Metal is inert and has no life of its own. A sculptor, who shapes metal, gives it form and meaning – in other words he gives it life.
Meal can cut, textured, shaped, welded and colored. Using modern fabrication methods, an artist’s creativity is limited only by his imagination. Metal sculpture is one of the oldest forms of art known. While the first sculptures were created from stone, once man learned to use and shape metal, sculpting with this material soon followed. While sculpting from stone and metal follow to completely opposing processes, the end result is, in both cases, a work of art. The sculptor using stone starts with a block of it and removes all the material that is not part of the image he is trying to create. When everything not required is gone, what remains is the sculpture. When working with metal, the sculptor starts with nothing. He must find the metals he needs, shape them and join them together to form what he wants. If he is creating a molded metal work of art, he needs to create the mold into which the liquid metal is poured and from which the cooled hard material will take its shape.
Unlike stone sculpting, metal sculpture can be painted and polished to create additional effects. Also, metal sculpture is not limited to the use of metal alone. The final work of art can have metal combined with other materials such as wood, rubber and plastic, to create a variety of effects and meanings.
Metal sculpture also need not be static. Pieces of metal may be joined to each other in such a way that there is flexibility that allows the sculpture to bend and moves, as in the case of a working weather vane held in the raised hand of a human figure. A more modern take on this is the motorized metal sculpture. Electric and even gasoline engines are fixed to a sculpture allowing parts of it to move with mechanized precision.
Metal sculpture comes in all sizes from a one inch statue of a Pixie to a ten plus foot tall sculpture of an Amazon. Metal sculpture need not be realistic. Surreal creations using wired shapes and things found in a junk yard or at the back of a garage can be combined into great works of art. These is also almost no limit to the materials that can be used for metal sculpture. Any metal that can be cast, joined or shaped – which with today’s technology is nearly everything – can be used for creating meal sculptures.
And these works of art no not need to be only decorative. Metal sculpture can be designed or modified for practical applications. A sculpture with a flat top may be used as a table. One which is slim and tall maybe converted into a lamp. A small hollow one can be converted into a decorative flower pot. Unlike stone sculpture which are fragile in nature, metal is strong and if the design permits, any number of practical applications are possible.
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