It takes a lot for an artist to be recognized in his field. His works of art must pique a viewer’s interest, stand out from the crowd, and evoke a certain emotion from those who see it. One sculptor from South Dakota seems to have met all these criteria, and his outstanding metal art pieces will surely make an unforgettable sight.
John Lopez recreates the wild wild west out of old and discarded farm equipment, and the metal sculptures that he creates are nothing like you’ve ever seen.
These welded figures perfectly represent the iconography of the American West. Among some of John’s masterpieces include a bison, a horse with a plow, and a Texas Longhorn.
These incredible life-sized metal structures are made from materials you would find in a junk pile – metal scraps, chains, old plow discs. But John has a found a way to turn this would-be useless pieces of metal into something great.
John started out as a classical bronze sculptor right out of college. In fact, he has created several monuments for “The City of Presidents” project in Rapid City, South Dakota. His contributions to the project include representations of John F. Kennedy, Ulysses S. Grant, Jimmy Carter, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
As a bronze sculptor, he has visited a few metal art exhibits in Loveland, Colorado. In these expositions, John saw other artists who do scrap iron sculptures. He remembers being attracted and impressed by its textures every time he attends these fairs.
He had attempted to create metal sculptures for a few times already using his step dad’s welding equipment, but he started taking it seriously after his aunt died. She was a big inspiration in John’s life and also was his greatest fan.
He ended up moving into his uncle’s ranch to help him after his aunt died. His uncle wanted a cemetery in his land, so he helped him build it. John then sculpted an angel for the arch above the cemetery entrance in honor of his aunt.
He says he put a lot of energy and love into that small sculpture. The creation of that specific metal piece is what marked the change in his career path and where his passion for scrap metal art started.
John talks about his creative process during a chat with 7Q Interviews.
He says, “In every scrap pile, I find something unique or interesting I want to incorporate, so the dynamics of the sculpture are always changing. I can’t plan too much. I’ve got to be open to letting the materials go where they will. I think that’s what’s so fun about sculpting; you never know what you’re going to get.”
What a truly amazing artist! John has put so much hard work into creating these detailed, in-action sculptures that they almost look alive. Don’t you agree?
All photos were taken from John Lopez Studio, where you can find more of his other works.
Watch the video below to see how John creates his metal art pieces.