Sculpting with Bronze Sheets and Bars? Here’s Some Art to Inspire You

Sometimes, it’s just easier to find a good set of tools and a quality supply of materials, rather than a good idea for a sculpture. Luckily, in this day and age, all it can take is a quick look around the internet – or your city – to gather ideas on how to sculpt bronze sheets and bars.

Here are three examples of bronze-based artworks you can find in New York City. Modern, whimsical, and ingenious, they could jumpstart your imagination and help you figure out what to create for your project.


The Ralph Ellison Memorial by Elizabeth Catlett, Riverside Park

This memorial to the novelist Ralph Ellison is essentially a giant rectangular sheet of bronze with a cut-out of a male figure at its center. It’s 15 feet high, 7.6 feet wide, and 6 inches deep. The figure represents The Invisible Man – the title of one of Ellison’s most famous works.

You may not be envisioning a work of such a scale, but you can follow the idea of a carving cut-out figures. It could be more of a challenge – but it will put a refreshing spin on shaping bronze bars.

South Bronx Building Art by John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres

Over in the South Bronx, the sides of two buildings are each decorated with cast-bronze figures of the neighborhood’s residents. One piece, entitled Double Dutch, shows children skipping rope. The other, Life on Dawson Street, shows members of a family. The sculptures are remarkable not only because they’re life-sized and life-like; it’s also because they’re installed on the walls in such a way that the figures seem to be floating. Think of a three-dimensional mural – that’s also what it’s like.

You can also think of aptly scaled figures you can create and exhibit with similar effect. Whether you keep them for your personal use or sell them as decorative items, your sculptures will definitely catch anyone’s eye.

NYC Subway Sculptures by Tom Otterness

Blue-collar workers, businessmen, radicals, the rich – they’re all featured in a 100-sculpture installation called Life Underground at the 14th Street and 8th Avenue subway station. The small sculptures are cute, child-friendly, and cartoon-like, but they say a lot about the city’s social fabric.

You could experiment with turning small bronze bars into similar sculptures that pack a lot of punch. Like clever cut-outs and floating installations, they can hone your artistic spirit – and give your business its money’s worth when it comes to fashioning bronze.

10 Statues You Wouldn’t Expect to See in Manhattan’s Public Spaces, Untapped Cities
Riverside Park Ralph Ellison Memorial, NYC Parks, n.d.
The 16 Best Public Art Pieces in NYC, The Gothamist
100+ Whimsical Bronze Sculptures Inhabit the NYC Subway, My Modern Met

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