Maze artist attracts a Herd of followers
Stan Herd is not a farmer, yet he is still living off of the land.
"I've never made a living off of Kansas and now I have more art than I can handle," Herd said.
Herd, a local artist, designed and helped cut the Butterfly Wishes cornfield maze at Pendleton's Country Market in Lawrence.
This is the second consecutive year that Herd and John and Karen Pendleton have teamed up to create a maze. Last year, a turtle maze was created.
"We had decided to do a corn maze a couple of years ago," Karen Pendleton said. "Right before we started cutting we decided it would be a snub if we didn't contact him (Herd).
"After one evening's conversation, we jumped in with both feet."
Now, after two years, the Pendletons and Herd share a close relationship.
"I think more of this as the Pendleton's maze," Herd said. "It's great to be out at the Pendleton's."
Herd's art covers a much broader range than merely cornfield mazes. He also creates portraits, murals, paintings, landscapes and sculptures.
Much of Herd's current projects are located in Kansas, but he said he likes to travel abroad. He's been contacted to work in China and Cuba.
"I like to think of my work as not just regional," he said.
An image Herd created last year represented peace between the United States and China. It was a Chinese symbol cut out of a wheat field.
Since Herd included a friend who was from China in the project, he said it made more of an artistic statement because it wasn't for profit.
"I don't get to do that very often just do art to make you feel good," he said.
Herd said the moneymaking aspect of his profession could not be put on the same level as pure artwork. Although he is proud of the butterfly maze, he said the turtle maze is of more significance because it was his idea.
"I used my talents to come up with the original idea, but they thought of it," he said. "It's (the butterfly maze) more of a commercial project."
As the press has recognized Herd's work, he said he has made more money, but still struggles at times. A problem he has faced is the difficulty of balancing creation over profit.
"Most creative people want to be recognized for their talent," Herd said.
"Sometimes I feel like I'm on a merry-go-round and can't get off.
"I didn't intend to become a businessman."
At the age of 40, Herd said the birth of his only son helped him refocus on what was important. His son, Evan, helps him create mazes.
"I watched him create when he was one. It reconnected me with the thought of creation," Herd said. "It's taught me a lot and this is something we've done together."
Herd was born and raised in Protection, Kan., and he has lived in Lawrence since 1983. He said he became an artist for the same reason that people become politicians or athletes.
"From a young age, Herd said he was more impressed with the Beatles than popular football players. He said he appreciated the gentler side of man.
"Artists became role models, and to me, the heroic male was one that was able to show his sentimental side," he said.
Herd's next project is a rock mosaic at Lawrence's Riverfront Mall. He is also working on a mural in Topeka.
Pendleton said Herd periodically visits the maze to sign autographs and meet with patrons. Most of all, she said he enjoys being on the farm.
"So much of his art work is out there," Pendleton said. "It's so large that it's hard to have personal contact with him.
"You see real excitement in his eyes when people come in and meet him."