A recent Shandon High School graduate's holiday sculpture is on display at Studios on the Park, an arts nonprofit in Paso Robles.
After hearing about his Best in Show finish at the 2009 Mid-State Fair's industrial arts competition, Studios on the Park founder and artist, Anne Laddon, approached 18-year-old Cain Lopez with an unusual sculpture request: a Christmas tree created from old auto parts.
The tree is part of Studios on the Park's ongoing effort to honor the automotive past of their building at 1130 Pine St., which was home to a Hudson Packard dealership in the '40s and '50s and then an auto parts store for more than 40 years.
Lopez embraced this theme wholeheartedly, collecting a menagerie of materials including barbed wire and mufflers, as well as donated motorcycle parts from Brown's Cycles in San Miguel.
The resulting eight-foot tree is a true qork of art thanks to Lopez's extraordinary talents.
"The challenge is what inspires me," Lopez said of sculpting. Putting old metal to use in a unique way gives the tree an "I Spy" quality that Lopez appreciated.
"You find something different every time you look," he said.
Hailing from a family of Oaxcan artists, Lopez says he started welding in his 9th grade Beginning Ag Mechanics class and that things just came naturally from there. One of the goals of Studios on the Park is developing a new generation of arts leadership in the community. Lopez remarks that he is very pleased with the recognition and that it will stand him in good stead on his way to establish a name for himself as a sculptor.
Lopez’s tree has a perfect decorative accompaniment thanks to the innovative work of Studios on the Park artist Lynn Kishiyama and volunteer Carol Tucker, organizers said.
As ornaments, they added sprockets, valves, turn signals, spark plugs, and fuel gauges to the tree. In addition, they created a front window display of motorcycle wheel wreaths, gear disk snowflakes, and garlands of vintage license plates. Studios on the Park was founded in December of 2007 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a creative, educational, and transformational experience to enhance understanding and appreciation of the visual arts.
Studios on the Park realizes its commitment by making the creative process available to the public. Studios on the Park engages and inspires the San Luis Obispo County community and its visitors with a unique open studio environment. Studios on the Park features artists working in a variety of media, educational programs for children and adults, and quality exhibitions by regional, national and international artists.
Cain's sculpture is scheduled to be on display at Studios on the Park through Sunday, Jan 3. Studios on the Park is located at 1130 Pine Street in historic downtown Paso Robles.
For more information, visit www.studiosonthepark.org or call 805-238-9800.