various sculptures in different locations and give viewers clues to potentially win one of his works. But the one piece of art that he said will never be on sale, recently featured at Mountain Jam, is called “Money Man Giving Peace.” He aspires to take that sculpture all over the country and world in order to make a book. “He equals what the world equals — peace and greed,” said Borchert.
Borchert urges the community to embrace the new community emerging in Kingston. He said the art scene in Kingston is “blowing up” due to the migration of artists from New York City into the area and that the community needs to do more to support a more diversified artistic presence. “Kingston is crying for it,” Borchert said. “There aren’t enough galleries.”
According to Borchert, the positive response to his art inspires him to continue. “I feel pretty blessed that someone like me has been dedicated for the last five years to making art in the Kingston community,” he said, but he urges there is still a lot of work to be done in order to fully integrate the art community with the rest of Kingston.
“We’re headed in the right direction, but not as fast as people hope,” he added.
One can watch Borchert doing his art at the Rondout on any given Sunday or visit his “Trestles Gallery” at 440 Abeel St., conveniently located beneath the train trestles at the New Ulster Marina and open every first Saturday of the month. “It’s where the bluestone was once exported from Kingston,” he notes. “People call me the bluestone guy.”
Mary Broas, a SUNY New Paltz student, is the Kingston Times’ summer intern.