Selective Focus: Sid Boyum

Sid Boyum was born in Duluth in 1914, and lived most of his life in Madison, WI. He was an industrial photographer, graphic artist, folk artist, and sculptor.

Group portrait of Gisholt Machine Company office workers in formal attire. Most of the men are standing and holding drinks in their hands. A few are kneeling on the floor in front, and Sid Boyum (center, sitting on the floor) has a cigar in his mouth. Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

1987 Wisconsin Fishing Opener poster. Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

From 1963 – 1989 he created Wisconsin State Journal’s fishing season opener posters every year.

1987 Wisconsin Fishing Opener poster

In his later life, he turned his attention mostly to sculpture, and his yard and studio were filled with his cement creations. After his death in 1991, his home was forfeited to Dane County for non-payment of back taxes. There was a video produced called “The Sid Boyum Sculpture Project” that documented the efforts to preserve and move his sculptures from his home to parks and public areas around Madison. The full movie was on Vimeo, but has recently been removed. The trailer for the movie below still gives a good representation of the scale and volume of work at his home and studio.

Many of the sculptures remain at his home with the agreement of the new homeowner. An interactive map shows other places his art has been located to in his Atwood neighborhood of Madison.

Map showing the locations of Boyum’s sculptures in his Madison neighborhood.

Artwork for Ducks Unlimited by Sid Boyum featuring “A Self Retriever” or “A Dog Gone Duck,” which is half duck, half dog. The lower left corner of the poster also states the creature was: “Sired by A.T. Hatched by S.B. at K.H. Kennels. O.U.S. Wisconsin.” The drawing is hung below signs listing companies, all displayed in front of a curtain. Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

For those looking for more, there is a Friends of Sid Boyum website and Facebook page.

The Wisconsin Historical Society also has an archive of images searchable by creator.

Sid, holding an umbrella and sitting on bleachers outside the Wisconsin Historical Society building. Rain (graphite lines) is annotated on the negative. At the bottom is the text: “Not That You Won Or Lost, But How You Played The Game.”

Photo by Sid Boyum. Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Boyum appreciated the absurd in art, and was friends with Tom Every (A.K.A. “Doctor Evermor”), creator of the Forevertron and Alex Jordan, Jr., creator of the House on the Rock.

Christmas card created by and featuring Sid Boyum. Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Wisconsin Historical Society Sid Boyum Collection
Friends of Sid Boyum Facebook Page
Friends of Sid Boyum Website

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