‘I am learning every day’: 84-year-old Wichita man sculpts to stay young

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Edd Harms, 84, always dreamt of becoming an artist, but it wasn’t until after decades working in corporate America, his wish became a reality.

“Banking, it’s the greatest job in the world, but we worked at it. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I didn’t really start sculpturing or painting until about 30 years ago,” said Harms.

Shortly after retirement, Harms said he needed to find a hobby and fast. He always had a knack for art.

“When I was in grade school the teacher made me stay after school one day and I thought I did something wrong and she said, ‘I want you to promise me that you will stay with your art,'” Harms explained.

That’s what he did. The grandpa immersed himself in painting and sculpting. He studied under some of the best artists in the state.

“There is so much to learn. There is no way I can begin to tell you the appreciation I have for Mark Arts and Babs and for six or eight other instructors that have helped me,” he said.

As the years passed, Harms skills improved. He has created hundreds of sculptures and paintings since retiring. Many of them adorn his home.

“I am blessed with the greatest wife anybody ever had. You can’t have a museum in your house and keep the wife happy unless she loves you a lot,” Harms laughed.

Harms said he and his wife were lucky enough to find a space in his son’s basement to turn into a studio. He clocks quite a bit of time in there.

“I probably do four hours a day, six days a week,” he said. “If I want to get up in the middle of the night and go to work, I can do it.”

He said each hour, whether it’s in the afternoon or at dawn, spent in his studio is an hour of learning.

“You continue to get better. There are people out there so much better than I, it’s pathetic, but you continue. I just in the last year or two reached the point I can do anything I want to do with a sculpture and I don’t think I have really reached that yet with artist yet,” Harms explained.

Harms said each piece he creates symbolizes a time in his life. He said the thing he loves most about art is the freedom it gives him to express himself.

KSN asked Harms how much more creativity he has in him. He said he plans to produce art for at least 20 more years.

“I got a lot to learn,” Harms laughed.

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