Kean Quest

Article Title

Surreal Insectoids


I utilize sheet metal and traditional jewelry/metals techniques to create small, kinetic sculptures that are inspired by various insect forms. They are organic in nature and represent a combination of elements taken from crustaceans (arthropods) and insects. The final pieces included here are fictional creations that are rustic, yet paradoxically colorful. They include Terrestrial Assailant, Ruby Beetle with Verdant Scarab, and Violet Malevolent Beauty.

The process by which I give my work color involves a chemical reaction that transforms sheet metal from a dull copper, nugold, or nickel color into sheets of multifarious hues. When Borax (used in some detergents) is placed on sheet metal and heated to just below the melting temperature (the metal glows orange and red) colors emerge. This process is called patination (through an oxidation process) which creates a sheen or gloss. The kinetic joints of the creations are riveted together and the metal is hand formed through hammering/chasing to shape and indent the surface.

Making these creatures from sheet metal is part of my idealized view of insectoids. Metal is tough and powerful, while such creatures from real life are viewed as weak and vulnerable. I seek to make them better with my designs and so they are whimsical in their final appearance. Metal is a perfect way to propel insectoids above their real-life fragility and immortalize them for the gaze of the audience.