Sculpting steel is a form of artistry unlike any other. Steel is a solid, durable and malleable medium capable of being transformed into just about anything the imagination can fathom, like colossal steel abstractions; delicate, painted birds and bumblebees; majestic scrap steel horses and even junkyard-furnished cowboys. No matter the piece of artwork, these sculptures of steel are awe-inspiring. Capital Steel and Wire has recognized the uncommon creativity and beauty in sculpting from steel and has determined a list of the Top Ten Steel Sculptors of our time. These artists showcase their incredible talent by transforming steel into pieces of beauty that every eye will enjoy.
"A Walk in the Park" split door hanging by Martin Sturman
1. Michael Turner: www.michaelturnerstudios.com
Michael Turner uses his love of nature as an inspiration in sculpting. Stainless steel is his medium of choice, because it is an adaptable and enduring material. Turner enjoys sculpting animals, mystical images and, most of all—insects. His sculptures are usually large, 3-D pieces. After sculpting each work of art, Turner treats them with polish, paint and heat effects to ensure a completely unique result.
2. Bettye Turner: www.bhtsculpture.com
Bettye Hamblen Turner is formally trained in painting, but her passion for sculpting has become her primary work. She uses many different types of steel—including recycled—to create magnificent and stunning larger than life animal images. Most popular are her series of longhorn bull and horse pieces.
3. James Corbett: www.jamescorbettart.com
James Corbett discovered his talent in sculpting while running an auto recycling business in Brisbane, Australia. Needless to say, most of Corbett’s sculptures incorporate old and unusual car parts, which he maintains the shape of to create extremely unique replications of animals, cars and abstracts. Some of his work has even been used in an advertisement campaign for Toyota Parts and Service.
4. James N. Racchi: www.jimracchi.com
James Racchi—better known as Jim—has had no problem making a living collecting scrap metal from dumps and old construction sites. He uses these materials to create large and small works of art, ranging from images of people, to giant squids and pagodas. Racchi is the creator of ART in the PARK—an outdoor sculpture exhibit in his home of Key West, Florida—where he features his pieces, and those of other artists, for six weeks.
5. Royce Carlson: www.zenzibar.com/CosmicSteel
Royce Carlson creates whimsical, happy and abstract pieces of art from recycled steel, found objects and steel tubing. He prides himself in having no formal sculpting experience and the fact that he can turn what others call waste into art. His sculptures are usually massive, kinetic works of art, as abstract as they come.
6. Jan Pearson: www.janpearson.com
Jan Pearson is most notable for his sculptures of steel. He claims that his knowledge of the properties of his medium has enabled him to create anything he sets his mind to, yet he believes imagination is more important. In addition to the variety of sculptures he crafts, Pearson also creates architectural pieces, such as beautiful custom steel gates.
7. Mary C. Taylor: www.marytaylorsculpture.com
Mary Taylor is a steel sculptor with an amazing eye for detail. Her wildlife steel rod sculptures are so realistic, it’s as if they came straight from the forest. Taylor enjoys nature and makes sure it is reflected in her work. Each sculpture is carefully crafted and painted to look like a piece of nature itself. Some of her sculptures include fox, birds, insects, rodents and rabbits.
"Sharp-shin Hawk" by Mary C. Taylor
8. Wayne Trapp: www.waynetrapp.com
Wayne Trapp has worked in steel sculpture for years—so many that his hands are covered in scars—but he doesn’t plan on giving up his passion anytime soon. Trapp is experienced in creating lavish, colossal outdoor sculptures for corporate clientele and smaller pieces for his private clients. His outdoor sculptures are as abstract as they are breathtaking and offer a beauty to the environment unlike any other.
9. Martin Sturman: www.sturmansteelsculptures.com
After practicing law for more than 39 years, Martin Sturman is retired and completely committed to sculpting. Sturman’s specialty is creating functional stainless steel art and architectural pieces. Sturman specializes in creating original sculptures for site-specific commissions. He crafts two-dimensional stainless steel wall and door pieces, as well as silhouettes to enhance a variety of gardens.
"Hibiscus" by Martin Sturman
10. Freeman Loughridge Jr.: www.funksculp.com
Freeman Loughridge has always been impressed by the ridiculous. His sculptures are a surefire expression. After working with clay for more than 30 years, Loughridge began using steel as a medium. He is fascinated by turning junk into works of art “about” something. What makes Loughridge different from other steel sculptors is that he likes to stray from fabrication. He’d rather use everyday items from the junkyard in his work so that it is recognizable.