In 2010, when I was twelve years old, my family realized that I had a real passion and talent for design. Welding came naturally to me as a medium for expression. I loved to look at a piece of metal with “fresh eyes” and see something that no one else could see. Then my job would be to elaborate on my vision so it would be obvious to others too! My mother, who was also an artist, had always done her small welding projects in the garage, which was a difficult and messy business. With my interest in much bigger projects, it seemed to make sense to build a studio/metal shop in the backyard.
People aways ask where I get my metal. From 1995 to the present, we have been visiting “Junk Yards” to collect pieces of scrap metal for future sculptures. If I don’t have an immediate use for a unique metal piece or part, I simply store it in a catalogued way in our barn and woods for future reference. I have over 10,000 pounds of metal squirreled away here and there on the farm, and I continue to collect.
I primarily use MIG-welding to put together my pieces, although I have taken an advanced welding course and can use other types of welding equipment. I have a conventional acetylene torch for bulk cutting, and a huge plasma cutter to do the job of refined cuts.
People always ask me how long it takes to create my pieces. I might have 10 to 20 hours in a personal piece for a client, and 50 to 80 hours in a large public piece.
The materials for metal sculpture are more and more expensive as steel prices continue to increase. Most of my material I get from junkyards, dumpsters, antique shops or yard sales.
I will pay about $1 to $2 per pound for metal, and most of my “small” sculptures weigh 20 to 100 pounds. My large public pieces might contain 1000-3000 pounds of metal or more!
This is not your everyday “arts and crafts” kind of projecting. I have caught myself on fire several times, melted my cutting mask, and experienced countless minor and major burns throughout my welding experience. My best advice: “Do Not Try This At Home!” In fact here's a short clip of what happened in my first hour of learning how to weld.
And my goals? Well, I strive to discover and replicate the essence of a subject, so that even if its made of gears and mufflers you can be sure its a fox and not a dog. My goal is to refine the art of noticing for both myself and others who enjoy my pieces.