Friday, December 17, 2010

Heavy Metal!

I thought I'd share with you a project I've been working on the last month or so.

As some of you may know, I love metal sculpture.  One of my creative touchstones is Alexander Calder. I spent a good bit of my early career making wire sculptures aping his early style and have recently been involved in having sculpture based on my design produced.

My wife, deciding correctly that I needed a hobby, encouraged me to take some time off and try metal working on my own.  Fortuitously, I met a great metal worker in a nearby factory/turned artist loft who was open to my giving it a go once a week.

As I thought about what I wanted to make, I turned to recreating some of the bent paper pieces I make from time to time.  However, know I wanted to learn how to cut, bend, drill, and weld, I constructed them out of multiple pieces with the process in mind.

I made about 10 or so maquettes, starting with the much too complicated:

Leading to simpler ideas such as this one.

I brought them over to the metalworking studio, which is a Shangri La of old, mechanical machines that can kill you in various ways. Seriously, the equipment is insane.  You can burn yourself , cut something off, be crushed, stabbed, blinded and all sorts of things if you're not careful.  And even if you are, you are inches and seconds away from imminent maiming at any time.

It's beautiful.

So for the past 4 weeks I've take bits of steel and cut them, drilled them, bent them, sanded them, and welded them until I created this:

Then a quick bit of painting, and I've ended up with this:

It's all great fun.  Next year I'll start on a piece based on this:

It will, however, be improved upon, taking in the lessons I've learned during the completion of the previous piece and make use of shadows.  Here is my most recent maquette:

It's all so much fun.

If you have the time, I encourage YOU to try your hand at something for the fun of it.  It doesn't matter what you do; my wife throws pottery, my daughter paints, and I'm doing this for no other reason than it's great fun.  And while I know day to day life can sap you, by managing to find an hour and a half each week to just play I've been energized and had a ball.

Hope you like.