The creepy-cool Christmas art of Kenny Irwin

I visited artist Kenny Irwin's holiday art show on the grounds of his large house in Palm Springs last week. It consists of dozens of robot sculptures made from discarded junk and thousands and thousands of tiny electric lights. The effect is otherworldly. It just might have been my favorite experience of 2006.

While I was wandering around the exhibit, I saw the bearded Irwin, wearing a turban and hobbling around on crutches. He told me he has been exhibiting his work for 20 years. Since he appears to be about 30, I told him he looks too young to have been doing this for 20 years. "'I've been doing it for 20 years!" he said, slightly agitated.

I noticed a piece of paper tacked to a board at the entrance to Irwin's house. It was titled DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS.

Here's what it said:


1) Where do I store everything?

2) How long did it take me?

3) What faith or nationality I am?

4) How big is the property

5) How much is the electric bill?

6) How much did it cost me?

7) Are you giving guided tours?

8) How big is your house?

Answers to most DO NOT ASK questions:

1) I have a legion of hollow robots for storage

2) Apx 2000 man hours mainly by myself since August

3) Faith or nationality is personal

4) Light Display covers apx 4 acres

5) Electrical cost is bigger than you can imagine

6) I will not disclose cost, but the light display is made possible by people like you who contribute, patronship, and personal art sales. This all for the benefit of the public

7) All tours are self guided again this year due to lack of help

8) Please don't ask questions like that

Here's a link to my Flickr gallery of Irwin's work. Link | Link to Kenny Irwin's Flickr page