Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lopez Studio Installations

This installation is in-front of the Brookings Arts Council Building, Brookings, SD for one year.  "The War Horse" is still available for sale or rent.

"The anatomy and kinetics intermixed with curious choices of familiar steel 
objects speckled about the sculpture in randomly organized patterns..."
-Quote taken from a fan on

This life-size Hybrid Metal horse is titled IRON STAR.  It won the peoples choice award in 2009 at the Sculpture In the Hills show and was later purchased by the Hill City Ats Council and placed on Main Street in Hill City.  Horses have always been my favorite subject to sculpt.  As you scroll down you will see a hand full of equine pieces that I have created over the past five years.

Click this link to see more of John's latest work.

The Grizzly Bear was commissioned by Mackenzie River Pizza, Grill and Pub in Bismarck, ND

 Dakotah Steak House on Elk Vale, Rd on the east side of Rapid City.


Hello there.  A few years ago when I was traveling through Hill City is South Dakota I had the opportunity to see your horse sculpture and I instantly fell in love with your work.  Thank you for sharing that gift with the world.  Wow.  Really amazing in my opinion, my family and I still look at the photo that we took as each time you look at it, it is interesting in a new way each time.  Really wonderful. 

At any rate, I just wanted to send you a note to tell you that I really enjoy your work.

Kind Regards,

Hi Mr. Lopez,

I saw your "Dakotah" piece in South Dakota last summer. I can't say I've ever been so moved by any art as I was that buffalo. Words are cheap, but I wanted to tell you how much your work is appreciated. I took some photos of it with my family and was just looking through those and realized I never wrote you to tell you. I hope you make a million more beautiful works and I hope the world sees what I see.

I discovered your art through a website called Just wanted
to tell you that I think your sculptures are amazingly genius. I
literally stared at a picture of one of your buffalo sculptures for a

half hour. Look forward to seeing what you create next!

This email is just to let you know that I just happened on your web page today and enjoyed very much the photos of your work. My daughter in law is from Belle Fourche SD. My family is from New Mexico and my Great Grandfather was a trapper at Fort Bennett on the Sante Fe trail. With this in mind your work touches my heart due mostly to the western theme of much of it although the T-Rex put a huge smile on my face, too!
Thanks again for your inspiration and talent.

Salve Sig. Jhon le faccio i miei più sinceri complimenti perché Lei è veramente un grande artista. Anche io mi diverto a fare sculture in ferro.grazie della sua arte. Le scrivo dalla Sardegna un isola dell'Italia.
Arrivederci Cristian

English Translation
Hello Mr. Jhon I make my most sincere congratulations because you are truly a great artist. Although I enjoy making sculptures in ferro.grazie of his art. I am writing from an Italian island Sardinia. 
Goodbye Cristian 

Dear John Lopez,
Traveling through the hills, last month, I saw a most intriguing statue on the main street of Hill City (a town I've always had a fondness for)...I had to stop & see it up close. Luckily there was a parking spot close by! IRON STAR is truly beautiful, and to me ..'alive'!
I saw the sculptors name, & went inside the gallery to find out if this was possibly the same artist that I had read about, many years previous, in the Timber Lake Topic! And yes, it was! See, Firesteel South Dakota is where I grew up..on a farm/ranch north of there. I recall our school bus stopping by the Lopez place each day. Albert Lopez, if my memory serves me correctly. I now live in Canada & rarely get back to that area.
I was on my way     home from Nebraska, where we had just buried my fathers had been an emotional, fulfilling trip taking him 'home'.....and seeing your horse, there in Hill City...well I can't explain the memories & feelings that evoked.
Your creations are truly remarkable. I am planning on going to T.L this summer for a class reunion, and plan to visit your gallery in Lemmon. I would love to bring you a piece of small scrap iron from my Dads place up here in Saskatchewan, if that would be o.k.....perhaps you could find a place for it in a future work!   Thanks so much for your creations.....

Dear Mr. Lopez,
My husband and I recently visited Rapid City, SD as a part of a tour of the western U.S. A friend of yours in the Alex Johnson Mercantile gave me your contact information. What I wanted to share with you is what an awesome experience it was for me to encounter the presidential statues on the street corners. I have been blind for 40 years , but did not lose my sight until my mid-twenties. Because I had visual memory of many of the recent presidents, especially JFK from pictures and TV, when I touched the statues I immediately recognized them. For me as a person who is blind, it was one of the most accessible exhibits I have ever experienced. In most museums items are behind glass or ropes and I must be content to have someone describe them to me. In Rapid City, I had the exhilarating experience of “seeing” them for myself.

Please let other artists who have participated in this project know how much this firsthand knowledge of their art work means to someone who sees through touch.



HI John,
My name is John Pahlas & I am primarily a steel sculptor. I can't believe I haven't heard of you
before, but I am astounded by how fabulous your sculptures are!! True skill and motivated creativity! I can only begin to describe how inspiring your work is!
 I'm fresh out of college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and I've recently opened up a small gallery with two other artist friends of mine here in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. I just wanted to send you some photos of my work and see what you think.
 I also wanted to pick your brain a bit and ask how you got your start and what direction did you take to get yourself these wild commissions? Did you focus on getting into galleries first? Were you sought out by outside entities to do work? I'm just curious because it has for many years been my highest aspiration to get my work into the public sphere and to help make public spaces more creative and beautiful. Any words of advice would do.
Currently I have about 5 commissions going and while I work on those I try to build about 50 small birds a month, and they usually find homes a week or two after I build them. So, I feel that the direction I'm taking is a good start, but I'm hungry for more! I'd like to save up enough to get a studio that isn't a one car garage so I could work larger scale; my larger work is done outside, but its getting pretty nippy over here! Any advice or words of wisdom would be amazing!
Thanks for your time John, your work is truly amazing! DOn't ever put that welder down, my friend!
Take care, stay safe,
Center Ground Studios
    Find Your Center. Stand Your Ground.
Custom Steel Sculpture, Hand-Made Ceramics
    10991 Division st. Blue Mounds, Wisco

Here is a shot of me on the left side of Dakotah to give you an idea of the size of this sculpture.
At this stage of creating Dakotah I had some strange dreams.  I was on such a high doing this 
piece that I felt like I was on drugs or something just before falling to sleep.  The same kind of thing happened when I was working on Iron Star.

Rapid City Regional Airport, Rapid City, SD

  Out Door Campus West -SD Dept of Game Fish

The Game Fish and Parks on Sturgis Rd. Rapid City, SD.

 Grand River Museum in Lemmon, South Dakota.


Pinnacle, New Hampshire


Triple Creek Ranch Resort in Darby, MT

Pinnacle, New Hampshire

Equine vet Margie Jones of Sturgis commissioned this piece in 2010.
The pedestal is made from a galvanized garage door track.

This is the very first scrap iron piece I did. It is titled Grande Rondo, it is now in Solvang, CA.

I did this bonsai tree in 2011 at the Schmidt ranch.  I used steal cable to make the needles of the tree.


  1. Hi,i have read your whole blog,its very amazing,i am impressed.i have bookmark your site for revisit.if ever you
    Metal Statues

  2. Excelente trabajo; estoy asombrado y no me asombro con cualquier cosa. FELICITACIONES MAESTRO