Making art from metal
Sidebar by Marcia Darnell
Local Artists – December 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine
Viewers of Maestas’s sculptures who visualize him working with a giant block of metal, a hammer, and a chisel need to join the new millenium.
A statue does begin with old-fashioned sculpting, but the rest of the process is more akin to a factory cranking out fenders and frames.
“It’s very labor-intensive,” Maestas says. “Each process is quite lengthy.”
The first step is to sculpt the piece out of plastaline, a type of clay. Then a mold, which is made out of any of about 50 materials, is formed over the figure. The outside of the clay is coated to make the mold, which is removed, then filled with wax. From the wax Maestas makes another mold, out of ceramic.
When the ceramic shell is set and hard, he melts the wax out, leaving a hollow cavity. Bronze is poured into that cavity. When it sets, the shell is broken off, leaving a bronze statue. “For larger pieces the bronze is done in sections,” he says, “then we weld them together.”
After the assembly comes casing, the process of re-surfacing the metal to change its appearance.
“There’s 200 to 300 types of tools we use.”
After that, the bronze is sandblasted down, then Maestas puts on the patina, applying chemicals to the surface of the bronze to change the color of it, then mounts it on a base.
Then it’s artwork.
The whole process takes months for a life-sized piece, with several people working on it, and Maestas and his crew always have several pieces going at once.
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