Thad Trubakoff

Dolores TropianoSeptember 1, 2014
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ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Thad Trubakoff  is “carving out” a career as a kinetic-wood sculptor. His display this month at R. Pela Contemporary Art contains several automated artworks, including a vintage phonograph that’s both exquisitely beautiful and surprisingly functional.

“Great Grandpa’s” – as the piece pictured on the left is aptly titled – pays homage to Trubakoff’s grandfather and his penchant for turntable tinkering. The piece features salvaged parts from old record players and a gramophone horn made from intricately laser-etched, steam-bent, laminated and hand-stitched maple sections. The framework and hand crank are cast from bronze and iron. “It’s really cool. You wind it up, put the needle on and out comes the crackling noises,” the Tempe-based artist says.  

“Mandala” is a three-dimensional configuration of geometric shapes that doubles as a modern meditation tool. The mandala is made from birch and cocobolo wood. A gyroscope, which Trubakoff describes as a microcosm of universal bodies, is placed in the center. The mandala, like the meditator, stays balanced despite outside forces acting upon it.  

Trubakoff, 28, was born in Flagstaff and grew up disassembling whatever he could get his hands on. He fell in love with woodworking in middle-school shop class and later snuck into woodworking classes at Arizona State University as a student of architecture and industrial design. He will complete his master’s degree in fine arts in December. His assortment of studies combines to make him a master of many disciplines. “The lines between artist, architect, designer, engineer, inventor and scientist have become very blurry for me,” Trubakoff says.

Check out his creations Sept. 5-30 at R. Pela Contemporary Art, 335 W. McDowell Rd. in
Phoenix, or visit

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