A master of unique finishes and textures, Derek Youngquist is an artist who works primarily with mild steel to create commanding metal wall sculptures. Typically, one of his pieces will be 48 inches by 60 inches and weigh approximately forty-five pounds. Armed with a laser torch and his inspiration, he must move precisely as he cuts, shapes and molds the hot metal. Derek frequently combines the molten metal with stone, wood, fiber or ceramic, creating multi-faceted artwork. This artist's work is so diverse that it can be categorized as sculpture, as metal art or as mixed media depending on the piece.
Using a complex process known only to him, the artist applies color pigment and acid which chemically react to the metal itself, to create brilliant colors; colors that flash when light touches them, colors that accentuate the shapes and textures of his art forms, colors that bring intensity and depth to his impressive works. This method is lengthy. Many factors (including the temperature of his studio) determine the ultimate color. Derek returns repeatedly to his studio, combining other metals, adding other elements, and retouching the pigments and acids until the art reflects his true vision. "My pieces are like thumbprints' the artist says, 'There are no two alike."
"I have been creating metal wall sculptures since 1992. My art evolves as my life unfolds. My artwork is a reflection of my life at the moment that I am creating it. Once expressed, I must move on. Each piece is individual and will never be repeated. I find inspiration for my work in everyday life, but especially travel. In my work I try to reveal things we all have looked at but perhaps did not see and to evoke emotions that we have hidden from ourselves.
My multi-media artwork often incorporates found objects. Sometimes the found objects provide the inspiration for the piece. At other times the found object is the catalyst. Sometimes I carry an idea around in my head for years before I finally find something that allows me to convey that idea.
When I am working in my studio I feel connected to my metal “canvas”. Others find metal to be heavy, cold and hard. I feel that I am able to harness the energy and strength of the metal and meld it according to my whim. The process that I use to create my wall sculptures changes with each piece. I combine acids and pigments to create the color that I have in mind. I often return to the studio to work on a particular piece when the weather is right to create just the desired effect. The multiple textures that characterize my wall sculptures often cause a tactile reaction in the viewer. People viewing my art seem to feel the need to reach out and touch the artwork. My hope is that the work “touches” them."
- Derek Youngquist