Monday, December 3, 2012

Meet the Artist: Jerry Schmidt

Jerry Schmidt sits on a bench he made of discarded
wine rack & bedframes, accompanied by his nephew
& dog at his studio in Cleveland's Waterloo Art District.

No rustbelt here! Cleveland artist Jerry Schmidt has a habit of of creating beauty and whimsy from discarded steel. He's the son of local legend, the late Fred Schmidt, who learned to weld while working for the New York Central Railroad and then used that skill to express his own ideas in sculpture. Jerry learned alongside his father and has since taught his son Tyler the same welding skills and love of this artistic expression. Soon he hopes to guide his four-year-old grandson in the same.

Steel has a reputation of being merely heavy and utilitarian. But Jerry, his father, and his son each have created steel expressions that defy the medium's practicality and instead seem to float about, their raison d'etre: to make you smile. Jerry said that he usually doesn't name his pieces because he doesn't want to influence the viewer's interpretation of them.

An iron worker most of his life, Jerry stepped away from the trade about four years ago to concentrate on creating and teaching the art of metal sculpting in his studio in Cleveland's Waterloo art district. Recently, he was the recipient of two grants from Cleveland Public Art. The first will be used to upgrade his studio and to teach local young people metal sculpting. Students will employ basic math skills and gain a better understanding of abstract art as they learn metalworking techniques such as torching and grinding. The second grant, actually awarded to fellow artist Lou Ross, will fund a public sculpture designed by the two called Wheels on Waterloo. (Click here for info on Wheels. Scroll down a touch.) This sculpture will be fabricated by the same young people Jerry will be teaching.

Jerry holds the sketch for Wheels on Waterloo.

Jerry's work has been shown throughout Ohio galleries and is included in several corporate collections, including those of Penn Central in Cincinnati, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Saks Fifth Avenue at Beachwood Place, and the Cleveland Clinic.

To see more of Jerry's art, click here.
To watch Jerry and his father in an interview about their metal sculpting with news anchor Leon Bibb, click here.

Steel sculpture of saxophone player
by Jerry Schmidt.

A Little Q and A with Jerry:
What some of your favorite qualities that 
your father had as an artist or person? 
As an artist my father was a brilliant man, with his creativity and his beautiful mind. As a person, he was my best friend!

Why do you like abstract art?
With abstract, I'm never wrong. I create with no rules! That makes the person viewing my creations always right as well.

Do you accept commissions from individuals?
Yes I do. Contact me at 239.293.9548.

Schmidt's art studio is located at 15315 Waterloo Road, Cleveland.

Steel Mask by
Jerry Schmidt.


Elisa Vietri said...

Another really cool profile!  Very well done, Pat. And congratulations, Jerry!  You do beautiful work.

Pat Washington said...

 Thanks a bunch, Elisa!