The New York Times recently reported on the death of Charles Ginnever, a talented metal artist who was commissioned by some of the most influential people for his work. There are a number of his sculptures dotted around the States, from public parks to universities. Apart from having a keen eye for the geometric, Charles also had to have remarkable skill at welding in order for these works to stand. It’s always hard to tell exactly when an artist becomes a welder, or when a welder becomes an artist. For welders who want to take that next step and start creating for art’s sake, it helps to know more than just how to achieve precision control with TIG.
Know Your Materials Intimately
Rebecca Fox, accomplished welder and gifted artist, is known to defy the rules in order to get the effect she wants with her work. She’s known to increase temperatures and push welds to their limit in order for her art to flourish. For Rebecca, it’s important to let her art speak to her and then allow her welding to take the piece to the next level. One of the things she hopes to achieve with all her pieces is balance. Practicing and fine-tuning her welding skills are key to her success, as the quality of the weld will determine the overall effect of the piece. If the welding job is not perfect or doesn’t create the effect she wants, or if she doesn’t know how the metal will respond, it has the potential to damage hours and hours of fabrication and design.
Be Ready To Explore Mediums
While the crisp, clean lines of a perfectly fabricated piece of steel might seem like a go-to option for those hoping to turn their welding into art, Burning Man 2019’s sneak peek into the art installations reveals so much more. From the Rhino Redemption to I.L.Y. sculpture, artists reveal pure, unfiltered talent that goes beyond the status quo and allows freedom of expression, which isn’t always possible with perfectly fabricated steel. The art festival, which attracts 80,000 visitors, highlights some of mankind’s most intimate dialogue, and it’s not uncommon for artists to use materials that both reflect and honor this. The I.L.Y. sculpture is made entirely of repurposed materials such as scrap metals and repurposed woods to encourage emotion and dialogue. Gardner Metal Recycling asserts that scrap metal and recycling plants have a dual purpose in this dialogue. It functions as a treasure trove for those who understand the importance of repurposing, and also serves as a singular drop-off spot.
More Than Just A Bead
While construction welding requires a bead to be perfectly fed and welded for the integrity of the structure, those who have discovered the flexibility of the bead have undoubtedly seen the potential. The combination of metal and heat produce a product that can be manipulated into something beautiful. While it takes a fair amount of precision, a weld can quickly turn into a personal memento or piece of art.
A steady hand and an eye for detail are a welding artist’s best assets. By bending the rules a little, welders often discover new techniques that allow their art to pop.