Welding Junkyard Masterpieces With the Cowboy Sculptor

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Amongst the ranches of South Dakota, artist John Lopez is welding unbelievable assemblages of scrap metal and discarded farm tools. His constructions are larger-than-life recreations of bears, bulls, horses and more, all imbued with the spirit of the wild west.

image/text credit: Great Big Story 

While his metal menageries may look like a chaotic fusion up close, stepping back reveals an animal come alive.In the midst of a successful career in bronze sculpting, John Lopez discovered this exciting new direction: scrap iron sculpting. I am never bored! I look forward to each new creation, and it is helping me grow and develop as an artist, he says.

This unusual detour started when his beloved aunt, Effie Hunt, died in a rollover car accident. Lopez moved to his widowed Uncle Geno Hunt’s ranch to build a family cemetery; his aunt would to be the first laid to rest there.

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Uncle Geno opened his home and welding shop to Lopez, who completed a fence around the cemetery, then ran out of material. The ranch is 35 miles from the nearest town or post office, so he went looking through the scrap iron on site.