A good reason to sculpt

By Daniel Hughes

Deniliquin scrap metal artist Stuart Taylor is adding to his regional reach, completing another series of public sculptures.

The three life-sized metal emus, two of which have already been completed, will be part of an outdoor exhibition in Mudgee next month.

It takes up to three weeks to construct each emu, which are made from metal sourced from a Deniliquin scrapyard and rusty gas cylinders to create the feathers.

Other public art displays by Mr Taylor include the scrap metal EK Ute in George St, Deniliquin, created to replace the mosaic ute.

His prize winning ‘Cod and Carp’, which won the Spirit of the Land National Farm Art prize in 2019 is also on display in Lockhart until October 2021.

While he is becoming more well known for his sculpting, Mr Taylor said each new piece is a learning experience.

‘‘When I moved to Deniliquin 14 years-ago I noticed the huge resource of scrap metal in the area,’’ Mr Taylor said.

‘‘I decided to combine my metal working and artistic skills to create these sculptures.

‘‘I like working with scrap metal because you can build up a large sculpture using a mosaic of small pieces. It’s very satisfying to have an image in your head and turn it into a solid object.

‘‘I use fencing wire to create the initial shape, and then slowly refine the design.

‘‘Then I use a plasma cutter to cut the steel to the shape I want, and I weld it all together with a mig welder.

‘‘I’m happy with how they (the emus) look, and I’m learning as I go.’’

Mr Taylor’s early working years in Sydney drew him to metal work, and the artistry he creates with the skill has earned him great praise and even awards.

‘‘I have always been interested in art, and so after working as an apprentice fitter and turner at Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney, I attended art school,’’ he said.

When the trio of emus are finished, the work will be titled ‘Sculpture in the Garden’ — or SIG for short.

He said he was relieved the Mudgee event would be going ahead after all the effort that has gone in to the pieces.

‘‘All of the events I usually attend have been cancelled, including Lockhart’s Spirit of the Land, where I have won the major prize five times.

‘‘This year would have been my tenth year (competing at Lockhart).

‘‘Thankfully Mudgee is going ahead.’’