Calder worked for several years after graduation at various jobs, including as a hydraulics and automotive engineer, timekeeper in a logging camp, and fireman in a ship's boiler room.
While serving in the latter occupation, on a ship from New York bound for San Francisco, Calder awoke on the deck to see both a brilliant sunrise and a scintillating full moon; each was visible on opposite horizons (the ship then lay off the Guatemalan coast).
In October of 1930, Calder visited the studio of Piet Mondrian in Paris and was deeply impressed by a wall of colored paper rectangles that Mondrian continually repositioned for compositional experiments.He recalled later in life that this experience "shocked" him toward total abstraction. Produced, directed, and written by Robert Pierce; narrated by Lary Lewman; production manager, Mark Muheim, assistant camera/sound, Zack Krieger. Thirteen/WNET and Florentine Films/Roger Sherman Pictures, New York. Produced and directed by Roger Sherman; written by Thomas Mc Namee; narrated by Tovan Feldshuh, music by Teese Gohl.Calder's renderings of his circus often lasted about two hours and were quite elaborate.Indeed, the predated performance art by forty years.Arp, in order to differentiate Calder's non-kinetic works from his kinetic works, named Calder's stationary objects "stabiles." In 1933, Calder and Louisa left France and returned to the United States, where they purchased an old farmhouse in Roxbury, Connecticut. Barcelona: Fundació Joan Miró–Centre d'Estudis d'Art Contemporani, 1975. Museum at Large and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Directed and produced by Paul Falkenberg and Hans Namuth; narration by Louisa Calder, Tom Armstrong, and John Russell.
Calder converted an icehouse attached to the main house into a studio.
Calder's earliest attempts at large, outdoor sculptures were also constructed in this decade.
These predecessors of his later imposing public works were much smaller and more delicate; the first attempts made for his garden were easily bent in strong winds. Corder; produced and written by David Idema; cinematography by Werner Schneider; narrated by Tom Saizan; edited by Bill Prins.
He also took a job illustrating for the , which sent him to the Ringling Bros.
and Barnum & Bailey Circus to sketch circus scenes for two weeks in 1925.
The experience made a lasting impression on Calder: he would refer to it throughout his life.