Nearly 94 years old, Fresno's "Man of Steel" keeps creating and influencing

Wednesday, June 5, 2019
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Chris Sorensen, also known as Fresno's "Man of Steel," is still working hard at age 93 in his Southeast Fresno studio.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At age 93, you'd think Chris Sorensen would want to take it easy.

"What's to do when you don't do? Nothin'," Sorensen said in his Southeast Fresno studios on S. Van Ness. He began working on the property in February 1990.

"And somebody said 'oh maybe you got room for me in here,' and I said 'oh okay,' and it just grew by itself."

Since then, the studio bearing his name has grown to house more than 60 local artists. They come from different walks of life and careers, but they all gather to create under the watchful eye of Sorensen.

"He's here at least five days a week," Michael Frank said of Sorensen. Frank is a digital artist and sits on the board at the studio. "He's always working. And he is generous to a fault with his knowledge and his time, and he is really a great person to work with."

The atmosphere inside the studio is a friendly one and encourages collaboration and sharing of ideas.

"It's like a family here, it's a neat place to be and a neat place to hang out," said artist Tom North.

"That camaraderie between artists is one of the great things about being down here," said metal sculptor Eric Holt. At the center of that camaraderie is Sorensen, who gets to the studio at around 8 a.m. every day and surveys his kingdom from atop his bike, stopping to talk with artists and take in the creations made under his roof.

"He gets around very quickly on his bike," Frank said.

Sorensen also still does some creating himself. He's always used scrap to create, using everything from paint cans to hangers, and says he's never paid a dime for supplies. He also tries to make sure everyone who visits leaves with a handmade gift.

His studio is open every weekday, but perhaps the best time to see it is during ArtHop (which Sorensen helped create). Their reception is held at the studio every first Thursday of the month and features a different theme each time.

Sorensen turns 94 this June.