Using only reclaimed metal, Brian Mock creates exhilarating welded art sculptures.
Brian Mock of Aloha, Oregon, grew up drawing and added painting and wood carving to his artistic pursuits in adulthood. In the late ’90s the talented artist taught himself to weld, and he’s since built a career recycling scrap metal—old tools, silverware, coins, and more—into extraordinary sculptures. Brian’s awe-inspiring work is on view in galleries, luxury hotels, private collections, and public spaces all over the world, including in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum. We spoke with the metal sculpture artist about his approach to making breathtaking works of art with only reclaimed metal.
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What inspired you to become a scrap metal sculptor?
I’ve always loved creating and trying new mediums—painting, drawing, wood carving. About 20 years ago I thought I’d give metalworking a try, so I taught myself how to weld, mostly by trial and error. Scrap metal/found objects were good to practice with (cheap and available), but I also began to realize they were also really interesting materials. The used items carried a history with them, and I was inspired to use them in new ways to create them new stories.
Could you describe how you come up with ideas for your designs? For example, do you have the end in mind first, or does an object inspire a piece?
These days, almost all of my work is commissioned. So clients come to me with their great ideas, and I do my best to execute their visions. Occasionally I’ll see objects and save them for specific ideas, but mostly I try to use what I have on hand and make it work with whatever sculpture I’m making.
What’s the most challenging part of your work?
Working with recycled material is challenging in general because I’m limited to using only what I have on hand. Sometimes I think about how much easier my job would be if I could go out and buy the specific material I may need…but where’s the fun in that?
And the most rewarding?
Making clients happy is my favorite part of my job. I always put so much of myself into my sculptures, always do my best, so knowing it’s appreciated on the receiving end is very gratifying.
Aside from sculpting, what are your everyday inspirations?
Nature is a huge inspiration for me. I love being outdoors, even if it’s just in my own backyard with my wife and kids.
What’s one truth you’ve learned as an artist?
For me, sculpting is a constant learning process. Each creation helps me with my next creation, whether it’s through technique development or just evolving with trial and error. I love that I’ll always be learning.