Oxygen and acetylene, otherwise known as oxyacetylene welding is the most common form of welding i do to create my small welded metal figure sculptures. Its very versitile and i can achieve both small and large welds. I can also heat, forg bend and cut the metal parts i'm working with.
Here you can see a set of large ears i sculpted out of bicycle sprockets.
Welded metal figure sculpting is more complicated than you think. Sure anyone can grab a welder and weld up some scrap metal to resemble the human form but if you want it to be anatomicaly convincing and look realistic, that's another story.
In the following posts in this catagory i'm going to talk about the process i go through from start to finish to create a welded metal figure sculpture.
There are so many things that inspire and intrigue me about creating figure sculpture with this medium.
The main thing i like about using scrap metal as a sculpting medium is that its so interesting to look at. every shape, pattern and form imaginable can be found in recycled steel.
Every piece of reclaimed metal has a history and tells a story about the past. That character adds in the expression of the finnished work of art.
Different people will respond in different ways to a sculpture according to what industrial metal parts are recognized. A horse rider may find a horseshoe piece, A builders eye may spot a hammerhead and a bikerider latches onto a bike sprocket. These recognizable pieces of our mechanical world speak to us in different ways and add to the individual experience and emotions that arrise when encountering this work.
the way these metals can be joined and shaped is very rewarding visually. The human form is a guide to anatomical accuracy and allows a reference point that the metal parts follow. Within this framework i can determine how abstract or expressionistic i want the piece to be.
I think the most inspiring moments in making this kind of figure sculpture is being in the zone. You know, that sweet spot of knowing that you did the best you could do and you exceeded your expectations with the results you got.
There are allot more things about this work that inspire me but to cap off this post ile end with this. In the world of fine art figure sculpture there are only so many materials that will work. Whatever material you choose, you want to be able to attain mastery over that material. I could spend the rest of my life trying to master the challenges of this medium but i think that true mastery over a material is an inner game. The mastery over myself to know that if its what i love to do then i should persue it.
A client chose to mount one of my wall art sculptures on this wood background. i think the combo of wood with the metal sculpture works realy well.
This piece is a favorite of mine. I titled it "Woven Reflections". welded entirely out of stainless steel. Most of the laticework on the face was done by plasma cutting tons of 1/8 inch sheet stainless steel into ribonlike pieces and the weaving hammering and welding them in place.
The monumental face sculpture was fabricated using a steel armature underneath it. the understructure is a sculpture as well.
The reason behind the name of this piece is that during it's construction 9/11 took place. It was somewhat ironic that i ran out of the ribbon like pieces of metal i was using and had to improvise by strategicly placing in the more geometrical rectangular pieces seen peaking through. These pannels were put in the day before the 9/11 tragedy. In retrospect after the piece was finnished i reflected on the piece and the event in NYC and was shocked to see what looked like buildings falling amidst smoke and rubble hidden in the fabric of the face.
The reflectiveness and woven structure of the metal, the reflection on the incomprehensible event and all the unfathomable emotions of all the people seemd to rest in peace in a simple gesture of a giant metal face. I feel like in some strange way it helped ground all the kaotic and fear based energy at that time and sent out a vibration of peace, calm and stabillity in a time of soul questioning and confusion.
Adding paint and color to my work has been challenging. for the first 23 years of doing this sort of sculpture i have mostly just clearcoated the metal to let the look of the material speak for itsself.
Here you can see the difference with just the clearcoat lacquor vs. the color lacquor. I realy love the raw metal look and it is somewhat a different animal, no pun intended, than the painted look. I reald did miss the excitement paint and color offers so here im happy to say im very content with the finnished look.
A blog on my sculpture and sculpting process.