Amazing sculptures from scrap metal in celebration of the American Old West

Interesting Engineering
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John Lopez has a habit of going through the garbage of people in South Dakota. Lopez, a sculptor, loves nothing more than finding pieces of scrap metal and what you don’t want, he does, as he turns it into art. He makes amazing large, often life-size sculptures, which are a celebration of the American Old West.


[Image Source: John Lopez]

Lopez was born in Western South Dakota and he is famous for his bronze sculptures, which he sells all over the country. It was during his time working with bronze that he found a new vocation, still in sculpting, but this time working with scrap metal. In his own words he said "I am never bored! I look forward to each new creation, and it is helping me grow and develop as an artist."


[Image Source: John Lopez]

Lopez moved to his uncle’s ranch in South Dakota, around 35 miles from the closest town, following the death of his aunt. It was here that he went looking for scrap metal and began work in the welding shop on the property. Lopez and his uncle built a cemetery where his aunt was laid to rest and fenced it in. The sculptor made a gate with an angel on the top peering over it and everyone who saw it was amazed at his work. This saw him take a new career path and he began to make Hybrid metal art of everyday objects which he fused with bronze castings which were limited edition, a mixture of bronze and iron.


[Image Source: John Lopez]

In 2008 Lopez made a sculpture from scrap iron with the title of “Triceratops Cowboy”. This was a cowboy sitting on top of a Triceratops. The sculpture was located at the Grande River Museum in Lemon, SD. Later that year he made a T-Rex from iron scrap that he had found, which is located in Faith, SD. He then went on to make a life-size metal horse sculpture the following year and this went on the win the Sculpture in the Hills show, People’s Choice Awards in 2009 in Hill City.


[Image Source: John Lopez]

Having grown up on a ranch, Lopez sculpts the things he has grown up with all his life, these include horses, wildlife, cows and cowboys and is work is in very high demand.


[Image Source: John Lopez]

Lopez is often asked by people what his pioneer stockman grandfather; Albert Lopez would have said about the sculptures he makes from scrap metal. While we will never know what he would have said and thought, one old man that did visit his exhibit and who spent a long time studying it, said simply, “Now that’s art.”


[Image Source: John Lopez]


[Image Source: John Lopez]


[Image Source: John Lopez]


[Image Source: John Lopez]


[Image Source: John Lopez]


[Image Source: John Lopez]
Sculptor John Lopez standing next to Black Hawk

[Image Source: John Lopez]


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