Be prepared to see sculpting like you’ve never seen it before. This video from Great Big Story, Sculpting From Scrap, focuses on the cowboy of sculpting. John Lopez could be working in a big city, in one of the art hubs of the world. But it’s on his isolated ranch that he feels more inspired to tackle his masterpieces. In Lemmon, South Dakota, he takes scrap metal and works with it in ways that you would never predict. He’ll take anything that’s steel— from spoons to tractor seats— and combines them. And, at first, it looks shambolic— until you take a step back.
“Amongst the ranches of South Dakota, artist John Lopez is welding unbelievable assemblages of scrap metal and discarded farm tools,” the description explains. “His constructions are larger-than-life recreations of bears, bulls, horses and more, all imbued with the spirit of the wild west. While his metal menageries may look like a chaotic fusion up close, stepping back reveals an animal come alive.”
He calls it a “textural experience… almost like a patchwork quilt”. But instead of quilts, he’s building beautiful, visceral animal sculptures on a scale that make the mind boggle. He features his work in a small art gallery he set up on the Lemmon, South Dakota main street. Take a look at his astounding work here:
There’s something not only brave, but inspiring about his choice to keep his workspace and displays local. As he says, it allows people who may not get exposure to this kind of art to experience it. Keeping it in a rural are not only stays true to the nature of the work, but it allows access for those who would get it otherwise. Because of him, they get to see it right on their main street— and what a sight it is to see.