After discovering an unused welder's set in his father-in-law's garage, Owen became a successful and prolific metal sculptor. Owen lets his imagination run free in his work, creating one of a kind pieces out of found and collected metal. Whether his works are muted or vibrant, angular or flowing, they are all unique and beautiful to view. This exhibition will feature large to small scale sculptural works, as well as wall pieces.
Happenstance - An Unexpected Journey
My artist life began as a child sitting in the back seat of a 1957
Chevrolet with a drawing tablet – only the best from the art
store – and my favorite #2 pencil.
My mother would throw me and all of her drawing supplies into
the car and drive all around town looking for interesting
buildings, homes, or people to draw. Always on a busy street,
cars whizzing by with all the noise that accompanies them; no
matter, we were there to draw whatever was out the side
window of the car.
I’d say my drawings were never much to look at, but I always
received tons of “that’s beautiful” or “I wish I could draw like
that” from Mom. Sometimes my scale would be off, sometimes
my perspective. No problem, Mom encouraged me.
Each adventure would top the last – and each finishing with a
quick roll up of the window, a buckle of the seatbelt, and a
retreat to home where Mom would pull out her recent work and
“touch up” her drawing – then – she began to paint. This was
the best time.
The fumes of oil and turpentine would fill the house. We, my
sister and I, would run over and open a window to get some
fresh air into the room – Mom was painting! We would watch
her paint, and then, for some unknown reason (except for being
a kid) we’d find something else to do – until our curiosity
sparked us to again go and see how far she had come with her
latest “masterpiece.” This was my introduction to art.
My art evolved over the years, sometimes taken with painting,
sometimes drawing, until that one special day that I discovered
My father-in-law, Chet Christison, lived in Fresno. We would visit
him and his wife Thelma at least three or four times per year.
His workshop, a huge outbuilding on the property, was filled
with woodworking tools. Little did I know that he also loved
Inside his workshop, in a corner that you could barely get to without disturbing all the feral cats he loved so much, away from everything else, was an oxy-acetylene torch set, and next to it, a small welder. “What the heck is this?” I asked him. “Oh that, you wouldn’t know” he said. “That’s for welding metal.” I asked him if he wanted it, since I could see it had not been used in some time. “What are you going to do with it? You don’t even know how to use it.” I finally got him to give it to me.
The welder went into the back of my truck, along with the oxy set. I was determined to put them to good use. I must be able to find something that needs welding...
My technique is brute force, decide-at-the-moment. My creative process emerges with patterns. I incorporate patterns into all of my sculptures. Taking one piece of steel, adding to it, or deleting from it, then ending when the sculpture encompasses all of my creativity, this is what charges up my artistic energies. When my creative force is flowing, I work on a sculpture to completion. It is finished when the creative flow ends.
I have been an artist all my life. I am fascinated with engineering and architecture. The shapes of metal, its patterns, textures and grains all entice me to create. My ability to cut and weld metal allows me to create any art I desire.
My aspiration is to create sculpture that is unique, something that no one has done before. I resist conformity and mass production. My art is as individual as I am. My art belongs to our present time or any time. My art does not represent reality inspired by the real world. It makes use of patterns representing independent relationships with no reference – “contemporary-abstraction.”
I take delight in rummaging through metal scrap yards, finding those particular pieces of steel that stir me in some way or other. I have feelings for inanimate objects. When I see something tossed aside, I ponder why? I wonder where it has been and where it is going.
Each piece I touch has its own individual tale. Was it once part of a bridge, supporting travelers to distant cities? Was it once part of a water tower, supplying nourishment to gardens? Was it used to manufacture others, like itself? When I’ve rescued that piece from limbo, it may take me only moments, or possibly many months, to understand within myself what that metal wants, or needs, to become.
Only then will I fulfill “its” dream.