The Art of “Childish Minds”

Hamline sophomore Michael Finch explores adolescence in his solo sculpture exhibition at the “WHAT” gallery in Wisconsin.

Eden Fahy, Reporter

In an effort to connect back to his childhood, sophomore Michael Finch’s solo sculpture exhibition at the “WHAT” gallery in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, gives its audience a twisted renewal of some iconic childhood characters. Featured pieces include, “The Entertainment Frog,” a distorted reimagining of Kermit the Frog, “Poe,” a sculpture based on the Teletubbies and “The Hungriest Caterpillar,” based on Eric Hale’s classic children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Finch’s exhibit, “Childish Minds,” pulls you into your own adolescence, and invites you to reimagine it with new unlimited possibilities. 

The Oracle spoke with SophomoreMichael Finch before his exhibit closed on March 5. He says that he has been delighted to find a “close knit” community of people in the sculpting program. 

“Coming here, it’s been such a great environment, a great community,” Finch said. 

He had enrolled at Hamline in hopes of mixing an art degree with other courses, and has been happy to be able to build his artistic skills along the way, “You kind of just pick up things here and there, and kind of incorporate them into your art as you’re kind of working,” Finch said. 

Finch’s art journey didn’t start at Hamline. He has been sculpting since he was eleven years old. 

“I just kind of always been creating, building, making large random sh*t…I really enjoy it, I’ve had a lot of success!” Finch said. “I’ve always just liked working with my hands and having a tangible object that I can hold.”  

Inspired by his own childhood dreams, Finch says that his sculptures in “Childish Minds” were created to reflect the toys that he had wanted as a child. 

“A lot of my practice artistically comes from…wanting these elaborate toys that were way out of any real grasp, and then kind of reining it in as an adult and just being like…I have the skill set to make those things now, I’m gonna do that,” Finch said. 

He was also able to pull from past works in a different exhibit called “Delicacy.” Although not a part of “Childish Minds,” Finch explained “Delicacy” was the prototype for his sculpture “The Caterpillar.” Both sculptures are “kinetic sculptures,” a style of sculpture Finch was drawn to do to its unsettling nature. 

“I always kind of had a love for weirdly functioning animatronics, where they’re not really great, but they move. And so it’s unsettling in that sense,” Finch said. 

Overall, Finch hopes his audience can have fun when interacting with his exhibit. 

“What I was really trying to go for with creating this whole series was just having fun and really expressing that outwardly, and creating a fun environment, of course, for the audience,” Finch said. 

And from the looks of it, that’s exactly what he achieved. Finch’s disturbing twist on adolescent pop culture reels it’s viewers in awe, curiosity and wonder.

Although this exhibit has since closed, Finch’s work is an extraordinary example of the amazing artistic presence at Hamline, and is certainly one to keep your eye on as he continues to create. You can find more of Finch’s work at his instagram, @kale_sculpture.