Reclaim, reuse, recycle, revitalize

A second life for nickel-containing stainless steel

March 20, 2014


Bruce Taylor likes nothing more than rummaging around a scrap yard. It’s where he finds inspiration for the unique sculptures he makes from recycled stainless steel. “My niche is readily accessible public art and outdoor sculpture. I always carry a magnet to separate out the non-magnetic nickel-containing stainless steel to make sure the materials I use can withstand the rigours of harsh exterior environments.”

Taylor hails from Denver, Colorado in the USA and now lives in Texas. He started out as a painter and then got involved in sculpture, coming to prominence in the mid 1980s after winning a commission for an installation at the Denver Concert Hall.

Over recent years he has focused on stainless steel. “Durability is one of the main reasons for choosing stainless steel. It’s easy to weld and withstands outdoor conditions. It has a rich contemporary feel – it can be highly reflective, have a basic mill finish or occasionally be coated. Much of my work is public art, so minimal maintenance is essential. It’s also an aesthetic decision – if it lasted a long time but didn’t look good it wouldn’t do anything for my reputation as an artist!”

In his recent work, Taylor takes reclaimed stainless steel – Type 304 for preference – and fabricates it into new forms. The observer can recognize the interesting shapes which the artist has incorporated. “The reclaimed objects I use are part of a guessing game – what are
they and what were they originally used for?”

In 2013 Bruce Taylor created a piece of sculpture for one of five railroad bridges in El Paso, Texas. He found his inspiration for this original urban art piece from recycled elements. “It’s about low environmental impact design utilizing recycled materials. I feel good about that. I’m conveying how materials can be recycled. While recycling is not the predominant goal of my works, it’s an important component to my aesthetic process.”

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