The Art in detail

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We Art Junk - "Skyrim dragon"

In 2011 we set sail for the deep blue with “Legends of the Sea” and in 2012 we flew into the wild blue yonder with “Knights of the Sky”. During the next two years, we were on hiatus while one man and his wife went out on the open road to explore the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Now once again, we have chosen to accept the challenge and compete in Old Town ScrapFest 2015! 

Taking a step back in time, we are traveling to a mythical land where dragons are not mere fairy tales. Our inspiration comes from the very popular video game “Skyrim”, where a very real dragon with reptilian traits stands guard over a Legendary Dragon Priest’s tomb.  

We hope you enjoy this one-of-a-kind mystical masterpiece as much as we enjoyed the daunting challenge of building it. And I do mean challenge, both mentally and physically! (Yes! Blood, Sweat and Tears were all shed in the making) We stayed true to our custom of using old-school, metal-fab tools and leaving the repurposed scrap essentially unaltered to reflect its former history. The amount of hours invested in this piece well surpassed our previous entries and pushed us into the realm of insanity!!! 

Jack Sh*t the LAST American Hero

This has been an opportunity I have inquired about for years. This year I decided to make the attempt to actually follow through and enter.
To be able to create and work and make something out of nothing has always been of interest. As you may see with artwork submitted, I have been working on a frame for a motorcycle.
There were so many ideas and thoughts I had throughout this whole venture. The more I got in to the process the more ideas that came. And even if the final piece comes out other than I had originally envisioned, I will just be happy with the fact that I was able to complete and turn something in at the end.

Hammered - "Jonah"

1st Place & people's choice

The idea behind this sculpture started with a whale, so when I decided to listen to Moby Dick, a passage from the book made it all click: Jonah.

“The ribs and terrors in the whale arched over me a dismal gloom, while all Gods sun lit waves rolled by and lift me down deepening down to doom. I saw the opening maw of hell, with endless pains and sorrows there; which none but they that feel can tell. Oh I was plunging to despair. In black distress I called my God, when I could scarce believe him mine, he bowed his ear to my complaints, no more the whale did me confine. With speed he flew to my relief, as on a radiant dolphin born. Awful yet bright as lightning shown, the face of my deliver God. My song forever shall record, that terrible, that joyful hour; I give the glory to my God, His all the mercy and the power.”

 I have always enjoyed making kinetic artwork, and ScrapFest has been a great avenue. The challenge of making art from scrap shapes all of these pieces. You could do the same show with the same guys and the same ideas a year later and end up with totally different works of art. I think that’s one of the things that intrigues me most, the art is shaped by the recycled materials it’s built from just as much as it’s shaped from the artist. 

Tack It! - "Water Basin"

Our team drew inspiration from the rain. We wanted to incorporate the natural beauty of flowing water. Having water gardens and rain chains in mind, helped us design a piece that reflects the elegance of water through interaction. When the basin overflows, it runs down the spires creating an illusion that the fish are swimming. This is a versatile piece that could be used as a bird bath, a rain catcher, or a fountain. Perfect for attracting wildlife or beautifying your property.

Ferrouscious - "Perspectives on grace"

In the beginning of this project, we, as a father and sons-team, contemplated the meaning of grace and its relationship to forgiveness and soul-freedom.  We wanted to express this relationship in our work because we believe it is the key factor in being the kind of people we want to be.  In discussing how to demonstrate the concepts we had in mind we noticed a conflict between ourselves and the actual experience of grace.  This obstacle turned out to be of our own making, a kind of inner prison of hubris resulting in a dangerously constricted perspective of our communities.  Therefore we asked the question,  how does one find freedom from these prejudices against those not like us?

 We found that it takes kneeling, a posture of lowliness to experience this grace, which by definition is undeserved and unearned.  Humility gives us a more honest perspective of our neighbors and of ourselves as well, as we allow grace to release the shackles of prejudice.  Grace gives us the opportunity for freedom to love and enjoy our neighbors rather than hate their differences.  Grace empowers us to forgive as it weakens the desire for retaliation.  These are the elements we have sought to include in this project to remind us of where our true liberty is from.

Team Meltdown - "Green Caterpillar"

We are building a Caterpillar playing the drums. We wound up with lots of pots from the scraping. Breanna said she was looking for clean lines when she was scrapping. The pots worked well for a drum set. We've enjoyed exploring the 3D side of art and creating something from the scrap that is fun to look at!

Iron on the Move - "The Old Street Lamp"

For ScrapFest 2015 I entered the scrap yard on pick day with two ideas, and right away found several pieces that would work well for the idea presented today -- "The Old Street Lamp." 

Long retired from service, but never forgotten, these gas fired guardians of the night kept many a city dweller safe and helped guide them home, standing sentry throughout the night. Tended to by caretakers who treated them as their own children, the lights guided many a generation through gently lit streets and safely to their doorsteps.

This light can be wired to work by a crafty electrician.

After my wife and I finished picking, our scrap weighed in at 300 lbs. When I arrived home and we unloaded, I wasn't 100% happy with the metal pieces we had picked. After some head scratching, I decided I could alter the project a bit and make the materials work. Cut, grind, weld, hammer, heat, grind, cut, weld, etc. The project was completed ahead of schedule.

This is my first time painting a ScrapFest project. We have participated since 2010 and feel this year's entry is one of my best!

The Barn - "The lighthouse"

2nd place finisher

A quintessential Michigan icon; the LIGHTHOUSE. Over 120 are still in operation around our state's shorelines. The main tower of this lighthouse is 100% stainless steel, including the welds. Everything from scrap food trays to old hospital shelving was pounded flaunted cut to size to make the bricks of the tower. The top includes all types of scrap, from bicycle parts to bits of barbecue grills.

The Barn has participated in every ScrapFest. It is an annual event we look forward to, and enjoy watching it grow bigger each year.

Note to Bidders: Free delivery within the Lansing area. Beacon light can be made functional for additional cost.

Brazing Saddles - "river's edge"

We originally thought that participating in the Old Town ScrapFest would be an interesting endeavor. But we underestimated exactly how much fun this was going to be! From the rainy day scramble for our scrap, to the completed sculpture, it has been a blast! We tried to choose something that represents Michigan and all of its natural wonders, while creating a piece that would appeal to the masses through the use of recycled material. We believe we have accomplished all of this with our entry, "River's Edge." Thanks to the ScrapFest committee for the opportunity to be involved in such an awesome event.

Welded Bliss - "Metal Mantis"

3rd place finisher

Created by team Welded Bliss, this statue represents a predator that is the master of mimicry and often found in the backyards of Lansing. Fearsome, fascinating, and always eye catching, the mantis seemed a good candidate to forge in metal as the textures of our scrap easily looked like the limbs of insects. Building the object was a great learning experience that seems way too short. This is our third year in the competition and we have enjoyed it very much. We hope this piece will be seen as a reminder of the diminutive, deadly, and complex beauty of the mantis.

Scrap on my mind - "Michigan Cheers"

We set out to make a project we'd desire to own ourselves. A bar and table set made from pieces of Michigan industry; recycled, repurposed, recreated. Heavy-duty construction, adjustable stainless steel legs, clear-coat finish.

Cheers! And enjoy!

Dedicated to the memory of Josh Platt, brother and teammate.

A Mind of Metal - "Mosquito"

I made it a point to make time this year to do ScrapFest. I'm glad my team was accepted and that I've been given this opportunity to flex my creative strength.

I only had a vague idea of what I was going to build on pickup day, so we grabbed a little bit of everything! I finally decided on creating a giant mosquito. Not only is the mosquito Michigan's unofficial state bird, but it reminds me of the tourist traps in the Upper Peninsula. We wanted to incorporate as much random scrap as possible so as to draw viewers in and make them see how scraps can be repurposed (i.e., garage doors, aluminum lamp shade, porch railing, door panel, industrial spring, light fixtures, wire fencing) into visionary pieces of art. Scraps are great resources for a number of reasons; they are cheap, often free, provide artists with a challenge to think outside the box in revamping neglected items, and introduce the beauty of scrap to more people outside of the ScrapFest and artist community.

I've really enjoyed expanding on my sculpting skills while incorporating my welding experiences/knowledge when working on this project. It was beyond rewarding to me when I dropped my piece off because not only had I transformed my scrap into art in two short weeks, but that my piece is sitting among other artists (both novice and experienced) to be evaluated in this competition.

A Smith in Mason

My process during Scrapfest is purely organic. I try not to over design or overthink where I'm going. I try to take each step in turn, letting the work develop in its own time. Sometimes it takes a while to let the ideas come together. But, for me, it's the only way to find my creation, which I feel is hiding in the steel waiting to be uncovered (or in some cases, beaten out!) 

In all my art I want there to be story; I want to make the viewer think. I want the viewer to wonder what this thing is, or what it used to be. I enjoy bringing the age old method of blacksmithing to bear next to newer methods of welding and plasma cutting to create something which I hope inspires a timeless quality.

I will not tell you what this piece means or represents. I leave that to you. If I have succeeded in my goal you may have ideas, but no certainty.

Artistic Design Services - "Rise"

"Creativity within confines ignites the imagination and pushes boundaries. Forced to work inside the box has merit." 
- Andrew Sandstedt.

As an artist in long term recovery, the image and symbolism of the Phoenix has carried great significance to me the last three years. Much of my work as an artist consists of using repurposed and reclaimed materials. I am a firm believer that people, and things, deserve a second chance. That is why ScrapFest is an event that is near and dear to my heart. It is an opportunity to create something beautiful from material deemed as junk.

The Phoenix represents the very sport of ScrapFest itself. Rise is the second chance of what 480 pounds of various metals can become. Before this creature of fire could rise from the ashes, much of the metal had to be cut, ground, sanded, hammered, and bent. It is a challenge to be forced to fabricate with only pieces collected from the scrap yard. Many of the pieces had to look worse before they became better. The main part of the body is actually constructed of six different pieces which all happened to be the same thickness. The wings and tail are made of of 14 different pieces of plate steel of various shapes and sizes. 

It is a privilege to once again be participating in ScrapFest. Enjoy Rise!

Scrappers Delight - "Mary Anne"

Virginia Lee Burton's books were known for their themes of "importance of teamwork, environmental awareness, perseverance and adapting to change while still recognizing the importance of the past."

For years my wife encouraged me and my family to form a team and enter ScrapFest. This year it stuck. I knew exactly who the members should be and an idea of what to build. When one of our favorite childhood books came to mind, we entered Friedland's with a dream and emerged with the perfect pieces to build Mike Mulligan's "beautiful red steam shovel, Mary Anne." 

From the formation of the team, the pick, and the execution of the build, Mary Anne came together magically with only a child's book and a keen eye for a blueprint. Our goal was to personify the storybook characters and stay true to the simple illustration style of Virginia Lee Wolf, and we nailed it. We hope an individual, business, or organization will enjoy this masterfully built piece for years to come. We really enjoyed building Mary Ann and spending some time with each other, working together and we recorded our journey on Facebook at Scrappers Delight.  Please like our page and enjoy our journey from picking day to completion.

Iron in the Blood - "299 and Me"

Ancient legend tells of a great Persian army, vast in number, being held off for seven days by 300 Spartan warriors in the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC). Had they not been betrayed by a local resident, history can only speculate how long they could have fought. They were very well trained, well equipped, and fighting for their homeland. This sculpture depicts one of those legendary Spartan soldiers.

This project was a challenge, being the first anatomical piece for each artist on the team. We favor abstraction, so it's not intended to be physically perfect. It's meant to guide the eye and to hint at the skill and discipline within. 

This sculpture showcases the physical manipulation of steel. Heavy steel bar and plate were aggressively forged and hammered to provide a stout body. The hammer and construction marks are intentionally left to display this handiwork. Traditional joinery methods, used by blacksmith since pre-Greek times, hold most of the joints and equipment together. There were several sweaty brows (and yes, burns too) while creating this piece. 

Team Buzzard - "Rex Head 1030"

We've participated in ScrapFest every year since its inception. Although we've learned from our previous experiences and refined our techniques somewhat year-by-year based on said experience, our basic approach remains the same now as it was for year one.

We've always viewed our ScrapFest sculptures as an exercise in improvisation, from start to finish. Rather than beginning with a preconceived idea of the finished piece, our sculptures first begin to take shape in the initial process of selecting their constituent scrap components, as certain pieces of steel suggest certain aesthetic and structural possibilities. These possibilities are then further explored; some rejected, some retained, and then eventually executed as composition proceeds into construction.

We've always rejected producing finished pieces that are strictly representational, preferring instead to work in the realm of the abstract, leaving it up to the viewer to decide for themselves what the piece suggests to them, leaving open an entire array of potential responses beyond mere recognition of a familiar shape, form or function. In this way the improvisational spirit in which the project begins results in an equally open-ended result in the eyes and minds of those who view it.