Embracing the Grit

rustI’ll admit right away that I have been quite biased towards wood. Building, refinishing, repairing, and beautifying wood has been my artful pastime for many years now. However, metal runs deep with my family lineage of steel workers, machinists, and builders, yet I rejected it as dirty, dangerous, and rough. While it IS all of those things, I am now embracing the grit and seeing the joys of metal. For me, it was coming home. Besides working in my literal home state of Ohio this summer, I recognized the smells of burning steel, the dirt, and the intense sweaty, grungy heat emanating from this place. I thought often of my Father long ago, coming home from work with black hands and curled metal chips embedded into the souls of his heavy, black work boots.

Of course my Father didn’t work for a creative master who admits he hails from the planet “Ooob” and plays The Orb remixed by Lee Scratch Perry on the sound system. In fact, an artist like myself would not have been welcome into my father’s production steel shop where parts for the industrial/military complex were produced. But there I was, part of the assembly line for Doug Meyer’s Rustbelt Rebirth creations.  Offering me an opportunity to be a part of his East Coast Showcase booth at Brimfield, he created artful frames for my oil paintings that matched his fantastic, industrial furniture. Using recycled scrap metal, he and the crew fabricate his art deco inspired designs that fit into a beautifully modern and artful home, office or studio.

"Sea horse" oil 24x18" framed in upcycled chocolate brown with a rolling serving cart inspired by travelling trains of the past.
“Sea horse” oil 24×18″ by Yabette framed in upcycled chocolate brown metal with a rolling serving cart of the traveler’s train era inspiration by Doug Meyer.

Doug (left) and Sean confer over a piece getting cut for production.
Doug (left) and Sean confer over a piece being cut for production.

After laying out the art, the fun of finding the right metal for each piece began. This photo shows the fabulous shiny silver with aged white patina that was used for several of my blue pieces.

frame production collage

The art list made by Matt serves as a guide for the frame production.
The art list made by Matt serves as a guide for the frame production.
"Lobster Claw" 24x18" oil by Yabette with upcycled black fram and chair by Doug Meyer.
“Lobster Claw” 18×24″ oil by Yabette with upcycled black frame and red chair by Doug Meyer.

Here are a few of the 12 pieces and their process that I completed for this collaboration. XXOO- Yabette

sea turtle collage
“Sea Turtle” oil 16×20″
"Crab Claw" 20x16" Oil
“Crab Claw” 20×16″ Oil
"Beluga Whale" 18x24" oil
“Beluga Whale” 18×24″ oil

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