Born and raised on a ranch in western South Dakota, John Lopez already had a successful career as a bronze sculptor when he stumbled into the art form of welded statues. The story begins with a tragedy.
After the loss of a beloved aunt, Lopez went to his widowed uncle's ranch to build a family cemetery where his aunt would be the first to be interred. While building the cemetery gate, he ran out of material and visited a nearby scrap yard to find more. Lopez used the metal he found to weld a beautiful gate and an angel for the cemetery.
The experience lead him to do more welded artworks, and his pieces are now featured all across the nation. Lopez has compiled pictures of his works and the stories of their construction in his new coffee table book.
Inspired by the lone star state, Lopez's "Texas Longhorn" sculpture includes a guitar, a fiddle, the Alamo, and five Texas Rangers welded together with chains and gears harvested from farm equipment and scrap metal.
This work horse sculpture now sits at the entrance to a farmer's market in Kensington, New Hampshire.
Lopez says it takes him anywhere from 15 to 26 months to create one of these pieces.
"The inspiration just comes from my surroundings in South Dakota. It's just a part of our journey to discover new techniques, and this happened to be where my path took me." Lopez says of his awe-inspiring work.
"Wild West Buffalo"
This life-sized buffalo is made from chains, circular saw blades and other farm tools and scrap metal. You can learn more about John Lopez's work and see more sculptures on his website.
This post was originally published in May of 2017.