Rick Stewart discovered welding while attending an art appreciation class at the Phoenix College. Although music was his focus and passion, he chose to create a toy truck at his brother’s welding shop when requested to bring to class something that displayed his interests. Since then, he’s never looked back: today his work is held in many private collections in Europe and The United States. Rick’s art has evolved from realistic to southwestern, Native American faces and symbols, to abstraction.
Born from strong geometric patterns, curves and angles that find their natural flow from being layered together, his work creates a strong three-dimensional effect, even in his wall pieces. While working, Rick listens to music and tells himself stories as he begins each sculpture. Assembling pre-cut pieces of steel, he organizes their placement until shapes and forms slowly evolve that pleases his eyes and the feeling of the moment. Rick tells his story with childlike simplicity, generosity, and love. His “Little People” - the figures adorning most of his pieces, are worked with torch and tool while the metal is melting. Made one by one from welding rods of various thicknesses, the pieces have individual forms and characters that reflect the mood of the artist. Acid etching contrast of shine and rust add depth and dynamism to the work, suggesting skies, clouds, and the vast expanses of the Arizona landscape. Light plays on the layered surfaces, to add even more possibilities.
Many famous artists have explored assemblage, attracted by the juxtaposition of elements and the freedom to create unexpected effects, but it would be a mistake to attempt to define Rick Stewart’s art through conventional parameters. This would grant an aura of intellectualism to pieces born in his heart and meant for ours.
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