Life by The Creek

All photography shot in 35mm black and white film. 

“All I need are two backpacks: one for clothes and the other for my mobile office plus creative tools. Traveling is simpler in the realm of material objects since there is less to keep track of.” Michael Grab, 31, is a stone-balancing artist originally from Canada who currently lives in Littleton, Colorado. In 2008, Grab began his love for rock balancing while experimenting in the Boulder Creek. This form of artistic expression made him feel connected to the world and created a tranquil space. His spontaneity and love of this art form is self-evident.  He is well recognized and has been commissioned to create art all over the world travelling to many different countries: performing at festivals, events and teaching workshops about the art of balance. Through his extensive travel and challenging circumstances, Grab has learned how to adapt his artwork in many diverse environments.

Grab is a rather simple man. For a period of time he lived out of his old car and just took only what he needed with him. Since he is always on the move, materialistic things have never been an important to Grab. Happiness to Grab consists mostly of being able to focus on creating his artwork, photographing it and enjoying the nature outside by the creek everyday. However, there is more to his creations than meets the eye. His pieces consist of perfecting the art of balance, which involves being able to find the contact points on each rock. Grab searches for rocks that fit well together by focusing closely on the vibrations given off by the rocks and how they click together.  Art puts Grab into an active meditative state. He concentrates on the energy produced by the rocks to create structures that have harmony and utilize gravity. Grab often refers to himself and his stone balancing work as Gravity Glue because “Gravity is the only glue that holds these structures in equilibrium.”

By becoming fully immersed into each unique environment, Grab is able to maximize his extensive focus to achieve a creative mental and physical balance through perfectly balanced rock formations. He is fascinated by the art of stillness and how his rocks stay intact event during turbulent weather conditions. Grab puts an immense amount of dedication into his artwork. Sometimes even after working on a rock piece for ten hours straight, if it is not to his standards he will start over from scratch. His determination to create quality art is evident in his commitment to thrive as an artist and not accept less than the standards he sets forth.

Since Grab is usually working at the creek or at home he tends to spend most of his time alone. Although he enjoys meeting people while traveling Grab also enjoys having time to himself. Solitude is the best work method for Grab so he is not distracted by people and can focus on the surroundings he is creating his art in. While being secluded in the creek and in his studio at home, he often encounters stress from setting up gigs, managing money and emailing clients; yet Grab still manages a spontaneous lifestyle. Through his rather optimistic attitude, Grab always seeks out new opportunities for the future. Grab’s next goal is to figure out where he desires to travel next so he can expand his horizons and continue making rock art all around the world. Although he is not aware of his next destination, Grab uses the new challenges that arise in his life to prosper in his artwork. “I thrive outside my comfort zone. I am kind of obsessed with creativity because it is very unpredictable and it can not be scripted,” Grab stated.