Art formed from industrial metals


Art and engineering combine in the workshop of Scott Johnson.
The Wanaka artist uses both sides of his brain to create imaginative yet technically innovative creations.

From 2m-high dandelions to iron ladies, Johnson transforms industrial materials into inspiring sculpture.

He has created wearable art, kinetic sculpture, and headstones as well as furniture.
His approach is ‘‘all by accident, and experimenting, just playing with things’’.
Trial and error was how he worked, finding inspiration during the process.
However, once he had an idea, he had ‘‘tunnel vision’’ that led him to the final product.
Details were very important, making sure his metal art ‘‘looked the part’’.

Johnson also created one-off furniture and commissions that were designed to fit in specific homes or environments.
Some of his outdoor sculptures played with the material form, transforming copper, stainless steel and iron into delicate forms like a dandelion seed head that sways in the wind.

Engineering was the ‘‘easy part’’ for him, it was more about making sure his artwork looked right.
‘‘I can suss out how it works underneath, and just make it look and work well on the outside’’.

Creating interesting shapes and flow was an interest, as was making items that endure.
‘‘I’ve just been asked to do a tombstone, so it is going to be interesting to put it into somewhere where it is quite traditional.’’
Having something ‘‘a bit different’’ among granite headstones ‘‘should be interesting’’, he said.

Johnson was working on finding the material but the tombstone might be made from old boiler steel, he said.
‘‘That is the beauty of it — it will age and look even better.’’

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