Wk9 – Artist Conversation – William Brigham

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Artist: William Brigham

Exhibition: ALTERED CARBON

Media: Metal & Jewelry

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dutzi-Gallery

Website: N/A

Instagram: @the_artificery

Today, I am going to cover William Brigham who is a BFA major student student from Huntington Beach, CA. Like any graduating student, he is very excited to graduate this semester, especially since he doesn’t have to take any more academic classes. For his senior showcase, he created “ALTERED CARBON.” He said that this entire showcase took “a lot of time” to put together, however for some individual pieces: at times they would take around 200 hours to create.  I would have to say that he is a very crafty man, especially since his art is metal based. He said that when steel is hot enough, it works just like clay because you’re able to shape it any way you’d like. In addition, he mentioned that when it comes to making knives, that knife-making isn’t what takes so long: the pattern is the one that takes forever. However, he lives by the idea that once you know how the material works, then you can make whatever you want. Although he enjoys to create metal art, his favorite part is creating the patterns – like the ones that can be found on his knives. In fact, it’s mind-blowing to believe that of the small knives he made is made up of 350 layers. Once he has a stack of 20 layers, then he is able to create the pattern he wants. He first practiced creating patterns with black and white sculpting, so that when he actually uses the metal, he would feel more comfortable shaping the metal. I was curious to see how much a metal master he is, but he confessed that he has hurt himself from creating his pieces simply because of how hot the metal gets. He has a few scars, but the most visible ones are the two scars on his left arm. Besides making knives, he also enjoys to make his own spear guns. He also has a traditional signature mark, that is so cleverly thought out. The B on the front represents Brigham, however the W is actually turned to the side. I enjoyed the fact that Brigham was extremely informative and open about his work.
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Now, I’d like to talk about my favorite pieces presented in this showcase. Because the knives are so delicately designed, they really caught my attention. They make up for a great portion of his show, but I think they deserve much appreciation and praise. As a fan of camping, I tend to buy new knives every time I go on a trip with my brother. I typically try to find something very sharp, small, and easy to hide. However, when I saw Brigham’s knives, I thought that they would be a great addition to my collection simply because of the detail of the knives. I actually wish that camping knives were so beautifully designed on the blade. I think that the design gives the knife more personality, rather than a solid, plain knife. It’s insane how much detail there is in literally just one knife. I love the repetitive U-shaped strokes. They are so symmetrical and I couldn’t find any crooked lines. In general, the overall look of the knife turns out to look like a feather. They are many ridges that create a great pattern.
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However, there are two other knives that have different patterns. One almost looks like water patches, like when water spills on a piece of paper. And I honestly cannot depict the other knives’ pattern, however I can say that is is very detailed. If I were able to touch this particular knife, I’m sure I would be able to feel the ridges since they look like they’re so deeply shaped out. Overall, I am very impressed with this sort of metal shaping. I believe that Brigham should sell his pieces in a store or even online. I have seen stores in shopping malls that sell swords and knives as well. I’m sure that Brigham would have tons of customers! I would definitely give my mom one of his knives as a gift for our kitchen. She would love it right away, simply because of the fact that Brigham put so many hours into creating the knives’ pattern.

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Overall, I was extremely impressed with Brigham’s work. I really admire his skills and hard work. When I heard that it takes about 200 hours for some pieces to be made, I was absolutely shocked. I guess I just live by the assumption that because someone is talented enough to create beautiful art, then they are able to complete something quickly and efficiently with no issues. But, clearly this is false because fine Art is made from trial and error – like Brigham said. Like-said earlier, he just doesn’t dive into the metal shaping: he first practiced shaping metal with black and white sculpting. I also liked how there was a variety of metal art to view. Brigham presented metal art in multiple ways that would appeal to a varied audience.  In addition to the five knives, there was also a copper rose, high carbon steel rings, Hi-Do Rainbow, and a copper/brass vase…etc. In the end, I had a great time viewing Brigham’s art. I also brought a friend with me, who was a former student of this class, and she said that she missed visiting the Galleries. She was very into what Brigham had to say about his art, that she even took notes herself. Nevertheless, I believe that Brigham’s art has influenced me to check out other metal artists and probably try it out one day.

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