Ronnie Cardwell

Dodson, LA

When I was 16 years old, My mother gave me a small camera. I begin looking at shape and how light reacted to shapes. My dad was a architect, he taught me how to draw. I am self taught. A professor of art told me one time, that we learn art from the masters. I started reading and researching to teach myself many types of art. Working with metal has been my favorite for the last 15 years. I wanted to use the shapes of fish found in Louisiana waters and to recreate these shapes into art. I didn’t stop with just fish, I wanted to do birds, flowers and all different shapes found around Louisiana.

Metal is important to our lives, why not make art from it? I am getting some into recycled metal that’s a new horizon.

Today Lois and I live in Dodson, Louisiana in a old store built in 1942. We made a living area on one side of the store and our studio/shop is on the other. We are close to our kids and grandkids. Life is great.

I am a Louisiana artist that creates art from many areas of Louisiana life and cultures from North Louisiana to South Louisiana. I make art that brings back memories to some and gives insight to the future.

The medium I use is metal, in all types and forms. My wife, Lois, lays out the patterns on the metal. I begin by plasma cutting the metal into its basic shape. I do not use a computer to make the cuts. Next step is the grinding process to remove any unwanted material. I am old fashion, so I begin shaping the metal on a sweet gum stump with different hammers. After the shaping process, I begin welding the pieces together for its final shape. More grinding is required after welding. After I reach the final shapes the coloring process begins.

The patinas I use for colors create different feeling to the viewer. Some are acid base used over a copper coating. Some are metal dyes that give a transparent look. Lois applies the dyes by using different techniques, mixes the dyes for different colors. The final step is the application of a sealer. This allows the piece to be exterior or interior presented.

Louisiana is so diverse in its culture that it inspires my visions to design, shape and create the object that is common in our everyday life. I have shown my work all over the state and some parts of the south. The bottom line is I want the viewer to feel what I feel when I created the art.