Visual Art

Steve Bateman's Fish Keeps on Swimming

Kinzy Janssen |


A fish that takes its shape from a guitar, a Volkswagen fender, and some tornado-strewn corrugated metal has found a new home next to New York Pizza & Deli on Water Street in Eau Claire. Local found object sculptor Steve Bateman said he made the piece back in 2003 and was “storing” it in the yard of a private residence on the Eastside Hill until the residence was foreclosed upon. When friends encouraged Bateman to bring it into a more visible location, he got permission from property owners John Mogenson and Lisa Aspenson and moved it to the unoccupied square of grass. The fish, which is mounted to a pole, stands about five feet tall. While Bateman doesn’t encourage touching the sculpture, he’s excited about the public being able to observe it’s every angle on foot. Twenty other sculptures featuring Bateman’s signature style are on display around town at various private and public locations, including Banbury Place’s Garbage Swan (currently headless while he makes repairs) and the 10-foot robot outside Transmission Supply and Service. He’s also working on two permanent sculptural collages to flank the sign (also by Bateman) of Tangled Up in Hue on Barstow Street. The busy artist has plans to fill a few of the empty pedestals on the downtown sculpture tour soon.