John Pahlas Artist Statement
Art has had an influence on my life since birth. Having been brought up in a family whose artistic innovations go back 5 generations, I’ve learned that the creative act is far more than a hobby or a past time. It is a passionate awakening, a conduit through which identity and meaning of life can be obtained.
My sculptural process derives from years of learning a wide variety of fabrication skills and understanding the methodology behind working with steel. I was raised in a blacksmithing studio and from a very young age I began to work alongside my parents as they created amazing ornamental steel work for homes and gardens all over the country.
As I began to grow into my own creative skin, I developed a great deal of interest in using all of the discarded scraps created by the projects my parents were finishing. From their shop, I started raiding dumpsters of machine shops and scrap yards all throughout Wisconsin. I found a seemingly endless material base to work with, and within each scrap pile there lay before me worlds of possibilities.
I’ve always been inspired by the natural world and mankind’s place in it. We are an industrious, innovative species, but with our innovations and industrial lifestyles come a great deal of unforeseen consequences that are putting the entirety of the planet and all its inhabitants in danger. Through these salvaged steel creations, I hope to evoke a sense of awareness to these issues that are greater than ourselves, but can only begin to be remedied through self awareness and our willingness to change as a species.