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Wild West Buffalo

John Lopez, 2013 (South Dakota)

Salvaged scrap metal

“Alan first saw one of John’s works when he was in Idaho. In July 2011 he met John outside Rapid city with our dear friend Joe Marshall, a Lakota leader from the Rosebud Reservation. Born and raised on a ranch, John Lopez has Cherokee and Spanish roots.

We spent time with John and his family in Lemmon, South Dakota and found the western landscape to be so beautiful and different from New England. It is vast and it is remote, and because it is remote, if something breaks, you need to find a spare part. So, people have junk piles. We got to see John’s junk piles, and he is very particular about them. Folks will call him to pick over their junk. Most hope he will just take the whole pile away. But he doesn’t. He picks certain things or nothing. Like Orly’s piece, reusing what would be in a junk pile and turning it into art aligns so well with Alnoba’s interest in sustainability.

 In the west folks ride horses, and John has a nephew who was a bronco rider, so naturally we headed to Wyoming to see him ride. Being there with John, I felt so connected to this wonderful human being and how he lives his life with his family and how to be outdoors in a different landscape.

Last year he came to Alnoba to give a talk and he had some free time. We asked him if needed any help on where to go or what to do. He responded, ‘I’m all set. I’m going to see the ocean.’ And off he went.”
–Harriet Lewis

Born and raised on a ranch, John Lopez started his career working in bronze and depicting traditional western and rodeo themes. It was later in his career that he started utilizing scrap-iron and sculpting with it. The more you look at the sculpture, the more these found objects reveal themselves as you realize you are looking at utilitarian objects like forks, shovels and rusty car parts.

This piece is part of the collection at Alnoba. See the full collection or check our upcoming tour schedule.