John Lopez is a cowboy and rancher from South Dakota. In his bio he is described as a true product of life on the prairie. “John’s own forte lies in gentling colts and perfecting their bloodlines.” But when he isn’t working with animals, he’s sculpting them. “He started his celebration of [the colts] by sculpting in clay. Capturing every nuance, every muscle.”
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But John moved away from clay sculpting, and has now perfected a more unique medium: welding scraps. It all started by accident.
Lopez’s aunt passed away, and he decided to build a family cemetery at her ranch in her honor. As he was constructing a gate for the cemetery, he ran out of materials, so he began to weld together scraps from faming equipment. And that was how his art style was born.
He normally draws inspiration from South Dakota, but the piece below– called “Maverick”– was inspired by a trip to Austin, Texas. John writes that, after visiting Austin, he couldn’t get the image of Texas Longhorns out of his head. So constructed this piece. “I aimed for a medley of music, art, history, and Spanish heritage in Maverick.” Every detail tells this story.
The piece below captures a moment from the legendary story of Hugh Glass. Fans of Academy Award winning movie The Revenant will recognize the scene. Glass was a trapper who– after being mauled by a bear and left for dead in the South Dakota winter– crawled 200 miles back to civilization. His “beat the odds” story has become a legend and captures the wild prairie spirit John admires so much.
John writes, “Telling the story of life on the prairie is incomplete without the bison, the main resource of generations of Native peoples who called this region their home.”
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