A Boy’s Insistent Dream Becomes Reality — The Welded Metal Sculpture of Carlos Acevedo

Welded horse sculpture by wenaha gallery artist Carlos Acevedo
Untitled welded sculpture by Wenaha Gallery artist Carlos Acevedo

From the time Carlos Acevedo was a little boy, he wanted to be an artist. He knew that he was an artist.

But like many determined people with a strong dream and an equally strong personality to make it happen, he didn’t always have the support of the people around him.

“I can remember, in grade school, when the art teacher came into my fourth grade classroom to pick out the students who were ‘privileged,'” Acevedo says. He was never chosen.

Circumstances notwithstanding, Acevedo never gave up, and the way he let his wishes be known is one that generations of artistic students have used, and generations of teachers have scolded about:

Touchet welded metal horse sculpture by wenaha artist Carlos Acevedo
Touchet by Wenaha Gallery sculpture artist Carlos Acevedo

“I doodled on all of my homework and class worksheets, and was always trying to demonstrate to my teachers that I, too, had artistic abilities.”

It was not until three years later, however — upon entering junior high school — that Carlos achieved his goal of art study when he was now required to take the class as an elective, and all those years of persistent tenacity finally accomplished their purpose:

“That is when I was introduced to clay, block prints, drawing and painting,” Acevedo remembers.  “More importantly, I learned a valuable lesson back then — to never give up on what you dream.”

Acevedo’s dreams achieve reality these days in sculpture: his signature creations, many of which are horses, start out as eclectic fabrications of wood, metal, wire, and paper which he intertwines into the finished form, then casts into bronze. The resultant work of art is fluid with movement, spirited, conveying a sensation of action skillfully woven with a singular sense of tranquility.

Acevedo credits seven years of working at Walla Walla and Trevor Hunter Foundries with expanding his skill, his understanding of the different ways that metals interact, and his confidence as an artist:

“During my time working at these foundries, I had invaluable access to the contemporary art world,” Acevedo says. “It was there that I helped fabricate large and small-scale bronze sculptures for national and international artists.” Now, as a student at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, working on his AAS Welding Degree, Acevedo continues to learn, and when he isn’t studying, Acevedo creates in his art studio, an old army bunker at the Walla Walla Airport which he shares with photographer Amahra Leaman and two studio cats, Noche-No-Tail and Professor Tubby.

“The cats earn their keep,” he observes.

Welded metal horse sculpture by wenaha gallery artist Carlos Acevedo
Untitled 3 by Wenaha Gallery sculpture artist Carlos Acevedo.

So . . . why welded art?

“The welding process has always fascinated me,” Acevedo explains. “When I was a young boy, I watched my brothers fix broken bikes and other metal objects. It was truly remarkable that they could take something that was broken and make it function again.”

And the horses?

It’s back to those brothers again: “I remember my oldest brother, Jose, being placed on a beautiful black and white ‘Paint Horse’ to have his picture taken with his cowboy boots, caballero suit, and sombrero. I looked at that photo of Jose on that horse, wishing I too could only be placed on that same beautiful black and white paint horse to have my picture taken.”

Like the grade school art lessons, it never happened, but the love for horses, and the desire to sculpt, draw, and paint them, was born in that moment.

In many ways, the young boy in Acevedo — the one who watched other children attend classes he longed to be in, and an older sibling sit proudly astride the horse he would only admire in a photograph — has never grown up, but he’s done something better:

Welded metal horse sculpture by Wenaha Gallery artist Carlos Acevedo
Untitled IV metal sculpture by Wenaha Gallery artist, Carlos Acevedo.

He has taken the setbacks of youth and its frustrated dreams and translated them into a reality of adulthood. Like many artists, he juggles school and work and family to achieve that precious, never-enough-time in the studio, and the finished pieces reflect all of the time and process it takes to create them:

“Emotion for each piece is born simply by using my hands and physically feeling the materials,” Acevedo says. “It is this emotion, the tactile act of creating, and allowing my heart a chance to speak, that drives me to continue to create.”

Carlos Acevedo is the featured Art Event Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery, August 11 through September 6, 2014. Come see the exhibit at the gallery’s downtown Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street.  Wenaha Gallery

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery,  located in historic downtown Dayton, Washington,  is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton; phone 509.382.2124; e-mail art@wenaha.com.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

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