“He would build horseshoes,” Brown remembered. “We used to take his stuff through town in the parades, and people liked it.”
Like his father, Brown now makes a living working with steel – and just like his dad, he has a creative side.
“I’ve been sculpting and painting most of my life,” said Brown, whose larger-than-life metal sculptures can be seen in prominent places throughout his hometown, thanks to local developer Matt Miles. It was Miles who suggested that Brown create the “pinecone” displayed at the Oxbow Crossing Shopping Center.
“My wife and I were in Durango,” Miles said. “We found a giant pinecone there. So we took a photo, and we asked Wayne to build it for us.”
Including works of sculpture adds interest to an environment, Miles said.
“We are here to create an environment that is convenient for retail, and the sculptures are part of this,” he said. “And I have got the resource of Wayne Brown to call on! In another life, I was a structural steel fabricator, and Wayne erected all of our steel. This is a hidden talent. I thought up the idea for the pine cone, but he came up with all the others.”
“All of the others” include the enormous colored rose at Oxbow Crossing, the oak leaves and acorns in front of Waterfall Canyon residential development, and the antler at River Landing Shopping Center.
“Matt came up with the first idea, and then he said, ‘Well now what are you gonna do?’” Brown explained. “I was trying to think fast. So I said, how about an antler?”
Each of the giant pieces requires about 600 hours of labor, Brown noted, although the rose took around 700 hours. The work is done at his Montrose business, Prospect Steel, Inc.
“The real talent is the guys hammering and welding it together,” he said. “I have 11 employees, all welders by trade, and everyone has done some work on all of the pieces. I use it for fill-in work between jobs, and they like it – it’s a nice change from structural work, they get to create something.”
Some of his employees are naturally artistic, others are not, but all are recognized for their contribution.
“All of my pieces have a name plate someplace, usually hidden,” Brown said. “It has the names of all of the guys who put in the 600 hours on each piece.”
Montrose Public Art eXperience (PAX), with a mission to create a more pleasing visual environment, expand opportunities to experience quality works of art, and facilitate the development, acquisition and display of art in Montrose’s public spaces, has recognized those who envisioned and created these works of public art. To learn more about PAX, call the Chamber at 249-5000, or visit www.cityofmontrose.org/art.