John Rose collects scrap metal from junk yards and dump sites old bearings, oil drums, saw blades, rebar as raw materials for his metal sculptures that range in style from antique to modern to futuristic.
The popular fish frames fish-shaped cut-outs from old oil drums (watch the sharp fins) incorporating details such as gills exude strength and dynamism. By the porch lurks a scorpion, its body formed from a discarded truck coil spring and its menacing claws from garden shears. But a closer look reveals smoothness, fine craftsmanship and a surprising playfulness. Rose's stingray piece won first place at the County Fair last year.
I sell my pieces whenever I can, Rose said. I haven't much of an outlet yet. I try to hit local art shows and the County Fair every year.
I do a lot of fishing, said Rose of one source of his inspiration. My first successful piece was a fish. Rose gets his raw materials from the junk shop, which he visits often, and from camping trips, where he often finds useful scrap metal lying around.
After nine years as a security guard at a landfill pick-up station, and a welding course from Los Medanos under his belt, Rose recently launched into scrap metal sculpting full-time, and he hasn't looked back. Scrap metal is free or cheap, he said, adding that scrap metal recycling is environment-friendly. It makes use of materials that would otherwise clutter up the landscape, reduces the consumption of raw materials and energy, and reduces pollution created in the manufacturing process.
Recycling just one ton of scrap metal saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone from being wasted on the production of new metal. Scrap metal recycling helps cut greenhouse gas emissions, saves energy and protects the depletion of virgin ore by 74 percent. Most importantly, scrap metal is a perpetually reusable resource. It can be recycled over and over again.
Ultimately, Rose's satisfaction comes from the artistic process and the final product, not mere environmentalism. I feel pretty good when I finish a piece, he said. If it's something you like doing, you should do it.
For more information on John Rose's metal art, call 925-757-9291.