I do most of the forming of the metal on the anvil with a set of variously shaped and weighted blacksmithing hammers and a set of accessories for the anvil. An oxy-acetalyn torch used to heat facilitates the stretching or shrinking of the sheet metal, but isn’t always necessary.
Understanding the philosophy of how to use the anvil to shape metal is a very important skill and I learned most of what I know through instructor Cliff Dufton at the Art Student’s League.
What I love about metal as a medium, and steel in particular, is that it can be so malleable and workable. It can be stretched like rubber and manipulated like clay, and yet it can be so strong and solid. One can produce an infinite variety of shapes and structures . It is important to realize that civilization is where it is now thanks to man’s mastering of steel.
Working with metal requires an incredible amount of energy, both from the machines and the hands that yield it, and energy I have.
I grew up in New York City and attended the Lycee Francais de New York, thus experiencing a doubly international upbringing, and have always had a passion for drawing things, taking pictures, designing, dreaming. After a year of Industrial Design at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, I decided to travel the States on my own a bit, take a step back from the arts, experience new things. I discovered the nature and wildlife of the great American west, ranging from the amazing deserts of Arizona and the southwest, to the Beautiful and still dry Sierra Nevada mountain ranges of California, and the overwhelmingly rich rocky mountains of Colorado, all incredible sources of inspiration.
I returned to the city in April 2009 and, after having always felt a deep passion for everything involving metal, I decided to learn the craft of welding and forging. Fortunately, a friend recommended me a sort of artistic haven in the heart of the New York: The Arts Students League, the place where I found much more than I expected and was able to keep and nourish my artistic freedom.
The medium of metal opens up a whole different level of possibilities in making art, but the craft, just like painting or stone carving, must be mastered and is very physically demanding. Amongst the different forms that stock metal comes in and can be found in, I prefer mainly to use sheet metal to represent forms, forms which must be hammered out on an anvil. The heavier the hammer, the faster and deeper the metal can be stretched, and I sometimes achieve up to around 1000 blows in a day.
I owe a large part of my inspiration to my father, a violin maker since the age of 15 and like his father and grandfather, an expert horseman. Therefore I also had the privilege of growing up in a violin shop and on horse farms, always surrounded by beautiful instruments with intriguing shapes, classical music, and incredibly powerful and majestic animals. I am now learning the trade of violin making myself and am also an expert horseman.
I love being able to do many things, but my biggest passion is my artistic passion, and my clearest path at the moment, as unclear as it may seam at times, is metal sculpture. I feel that I will be on this path for a long time and it will take me places unlike anything else. I am now testing the boundaries of scale and seeing how big I can go with this ultimate element, expressing my love for all beautiful things I see and know, my love for horses, America, for beauty and for form.