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Night Birds

A flock of oversized birds with neon-lit feathers hovers among the trees.

Artist | Michael Young

Michael Young is a Chicago artist specializing in site-specific public sculpture and light-based work. For over thirty years, Young’s customized artwork and design have appeared in numerous public and private collections across the United States and abroad.  

Highlights include permanent exhibition design for the National Smithsonian Air and Space Museum along with corporations (McDonalds, Hyatt Hotels, RDD Tokyo), schools (including Ballou Senior High School and River Terrace Special Education Center in Washington DC, Carthage College in Wisconsin), and private collections.

From concept to installation, Young’s aesthetic reflects the values and interests of each sculpture’s site and surrounding community. After studying science - primarily botany and ecology – while obtaining a Bachelors degree at University of Wisconsin at Madison, Young’s work with organic-forms suggests the interdependence of environmental elements. Skilled in materials ranging from aluminum, bronze, and stainless steel to wood, glass, and light, Young’s work is self-fabricated at Sedgwick Studio, a local metal fabrication studio.

Night Birds | Artist Statement 

All environments are interconnected - from sapling bending in the wind to leaves intertwined to a “hello” exchanged between neighbors. Occurring in seconds, elements combine in “symphonies of site”, forming the fabric of our shared existences before disappearing into time’s continuum. Working near-exclusively in public art, I freeze the fleeting. Hardy materials like aluminum, bronze, and stainless steel transform transitory moments into timeless sculpture. My abstract style aims for a sense of emotional connection - harmony, growth, energy – and simultaneously promotes unity while remaining personally meaningful to each viewer. Extensive experience in light-based sculpture (to my knowledge, there are no forms of lighting I haven’t utilized) allow me to not only integrate lighting into artwork but fully consider its impact on the final piece. Whether bright splashes of neon or sustainable LEDs, lighting brings both vivid color and inherent visibility. 

Additionally, metal is manipulated to take advantage of sunlight’s sparkle, providing vibrant sculpture, day or night. Durability is a further asset. I fabricate my own work to ensure the highest quality material and craftsmanship, whether sculpture is mounted, free-standing, or even suspended. As a longtime Chicagoan, I construct art to withstand harsh winters and summers without requiring additional maintenance. I’m also accustomed to designing work enjoyable to any age, background, or culture. 


Night Birds by Michael Young

Lightscape, San Diego Botanic Garden

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