In the mid 90s my wife gave me an anniversary gift, a class at the Ox Bow School of Art in working with copper with Ed Gray. When Ed's son-in-law came to do a demonstration on blacksmithing, I was hooked. I took classes at Ox Bow for years, ended up teaching a few myself and now have a studio set up at home.
I start the process by going to my favorite "boneyard" (scrap steel centers) and picking out pieces of steel that look interesting to me, mostly focusing on shape, texture and finish. I bring the pieces back to my shop and start putting them into piles that I think will work well together. Then I start laying out the piles and kick them around on the ground until I like what I see, which sometimes can take months, or just a few days. next I bend, forge and weld them together until I get a finished product.
The last and hardest step for me is picking a finish. I am colorblind so I don't do much with colors in my work. I try to use what the pieces of steel have to offer me. I can work with rust, I can use a hot oil patina if there is an interesting texture on the surface, or I can use a flat dark paint and just let the shapes take the focus.
What makes all of this work is that I love what I am doing. Very few artists get rich doing this, so it's not the money. My passion allows me to express myself through the steel. I am excited about what I can make it do and in the last few years, I've begun exhibiting my work - it's interesting to hear what the viewers see. All my sculpture is abstract and three-dimensional. I want the piece to be interesting from all angles, including pieces that hang on the wall. The negative space can be as important as the metal itself. I see the curves, bends, twists and the shadows they produce.
2017, Color, Texture, & Form Exhibition, Paint Creek Center for the Arts, Rochester, MI
2016, 34th Annual Michigan Fine Arts Competition, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Birmingham, MI
2016, 88th Regional Exhibition, Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, MI
2016, Roulette: Perpetual Motion, Waterstreet Gallery, Douglas, MI
ArtPrize 2015, Cathedral Square, Grand Rapids, MI
ArtPrize 2015,Venue Preparator, Cathedral Square, Grand Rapids, MI
2015, “Techtonic”,Waterstreet Gallery, Douglas, MI
2014, “Given Form”, Foundry Art Center, St. Charles, MO
2014, “High 5”, Waterstreet Gallery, Douglas, MI
ArtPrize 2014, Cathedral Square, Grand Rapids, MI
2014, 86th Regional Exhibition, Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, MI
2013, “It’s a Matter of Opinion”, Waterstreet Gallery, Douglas, MI
2013, OH+5, Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens,OH
2013, RePrize, Holland Area Arts Council, Holland, MI
ArtPrize 2013, Cathedral Square, Grand Rapids, MI
Festival 2013 Regional Arts Exhibition, UICA, Grand Rapids, MI
2012, RePrize, Holland Area Arts Council, Holland, MI
ArtPrize 2012, Cathedral Square, Grand Rapids, MI
2012, 84th Regional Exhibition, Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, MI
Festival 2012 Regional Arts Exhibition, Grand Rapids, MI
2016 Jeff Whitcomb & Cynthia McCartney
2016 Trinity Lutheran Church, Grand Rapids, MI
2013 Bislips Estate, Dunstable, UK