Declaring myself a Metal Sculptor
“Sea Shadows”, Tacoma Light Walk art installation in the window of Puget Law Group, 938 Broadway, Tacoma WA
Those who know me well, know I consider myself a lucky guy. Good things happen to me. Like many, the past few years however had me questioning my luck… With extra time I was fortunate to have an opportunity to get back to my original love of metal art. I was making some metal feathers and fish at Studio B in Tacoma, and also worked on a team project of a 6 foot high seahorse. I also had just made my first Octopus using bicycle gears and it was hanging in my living room.
It was a summer day in July 2022 that my daughter and I were working out on the track at Stadium High school. After our workout we were chatting on the artificial turf field and I told her that I had been thinking about identifying myself as a Metal Sculptor, when meeting new people. Seeking her approval, she simply said “sounds good” or something like that, but for me it was a shift in self-identity which was kind of a big deal. Now I was ready to try it out.
As we left Stadium High, Marissa asked about getting a lemonade at Thriftway. While making the lemonade the Barista was chatting about what we had been up to, and who we were. I introduced myself as a metal sculptor for the first time! She asked to see some pictures on my phone. I was liking the interest as she was immediately attracted to the Seahorse and Octopus. She stated that she was also an artist and asked if I knew about the Tacoma Light Trail. I did not. She told me it was a collection of artists that display in the windows of Businesses in Downtown Tacoma in January. The idea was to showcase local art and give residents a reason to go out for a walk at night in January. Her request was that I stay in touch and if a window became available, she would let me display my metal work.
Jellfish details, Tacoma Light Walk art installation
A few weeks later I found myself at the start of an Oregon Coast Road trip. The first stop was Miska Studio Gallery in Cannon Beach to drop off some art, including Raven feathers, and an Octopus. The Octopus sold in the first few days. I was growing into my metal sculptor identity.
Between July and November I had made several more metal sculptures for Miska Gallery and some friends who wanted to support me. A collection of Jellyfish I had made using bike spokes, copper wire, and bike gears gave me pride. What also made these attractive were the shadows they cast on my walls at home. Together Marissa and I experimented with colored lights, and lights with movement, that made the Jellyfish appear floating.
In November, Cheryl from Tacoma Light Trails called and said they had a window at Puget Law Group for me if I wanted to make a display. I was all in. Fortunately, I had a week between Christmas and New Years when both my kids were home and able to help. First my 23 year old son Alex and I designed and made a rolling table with background plywood to display the art. The table was sturdy enough to stand on which was great. We painted the background white, and the next step was to figure out what to put on the table to simulate the bottom of the ocean. My daughter and I brainstormed cardboard, real sand, shredded paper, and a few other things. We took a trip to Office Max and found some 3M expandable craft paper for wrapping and packing dishes that looked really good. With that complete, it was time to arrange the art and lights. The time lapse video pretty much shows how that came
The final step was to add the sound. Alex had found some meditation music that worked well. So with a speaker that vibrated the window, it was complete. Our first public art installation was live, and it felt really good to view it at night and see the results of stating “I want to identify as a metal Sculptor”
The Tacoma Light Trail event is happening December 31, 2022 – January 19, 2023. Check out their website for full light trail map and lots of cool events. My art installation, “Sea Shadows” is in the window of Puget Law Group, 938 Broadway, Tacoma WA.
You can also view my current metal art and sculptures here.