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Stainless Steel
Friday | 13 January, 2012 | 3:50 pm

Industrial art

By Julie Sammarco

A metal artist helps beautify an industrial building

January 2012- Metal sculptor Steven Lockwood took on one of the largest stainless steel sculptures he’s ever done ... for an industrial building that houses heavy equipment for the printing industry.

Roselle, N.J.-based Pamarco Global Graphics also has a location in Batavia, Ill., where it manufactures equipment such as matched and precision-engraved embossing rolls and gravure cylinders.

Batavia Enterprises, Batavia, Ill., commissioned the project, which gave a stipend to six artists to each create one 8-foot-by-16-foot mural to be displayed on the west side of the Pamarco building at 180 S. Water St. Lockwood was among one of the six artists chosen. Some artists chose to use paint. Lockwood didn’t.

“I like working on a large scale, and working with metals allows me to do that more than any other media,” he says.

Lockwood, also one of the founders of Water Street Studios and director of its gallery, created a mural for the project titled “The Separation of Three,” which was made entirely from non-recycled stainless steel. The piece took nearly three weeks to construct and weighed more than 100 pounds.

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Lockwood also has made pieces such as the “Stroboscopic Windmill,” a bulldog with a steel collar reminiscent of Batavia’s historic windmills, for the town’s Chamber of Commerce. He’s made customized bike racks for the Batavia Bicycle Commission and Pedal and Spoke Bike Co. of North Aurora’s Borrow A Bike program. He also creates residential work such as fire pits, bookshelves, wall installations and banisters.

Choosing metal
Today, he considers himself a metal artist, but he didn’t always.

I went to school and graduated with a sculpture degree. But like most freshmen, I started working with wood. I was really inspired by the look and longevity of the metal and the ability for me to make things that are extremely large and structurally strong,” he says.

Lockwood has been working with metal for about 13 years. His pieces are displayed in public spaces in and around Batavia and Chicago’s western suburbs, sold at auctions or are made on a case-by-case basis for customers. He uses a MIG welder, resin cloths to pull and stretch the material and some light fabrication. Many of his forms have architectural influence. He also creates stained glass by sewing resin cloths in between metal bars and applying fiberglass resin before stretching it across fluorescent tubs.

“Deriving my work from architectural influence, I like to organize geometric shapes in a manner reflecting blueprints in relief form on a wall. This allows me to work toward styles reminiscent of both the early 1880-1920 Art Nouveau and the late 1908-1935 Art Deco. Using metal, light and plastic, I blend these periods' most known characteristics from their geometric and angular shapes to their graceful, elongated, curvy lines, with an industrial twist,” he states on his website.

He also says metal is the one material that allows him to do the kind of work he likes. Based on the large sizes and lasting impact of the objects he chooses to produce, metal is what keeps him working. He pursues an overall industrial tone with large geometric shapes resembling cogs to keep it simple with a minimalist approach.

Although an industrial-inspired artist keeping his work on an industrial building seems too easy to connect, this type of combination keeps Lockwood inspired. MM

 

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