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Brooklyn metal artists - making huge artworks to order

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'Art writ large' fashioned by metal artists living in Brooklyn

RITA A. LEONARD - Brooklyn metal artists Gustaf Sculptor and Richard Cawley, in front of the local artist collective where they work - the front of which is dominated by the huge mandala art piece they created for a local TED Talk. Brooklyn metal artists Richard Cawley and Gustaf Sculptor, working out of an art collective at 2020 S.E. Bush Street, continue to produce creative metalwork art to order.

Their most obvious recent installation is the large sunburst mounted on the front of the building. Called "The Mandala", the 20-foot-tall by 30-foot-wide sculpture was created last June for "TED XMt. Hood", the local TED Talk franchise. Currently, the two artists are working on a 25-foot-tall metal chandelier commissioned for a library in Anchorage, Alaska.

Cawley explains the duo created the sunburst sculpture as artists-in-residence for a TED Talk on "The Mandala Manifestation". "We were selected from among a group of ten artists who brought works to the event to describe their meaning and construction. We made it from welded steel and found objects, to represent the creative nature of Man's art and thought."

Describing the icons on the spectacular sunburst, which can be viewed at the corner of S.E. 20th Avenue and Bush Street, Cawley continues, "The Buddha represents self-realization, the sextant stands for exploration, and the pyramids indicate engineering concepts. The 'brain shapes' represent ingenuity, while open hands and the lightning bolts along the periphery symbolize artistic reach and energy.

"DaVinci's classic image of 'The Vitruvian Man' – a man positioned within the proportions of a square – symbolizes the creative culmination of both art and engineering." Cawley's work can also be seen online: www.atrichartsculpture.com

Gustaf Sculptor, meantime was displaying some of the elements under construction for that 25-foot-tall metal chandelier commissioned for a new library in Anchorage. "This chandelier was commissioned to be hung in a 40-foot-tall space in the new Loussac Library in Alaska. The sculpture is entitled 'The Porthole of Perception', and focuses on how we learn and process ideas and written information through books.

"The central part of the chandelier represents the neural pathways from the eye to the brain, with an eight-foot-wide decorative metal 'eyeball' looking down at library patrons.

"Branching out in 12 directions will be metal-sculptured images relating to literary works. These include The Pequod and whale from 'Moby Dick'; a contemplative Buddha repurposed from parts of a grandfather clock; an Inuit 'storyknife'; a songbird with musical notes across its wings; and an organic chemistry model of serotonin (a chemical that promotes stress relief and enhances tranquility of mind and body).

"The chandelier will provide both illumination, and an array of literary icons, to stir thoughts and impressions of library visitors." And the references to Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" should make quite a splash.