Metal art falls under a few different categories in the art world. Most people would place it in the sculpture box. Metal art is also a little out of the mainstream of art. If you think about it, the main population of artists are painters. Why you ask? Probably because the space, time, and resources that are needed to make the art.
For example, a metal artist needs a metal working shop where a painter only needs a dedicated room or studio. A metal artist also needs to invest in a significant number of metal working machines before he can begin. A painter only needs paint, brushes and a canvas. A bit of a difference huh.
There are 3 main types of metal art:
Metal Junk Art
Cast Metal Art
In casting the metal artist makes a mold of an object. Next, the artist uses a furnace of some sort to melt metal. This metal can be Aluminum, Steel, Bronze or some other metal alloy. The metal artist then pours the molten metal into the mold. The object cools for a period of time and then is released from the mold. Finally the object is cleaned up and sometimes a patina is added. This type of work is very hot and time consuming with multiple steps for the metal artist.
Fabricated Sculpture Metal Art
Fabricated sculptures are a bit different. There is some heat involved, but it is normally from welding different metal pieces together. These sculptures are usually more detailed then cast sculptures. Most times the artist has an idea of what they want to build and then they start assembling it like you would a car or bike.
Metal Junk Art
Some times people even make these sculptures out of junk pieces of metal. I call this ?Junk Art? while others call it ?Found Object Art.? You make the call. You see this type of metal art at street art fairs quite a bit.
Out of these three types of metal art I prefer fabricated metal art. Not that I think that the art is better. To me it seems there is some more craftsmanship that goes into in. There is a process before hand where the artist has to think a little bit and plan the work.
Metal art does take a little more time, money and effort then other types of art. Part of that is the nature of the work. You need extra machines around because you are working with a tough media. You need a little extra power so you control your metal art instead of it controlling you.