Artist In Residency with Forging Ahead

How do you describe your Art?

I make custom artworks out of hundreds of hand cut, hand bent pieces of mild steel.  A sculpture puzzle.

How/When did you first become interested in your type of work?

I became interested in welding when I worked in the film industry in Special Effects in films in 1997. I initially wanted to become a mechanic as I loved working with my hands.

 

When did you first start creating your art? Did you study? Or were you mentored? Did it happen by chance?

I started creating my artworks in 2003.  I went back to TAFE to hone my welding skills and then it went on from there.  I started making mirrors as none were available in the style I wanted in the shops. Then people asked me to make mirrors for them.  I then started making wall arts, 3D wall arts and garden sculpture.

 

When did you first start making a career/profession from your Art?

I set up the business in 2013 and have continued from there.

Where do you find your inspiration? People, Places, events in your life?

I travelled to Cambodia in 2010 to see the wonderful craftman in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

They make gates and other steel arts out of hundreds and thousands of individual pieces. 

I’m inspired by the natural way of the word.  Recreating feathers that are made to look light but are really large heavy steel pieces.  I like to make branches and leaves, and flowers that move naturally in the wind.

 

What are your favorite colors to work with? What type of materials and textures do you love to use?

I work mostly in mild steel.  I use some recycled materials but most of my steel is new.  I occasionally add stainless steel features to my pieces. I like natural finishes like raw steel, which is oiled to keep its gray colour.  I also like to leave the metal to rust naturally over time.

 

What are some of the processes of your work?

I cut the pieces I want to use out of larger sheets or lengths of metal.  I then bend them into shape and weld them together.  Much of my work is like a giant puzzle.  1000’s of pieces that join to make large scale artworks.

 

Where/How do you sell your work? Do you have exhibitions or expos?

I sell my work through galleries and garden centres.  

I show my work at exhibitions like, the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show, and the Tesselaar Sculpture Prize. I do this through the Association of Sculptors Victoria of which I am a member.

 

I have a home studio which is open 7 days by appointment. 

I promote myself through Facebook and Instagram under the name of Forging Ahead Metal Art. 

www.facebook.com/forgingaheadmetalart

www.instagram.com/forgingaheadmetalart

 I am also a member of Nillumbik Artists Open Studios and have my studio open for 2 weekends in November and one in May.  People can come and visit, and watch me work.  They can also see many sculptures available for sale on display.

 

How long have you had your studio for? Any wonderful details about your house/studio?!

I have had my studio for 5 years. My studio is my double garage.  Its contains a blacksmith forge, a leg vice and anvil. 

It also contains modern equipment for cutting metal, a welder and plasma cutter.

Do not be put off that your studio is not big enough.  I have a large bench on wheels that can be moved around as required, or outside if necessary. 

My tip would be…visit as many other peoples studios as possible and find out how they make it work, and just begin.  

Happy sculpting

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