Art Up Close: No. 2

Lights, Camera, Action: Metal Pieces

This technique, with which Tyson Estes created the Lights, Camera, Action series (No.1-9), uses reclaimed aluminum, bronze, steel, acrylic, and organic corrosives. The nine in this series, and others like them from past commissions, include many of my all-time favorite Estes abstracts. The textural elements and beautiful colors are thematic enough to make a pleasing set, but each piece is completely unique.

I watched Tyson sand down and reapply the corrosive elements multiple times until the pieces turned out right; humidity, temperature, and light exposure all play a crucial part in the development of the colors (patina) that develop naturally on the metal, and when any of those change mid-project, keeping a consistent look between them becomes a lot trickier. It’s kind of wonderful to create something that can’t be rushed, and the outcome of which can’t be anticipated. And there’s something special about this process of capturing, then freezing in time the process of decay, about being able to study it so closely, to feel the pitting of the metal under your fingertips.

Maybe you’re not “supposed to” try to decode abstract pieces, but these speak to me, personally, because I have a thing for satellite images of planetary surfaces. I can spend hours imagining strange worlds, unexplored coastlines and valleys, snowy river deltas and emerald green lakes. One friend told us he was really enjoying finding faces in these (and the Spark of Imagination diptych, pics coming soon). Another asked me to explain the meaning of these pieces. Tyson has his perception and inspiration, but I suppose they’re just pretty, at the end of the day. A person will either “get” a piece of art, or not. It will move your heart… or not. No explanation is probably adequate to change one’s initial reaction to an art piece, whether abstract or figurative. The art you end up loving sometimes defies reason and sense. But it doesn’t have to mean a thing, and it doesn’t matter whether others consider it “good” or “bad,” fine, or otherwise — as long as it resonates with you.


Click on the images in the gallery below for a closer look at this set of nine abstract metal pieces.

These pieces will be available through Art on Scene in West Hollywood until October 23, 2016. 


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