Local artist Robert Sestok has been creating public art throughout the Detroit metropolitan area for decades, with his devotion to the arts beginning as a Seaholm High School student.
"Margaret Nichols was the art teacher at Seaholm, and she kind of encouraged me to follow my dreams, so to speak," he said. "She realized I had an interest in being creative. It just came naturally to me."
As a young man, Sestok was captivated by crafts, ceramics and glassblowing. Following high school, he went on to study at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.
"I was hypnotized by the potter's wheel," he said. "I thought that was very interesting, but I moved on from that and became involved with fine arts. I've pursued my career as an artist in mixed media, paintings and sculptures."
Sestok's works have been commissioned and purchased by individual art collectors in Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township and Birmingham, among others. His welded bronze sculpture in memorandum of Laura Sies stands at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills and his sculpture entitled "Palisades" was recently installed at Pierce and Brown streets in Birmingham.
"This work was commissioned by George Nyman." Nyman, a local businessman, dared Sestok to construct the 14-foot freestanding sculpture created from welded stainless steel. "George had a rock solid vision for this space and he challenged me to do my best work in creating this sculpture. The art in Birmingham is quite prestigious and I feel honored to be a part of it. I hope people enjoy it for many years to come."
Another Sestok piece, a bronze cast sculpture entitled "Man Overcoming Fate," is currently on display in the "Gift of a Lifetime: The James Pearson Duffy Collection" at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). The exhibition will continue through March 18.
"Jim (Duffy) was a personal friend of mine and he collected my work," he said. "He passed away and left much of his art to the DIA."
Growing up on Greenwood Street in Birmingham, Sestok said he drew from the support of his family in his journey to become a successful artist.
"I was influenced by my parents and their sense of creativity," he said. "My whole family has been very supportive of getting my career going to where it is today. Sometimes, you need to have people you can fall back on."
Sestok constructs his pieces in a barn located on the property of his Detroit home. While his hope is to simply continue his work as an artist, he is consistently growing and evolving in his craft....continued on page 2