steel sculpture

John Pahlas at work“Art is the signature of civilizations” – Beverley Sills

My work currently revolves around creating animals and nature scenes out of discarded metal objects and salvaged industrial parts. I am fascinated by how humanity has impacted the natural world and often find a great deal of catharsis through sculpting junk into beautiful forms. Much of my sculptural process involves searching for the right rusty scraps. From there, I dive into the studio with a welder and grinder and start creating! It is a great challenge to take that which our industrial society throws away and bring it back to life as a rusty fish or a hawk in flight over head.

I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. Although I had already built up a great deal of discipline and work ethic with my parents in their studio, college widened my artistic horizons and instilled a sense of independence that I hadn’t been given the opportunity to have working alongside family. I started doing private commissioned sculpture my Freshman year of college and have been working full time sculpting since I graduated May of 2013.

Click artworks to view slide show of larger images.

  • Hunter 3
  • Beneath the Surface (detail)
  • Driftless Redtail

I currently run a studio out of Mount Horeb with the love of my life, Heidi Clayton. She hosts ceramic classes and pottery lessons and I make creative & heavy messes in the steel sculpting wing. When I'm not in the studio, I am usually on the road, showing my work in various parts of the country at art shows and cultural fairs. Together, our mission is to enrich the community through art and allow all who are interested to engage in the creative process.

DEMONSTRATION: I will be doing outdoor welding demonstrations throughout the weekend. There will be protective measures taken to ensure that visitors don’t hurt their eyes watching me weld. There Each year we set up a tent with chairs and tables so people can sit and watch the process. I usually make a small sculpture, start to finish. It has been very successful each year.

STUDIO ACCESS: The entrance to our studio is totally wheel chair accessible. There is a short sidewalk to the main entrance and the bay door of the steel studio which connects with a sixty foot long drive way (low grade incline, very doable for elderly/handicapped). Our artwork will be for sale in the main room where Heidi will be throwing pottery on the wheel.

Credit Cards are accepted by this artist.

Center Ground Studios
302 E. Lincoln Street, Mount Horeb, WI 53572 | 920-299-2368
centergroundstudios@gmail.com | centergroundstudios.com