Creating art with sheet metal
Chris O’Rourke creates unique forms and large-scale sculptures
Outside of his work as a sheet metal fabricator and construction manager in Las Vegas, Chris O’Rourke is crafting a small following as a fabricator of fine art. Using the same tools he is accustomed to using in sheet metal shops for rolling and welding steel, O’Rourke creates unique forms and large-scale sculptures.
According to O’Rourke, his love of working with metal actually began with wood-working, at the instruction of his grandfather.
“My grandfather is one of the most instrumental men in my life,” he says. “He got me into working with my hands.” Then at 16, a love of motorcycles led to metal. Working with renowned biker Pat Kennedy, O’Rourke learned to appreciate the art of fabrication.
“(Motorcycles) are like hoodless cars; all the work you do to them is on display 24/7,” he says. “Getting into the motorcycle aspect of things got me fired up for fabrication.”
Now, when he is not project managing a construction job, O’Rourke is refining his fabrication techniques. He pulls his inspiration from whatever draws him while utilizing the latest sheet metal shaping tools.
"The most impactful changes I have seen in the sheet metal side is the integration of computer cutting (water jet and laser). Coupled with CAD this process changes the game," he says. “To date, I have created over 25 metal sculptures and dozens of architectural metal features. Some of my sculptures were commissioned pieces, but most were ideas I had that just had to made real for a better nights sleep. As for the architectural side of my work, I am usually approached after others fabricators have said it is impossible.”
The end result might not be perfect, but O'Rourke's love of art began with the creative process.
"The sheet metal part of my work came after the heavy material stage of tool and die, machining, and structural fabrication," he explains. "I liked that it was more about the finish product on the sheet metal side and time was allotted to make that side of a project look as perfect as a human hand can make it."
To view more of Chris O’Rourke’s custom fabricated sculptures, visit chirsocreations.com.