Dessa Kirk is known for her tall, graceful sculptures of the nymph Daphne, and large-scale lilies created from old Cadillacs.
Dessa began working with metal as a child in Alaska where she spent summers with her grandfather at a remote gold mine. A
resourceful man, he encouraged Dessa to make whatever she could envision or draw. Together they welded and built machinery
in the mine. Dessa's teen years were difficult, but her devotion to sculpture paid off when she landed a scholarship at Chicago's
School of the Art Institute. She stayed in Chicago after graduating in 1996, and in 2006 she bought a building on the city's
West Side that doubles as her home and studio.
As a teenager, Dessa watched the many prostitutes working the streets of Anchorage. These women were controlled by pimps whose
greatest desire, aside from power and wealth, was to own a Cadillac. By crafting her large lilies from old Cadillacs, Dessa
restores beauty and dignity to objects that came to symbolize the degradation of women. Her Daphne sculptures represent strong
women who have found freedom through faith, surrender and acceptance, themes Dessa says are at the root of her work. Photography
on this page courtesy of Bill Richert.
Dessa has been commissioned to create an outdoor sculpture for the city of Columbus, Indiana, and her work can be seen in
Three Oaks, Michigan, West Lafayette, Indiana, Anchorage, Alaska, and Chicago's Grant Park.
Learn More About the Other Artists in
Dessa Kirk on: CHICAGO
Pier Walk Sculpture Show
DAPHNE AT GRANT PARK
ALASKA AND ART
PRAYER AND MORTALITY
Visit Dessa Kirk's website at