LARGER THAN LIFE

by CAROLINA RAMIREZ HERRERA / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

ONE CAN SAY THE LOWER Florida Keys are what first inspired Florida sculptor Ed Koehler as a young boy. Growing up with a mask and snorkel, he was always fascinated by sea life and paving his own way forward. His art training was not standard either. Like his sculptures, Koehler’s art training was organic, and he drew experience and skills from a variety of professions. Construction worker, plumber, the Air Force, boat captain—all offered discipline and knowledge for his work in fiberglass, cast stone, concrete, tile mosaic, steel, aluminum, wood, plaster, rubber molds, resin and epoxies.

“I sculpt art larger than life because as a child I explored the intricacies of nature’s elements: leaves, water, stone and sea life,” says Koehler. “And I just loved the details of their structures, colors and shapes. So as an adult, I naturally bring that wonder out in a larger way to fulfill our childlike curiosity and amuse our adult memories of what it was like to see small things in a big way.” Never satisfied with the mundane, the artist has always looked for new challenges and adventures. Flowing from one medium to the next has been normal for Koehler and his high-energy personality.

The current body of work Koehler is producing includes organic lamps and tables, wall sconces and accessories. Large and small, these functional art sculptures appear like mangroves, driftwood and coral, as seen in the mangrove lamps, driftwood wall sconces and coral chandeliers. A reminder of Koehler’s underwater visions, twisting and turning, each functional art piece is handmade, one-of-a-kind, original and ever-changing, and of course, all sculptures are signed by the artist.

In the past 30 years as an artist Koehler has created more than 2,200 pieces and 900 commissions, and he remains forever grateful for the opportunity to share his work with others.

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Carolina Ramirez Herrera is an art-  and design-obsessed travel and lifestyle writer, who often contributes to blogs, city guides and lifestyle publications, sharing a page from her little Black Book of personal travels. Based in Miami but usually on a plane, follow her on @lacarolinda.