'Fixate' on the light, Garden City native creates art piece for optometrists

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Randy Doering works on installing the pieces of his "Fixate" sculpture Nov. 6 on an exterior wall of the Hopkins, Ackerman and Drees Optometrists building at 802 N. Campus Drive.  Doering is a 2000 graduate of Garden City High School.

Artist Randy Doering, a Garden City native now based out of San Diego, Calif., is excited to have one of his sculptures installed in his hometown. 

"It's great to finally get to the point in your career where you have art in your hometown, especially a large outdoor piece where people passing by can see it," Doreing said. 

"I'm just super happy to be part of it," he said. " Art is a hard thing, it's hard for people to want to spend money on it and go through the whole process, so I'm very thankful to George (Hopkins) and his firm, his two partners, for giving me the opportunity because it's a big opportunity definitely. I hope I nailed it for them." 

Entitled "Fixate", the piece was commissioned by Hopkins, Ackerman and Drees Optometry as a fixture on an exterior wall of their office. 

George Hopkins said they wanted the piece to have something to do with eyes, light and focus, etc. 

"We gave him a blank canvas," he said. "He thought about it, made some drawings and drew us a couple drawings and we made very little changes to what he did."

Doering said the thought behind the piece is how the eye perceives a burst of light, like lightning. 

"It's an abstract version of what I think your eye is going through at that exact moment," he said.

A sculpture by Garden City native Randy Doering titled "Fixate" hangs on an exterior wall at Hopkins, Ackerman and Drees Optometrists, 802 N. Campus Drive.

Hopkins said he and his partners decided to commission Doering for multiple reasons, one being they know him – Doering grew up with Hopkins eldest son, Mitch, and was in the same graduating class as Scott Ackerman, secondly, Doering created a piece previously for Hopkins for his home, and lastly, because they all like art and want to support anyone who is from the area succeed.

"He's very talented and it's really interesting to see him grown and succeeding and he was nice enough to do a piece here in Garden," he said.  

Born and raised in Garden City, Doering graduated in 2000 from Garden City High School. After high school, he attended Kansas State University where he graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor's degree in Metalsmithing and Jewelry. 

Doreing said his interest in art began at a young age with drawing, he always got in trouble in school for drawing instead of doing actual course work. 

By the time he got to high school, Doering was taking any art classes he could and by the time he entered college he had made it his focus, however print-making was his focal point in the beginning.

"I was taking some print-making courses and I just fell in love with this metalsmithing class – soldering and welding, doing some things with metals, that I kind of switched my focus from print making to the small-scale sculpture," he said.

After college, Doering moved to Hawaii where he worked for local artist Rick Mills, who was a glass professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. At the time, Mills did a lot of large-scale sculptures for airports, hospitals, etc. 

"I was like his assistant and I learned a lot from him on that aspect of the installation and handling large-scale sculptures," he said. "I was able to use that down the line, now, when I'm doing my own pieces. That was definitely good, being a part of that with him." 

It was probably six or so years after he graduated college before he got into creating his own sculptures/art, Doering said. At that time he had moved from Hawaii and was living in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was working for Peter Lik, a world-renowned landscape photographer, building galleries and his corporate furniture.

"I started producing my own stuff at the end of kind of working for him," he said. "I started doing my own stuff and that's when I broke off from him and started my own company in Vegas. It was a light fabrication metal company, I did gates and railings and custom furniture, things like that, but then slowly I was able to start getting more and more jobs producing sculptures for people."

Doering said the piece that got him to really pursue creating and selling his own art was a 4 ft. tall metal ahi tuna that was hand drawn, framed and painted that he gave to a friend for his wedding.

"That was kind of the beginning of it, but I would say my first major piece was with a company that gave me a job called Kevin Barry Fine Art and it was a large hanging mobile, kind of like Alexander Calder," he said. "He's probably one of the most famous large-scale sculptors out there in our time. He does these large, really intricate hanging pieces that balance."

He remained in Las Vegas for about five years before moving his whole shop, Metal Method Company, to San Diego, where he's been for nearly seven years. 

"Things really blossomed there," he said. 

Doering continues working with Kevin Barry Fine Art, which he described as an art consultant company, and others that help find work for him, mostly in hotels and large buildings, large corporate settings.