CARLSBORG — Sequim native Per Berg makes a powerful statement with his first large-scale contribution to the art world.
“Metal Man,” as the 8½-foot-tall, 300-pound steel sculpture is dubbed, was commissioned by Dave Brasher, co-owner of High Energy Metal at 293 Business Park Loop in the Carlsborg industrial park and a close friend of the Berg family.
The powerful figure of Metal Man is an appropriate symbol for a 15-year-old business that specializes in “explosive bonding,” the forceful welding together of different metals using controlled detonations.
“We decided we wanted to do something ambitious,” said Berg, an art school graduate of The Evergreen State College in Olympia who is best friends with Brasher’s son, Van, and also produces commercial artwork as a budding artist.
Dave and Monique Brasher are close friends with Berg’s parents, Katrina Berg, who owns Fiddleheads, a shop in downtown Port Angeles and is a former Sequim city councilwoman, and Brian Berg, a longtime math teacher at Sequim High School.
The Bergs met the Brashers in the same birthing class, with Per born shortly before Van.
Later, Brasher went on to coach Per and Van in soccer.
It took about six months to complete Metal Man, young artist Per Berg said. Beginning in September, he and Brasher came up with several concept drawings to illustrate what the shop does.
They settled for the hammering figure, and Berg began to create the sculpture’s skeleton with steel rods to map out where the steel skin pieces would go.
That part of the puzzle took two months.
Then he used a plasma cutter to cut the steel pieces. He used head and a hammer to refine the figure’s shape, oxidizing the metal in places.
The piece will be installed somewhere in front of the business, according to Brasher. Metal Man was dedicated at an unveiling party on Saturday in front of the business.
“It’s just something I wanted to do for a while, said Brasher, who is a business partner with High Energy Metals co-owner Don Butler.
Brasher sees it as “sort of a sign,” a creative way of drawing attention to the business, and an artistic statement as well.
Berg said metal welding sculpture is a niche he believes he can fill.
Because it is so labor intensive — he worked more than 360 hours on it — such a piece is worth at least $12,000, Berg figures.
“Metal art is cool but a lot of artists are intimidated by it,” Berg said.
“I got a sunburn from it once and I caught myself on fire,” he said.
—————Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at [email protected]