Metal working is the science of joining and shaping metals for a specific purpose. Metal art is based on this science. It produces items that may or may not be functional, but are pleasing to the eye. That is the art part of metal art . Metal art is an all inclusive term that covers everything from the most delicate pieces of designer jewelry to large metal sculptures to chopper motor cycles.
The origins of metal art are lost in the mists of time. The first primitive men who learned to use metal were the first metal workers. The first of them who added a flourish to the functional items they produced were the first metal artists. The flourish may have been to show who had made it or just to make it look better than items made by others. What ever the reason, the addition of appearance to functionality made them works of metal art .
Metal art today is a field so large that it is perhaps easier to list all that is not metal art rather than that which is. The most delicate ear ring is metal art . So is the fabulous looking sports car. You may say that a sports car is a piece of machinery made for a specific purpose – high performance. But who will buy an ugly sports car? The appearance is an important factor in the design. The car should not just be fast, but look to be so. That is art .
Creating metal art comprises the actions of forming, cutting and joining metal. With a huge variety of both base metals and alloys to work with, metal artists are able to define their style by the materials they use as much as by their technique. Some artists create their art by casting molten metal, others use the metal printing method and yet others cut and join. These are just examples of the various methods metal artists use.
Metal art , unlike painting, photography, music and other art forms, involves a manufacturing process that is as important as the artistic inspiration. And since metal art can be mass produced, it is made by both individual artists and the large corporate entities like, for example, those who make wrought iron garden furnoture.
Metal art is, by its very nature, both hardy and long lasting – its life span depends on the metal used the creative process and the application it is put to. A delicate gold ear ring needs careful handling and cleaning. If looked after properly, it will last for generations. An iron sculpture place out in the open needs no maintenance except the removal to dirt and grime from its surface.
Metal art is evolving rapidly. The availability of new alloys, better welding techniques and cutting equipment like plasma cutters enable artists to expand their creative horizons and the amount of detail they are able to put into their work.
A big metal sculpture may be and imposing sight, with a huge and heavy physical presence. But a good artist, using the right equipment can turn it into a gentle representation with delicate features embodying the textures of cloth or the fine nuances of facial expression.