By Kyle Corda 11/3/12 The Beauty of Metal There is something mysterious about the art of metalworking. The way the torch engulfs the bare metal into an inferno of fire until it is heated to a dark sinister blue. How every individual flaw unlocks a door to a new undiscovered beauty. To be able to manipulate pieces of sheet metal into a delicate creations. Magnificent objects that are formed from normally cold, severe material can come from a dream, thought, or an imagination. Imprinting your mind and your personality into your artwork makes metalworking a passion. The passion that burns inside of artists all over the world. Dave Fleming is an artist, mentor, and a friend. !
The beauty of metal is that you can do anything with it. A sheet of steel can
become a flower blossoming. A steel rod can form the framework of a skeleton. With the ability to create anything, you learn beauty can be found in the strangest but most glorious places. Dave told me that on a daily basis there are possibilities of hypocrisy from other people. He Encourages others to overcome the very things which he becomes temporarily
paralyzed with as an artist. It is your art, your imprint, and your creation. No one can take away your ability to be your own person and your own mentor. Dave Fleming has been creating metal sculptures for about thirty years. Since the beginning, he has taught himself nearly everything he knows. He took his talent and became a teacher to share what he knows with others. There were two main reasons he wanted to teach in the beginning. “First, I needed the money, then I fell in love with opening opportunities to young people. Showing them how easy it could be, how natural it can be to make art. With each passing year and re-connections with former students, their love of art or pursuit of art because of my classes made me feel like a hero. I helped shape many young peoples' future. That's pretty powerful and a rewarding feeling.” Dave had one metal sculpting teacher that stuck out the most to him. He taught Dave in college and recently passed away. “He was a passionate butterfly collector and expert. His collection is now in the Smithsonian. He was a cranky old guy and at the time I wished he had pushed me more. In retrospect, I admire how he left me alone to explore. He knew that there was never a beginning nor end to the creative process but just a constant struggle.” His teacher helped Dave unlock new
doors, “He pushed me into painting and there I discovered a larger purpose.” Dave also is an incredible painter, he loves to paint with oil paint especially. He does not simply paint on a canvas, there is a much deeper meaning in his paintings then that. “Life, creation, death, beauty. I like to see my world through paint where we are intimately tied to nature and the continual cycle.” As one of Dave’s students, I can honestly say he has taught me almost everything I know about. He is an amazing teacher, and I don't think I would have ever found a passion for metal working if it was not for him. There is always that part of an artist that they must experience and learn themselves. It is not too hard to find your inner fire that fuels your creativity when you have a teacher like Dave guiding you. In the words of Jack Macclarence, “Dave is a really cool guy who is happy to help but also eager to let you try things out on your own. I like Dave because he always looks at things from a cool angle and because he pushes you to think outside the box and learn to work through problems alone.” This is Jack’s first term in metalworking. Frigid mornings on Thursday start with E block. Due to the love of Industrial design, all of the students fill the tight hallway disregarding the claustrophobia that strikes each of us. We sit, stand and perch on the two steps in this hallway, the closest
thing we have to a seat, waiting. It is 8:00am and we are eager to begin the most hands on and exciting class of the day. By 8:15am Dave pulls up on his bike and opens the door to find us idle in the hallway. He knows we are ready to work. He unlocks the doors and we begin. Hammers crashing, torches blazing and the welder crackling. He goes one by one to guide us through the process of creating a water feature. He fills the room with inspiration, and the ideas flow like water in a stream. He encourages us to take risks and go our own direction. He is always helping us and making sure we are doing what we want with our art. Because it is our creations and no one else's. For Dave, art is a part of life. “Making something from ‘nothing’ that reaches out to someone else other than the creator. Shaping life, defining culture, taste, fashion, desires and making history of ideas. Artists have always defined culture. Art has always happened and art will continue to influence everyday life. It's never been a mutually exclusive aspect to being human. We in our culture like to categorize it, but life is art and art is life. You can't have life without art. Art is in our clothing, our morning cereal bowls, our bikes and cars we use to go to work and in our food. Art, design and ideas - they make us human.”