STEVE O'BRIEN

ARTIST STATEMENT

 

Art for me is a connection between a person and their perspective, a sense of imagination coming to life. I have always been fascinated with the railroad, not only was it the most important phenomena of its age it also brought profound change to America. We came to see stunning bridges, architectural accomplishment and miles of back breaking rails built piece by piece.

My childhood love of searching for treasures, objects and relics has had a strong influence in the way that I approach my work. My eyes are constantly scanning the ground among my surroundings, searching for treasures such as fossils, bones, artifacts or undiscovered metals. I bring this excitement to my artwork, harvesting a youthful curiosity that I try to preserve through my years of growing artistically and personally. The thrill of uncovering the undiscovered never landed me in a field of work like paleontology or archaeology, however, my knowledge of torches, heat, grinders and welders allow me to bring my imagination to life. In my work, I get to use my love for discovery and treasure-hunting when I search for my medium, not unlike the work of a paleontologist, but instead, I use those objects to manifest my imaginative visions of what those pieces could have been from. I use this approach to envision my work, and hope to remind others of their childhood fascinations, and love for the outlandish and grand. Each piece I create has an intention of showing energy, power and motion. Even though Railroad iron has limitations, I enjoys molding it into a final form, like putting together the pieces of a fossil. I use this approach to capture the eye, lift the spirit and arouse a smile.

My work is done by hand and each sculpture is one of a kind.  My process begins with cleaning the individual scrap pieces; then using various methods and tools to cut, grind, heat, and bend the metal - all while trying to maintain the original look and feel of the railroad scrap. I weld the components together to assemble a piece that is aesthetically pleasing and functional.

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