Steve Koch: Wisconsin Callin´to Sculpture

He calls himself a stone carver, while the rest see an artist, I would dare to say he should be called, The One Who Whisper and Tame the Stones. 

As guessed, behind his great empathetic soul and human side, there is a story of overcoming, which he himself set out to tell in a future book, to which we will have to pay attention.  

Because Mr. Steve is not an ordinary person. 

 The form of the interview will not be either, therefore I have interspersed fragments of his history with editorial questions, a kind of tears and smiles; like life itself, which as soon brings a storm cloud as the particular charm of a Wisconsin artist, willing to give us his heart.  

With Misnich’s public, exclusively, Mr. Koch the artist:  

I was born and raised in the United States. I have lived in Wisconsin my entire life of 55 years. I was born from a family of five, lower middle class and never really had a plan for life, working construction and industry jobs, until 1996 which is when I started my career with Valders Stone and marble working with various forms of stone.I have learned and gained much experience in my 24 years of employment in the Stone industry.

I had a life changing event, on April 11, 2015. 

 I was in an ATV accident that put me on a coma for seven days. When I came  back, the first thing I remember was sitting in a rocking chair, starring at a cross that was hanging on the wall, I heard a voice and it said:

Love is all that matters.

Kind of back, I suffer a little brain damage, TBI, along with mutable broken bones: mainly my collar bone that was so shattered, it had to be put back together with a piece of stainless steel. Also lost hearing in one of my ears, side of my face was numb, could not even blink my eye, my wife had to tape it shut, so it would not dry up. All this stuff I learned later, because I do not remember, any of it, I don’t even remember how I rolled over my four-wheeler, on a strait gravel road. When I was younger, I used to race motocross all over Wisconsin. 

 I was very good at handling riding bikes jumped them flying through the air and such. 

I was very surprised to find out I crashed a four-wheeler on a straight gravel road. I can only guess some animal must have to have jumped out on me to make me crash, there is no other explanation for it. Then, after one surgery, multiple doctor’s appointments and two MRI´s, I was back. Doctors sad I was lucky to be alive but they have no idea what it’s like to live with TBI, meaning traumatic brain injury.

They told me, I would never return back to work as a stone carver.  

I was determined to prove them wrong.

They had me on so much medication to stop the head pain. Think about the worst headache you ever had and multiply by hundred, if it were not for the medication I would not be here today. As the head pain went away and my numb droopy face came back to life, I thank God for everything. The next step of coming back was to get off the medication that was keeping me alive at the time.

Don’t get me wrong the medication made me feel very good, almost too good, but it was like I was drunk all the time, best way I can describe it. They told me if I stopped taking the meds I would suffer from seizures, it scared me, but living a life relying on medication to keep me going and being out of it, all the time, was wrong.  Getting off the meds was one of the hardest things I ever did but I would not have ever have got my life back together if I would have stayed like that.

Then, back in 2017, the company I work for asked me if I wanted to go to Indiana, to a limestone symposium, to carve stone. I of course said yes. I have carved two-dimensional like for fireplaces and such but I never carved three dimensional before. It was a monumental turning point in my life,I fell in love with it.

 I spent seven day in Indiana, met a lot of master carvers…

Today, my day to day activity is going to work. On the weekends I carve, which I was blessed with, after my brain trauma. I know my accident had everything to do with me being able to carve beautiful images from stone.  I see the world through different eyes, the colors are so bright and more vibrant, and I can see images in everything, kind of like looking up at the clouds and seeing an image.

Each stone has a masterpiece inside of it awaiting to be revealed.

 I look at a stone block, start chiseling away at it, and I see what it wants to be. 

Feel free, dear reader, to pay a visit to Facebook(click here), website Elmstreetstone.com( click here) or store, as kindly provided in each official site and find out more.

QUIZ TIME

Steven Koch´s food?

Fresh picked peas on the pod and watermelon.  

How about movies?

The 1997, Titanic and I love watching any documentary movies.

A bit of your music taste would be?

I love all music, musicals are my favorite to listen to along with classical instruments music. And when I want to jam it is  Queen, AC-DC, Scorpions, The Doors…

Your best childhood memory

Back in 8th grade, setting a new record for high jumping at a track meet at school.

If you were to change your life from scratch: what would be your greatest desire?

The answer is nothing, no doubt, I took the hard way to make it as a stone carver but I would not change a thing.  It made me a stronger person on the inside and out.  

What was the most sacrifice and worth?

Well that’s easy, dying and having a second chance, and doing it right this time.Before the accident, I was an alcoholic and drug user. The accident woke me up and I was given a second chance at life.

For the world at large 

I wish we could all get along in peace and love.  We are all the same no matter we’re you live. We are all human and have everything in common. If I learned anything from my near death and that is: Love is all that matters. 

Thank you for reading and I love you all. Steve Koch.

INTERVIEW/ REVIEW/ SCULPTURE/ USA/ WISCONSIN/ STEVE KOCH/ 26.02.2020/ MISNICH.CO.UK

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