You Add Some, You Lose Some

Partially cut out nickel.
Take it away, take it away, take it away now.

When an artist creates a piece of work, she works in one of two ways – additive or subtractive. In one, you build up, or add on to a sculpture or surface. In the other you take away, or subtract from it.

Most painting is an additive process – you apply paint in layers onto a canvas. Carving is a subtractive way to work. The artist starts with a block of marble or wood and chips away “everything that isn’t the statue.”

So which way do I work?

Cut out portion of the bowl.
Subtracting part of Cascade ©2014 WTEK

I’m not sure what you would consider the techniques used to shape sheet metal – hollowforming, foldforming, chasing & repoussé. These just alter the shape of the metal without taking away or adding anything. It’s what you do with that formed piece that’s additive or subtractive.

First side together ©2015 WTEK
Adding the pieces of Fragmented together ©2015 WTEK

When I cut parts of it away (piercing) that is definitely a subtractive process. Trimming edges, cutting holes out, cutting multiple parts out of a single sheet of metal – all subtractive.

But then I start to add parts back on. Layers get riveted or soldered on, the base gets added, even putting a piece on a chain or hook adds something to it.

So the answer is both! My art is born out of bits taken away and others added on to create a new whole.