Carl Zachmann was born and raised in West Central Minnesota, where the lakes and woodlands meet the plains. The son of kinetic sculptor Jeff Zachmann, Carl was exposed early on to the arts in his hometown and across the country. As a child he frequented museums, both historic and artistic, and spent his spare time taking things apart to see how it worked. In his teens he began volunteering with a group who restored vintage farming and industrial equipment. At the age of 16, with is first pickup truck, he explored his surroundings; visiting abandoned farmsteads and grubbing through scrap yards. He would often return home with forgotten and discarded treasures, beginning a collection of artifacts what would later influence his academic and artistic careers. From them, he further developed his love from America’s mechanical past.
Carl began his college career in the University of Minnesota’s engineering program, but with his passion for history, industry, and the arts driving him, Carl chose instead to pursue a BA in Archaeology with a minor in Art form Minnesota State University Moorhead. After graduation, he went on to receive a Master’s degree in Historical Archaeology from Illinois State University.
He merged his varied interests together through the creation of his machine art. Carl’s kinetic sculptures explore the designs and textures of America’s industrial past. Using his schooling in archaeological research and his knowledge of engineering, Carl studied vintage machines, old archives and drafting books to learn how to recreate many of the curved spokes and odd shapes of gears from before the Civil War to the early 1900s. The raw and distressed steel gears are put in motion and set against a static background that is accented by period graphics and vintage hardware, paying homage to the Industrial Revolution in an increasingly electronic world.