Metal show: A trio of salvaged soul

by Elyse Tan

Chances are you’ve already seen the sculptures of Aaron Loveitt, Thor Myhre and Andy Phillips. You just don’t know it yet.
These sculptors bring an element of artistic functionality to their metal works across town at local breweries, businesses and residences. As business owners, they help facilitate their clients’ inspirations through metal while maintaining their individual artistic endeavors off hours.
People will have the opportunity to experience their personal projects through a unique installation in a gallery setting during the monthly Art Walk at Make.Shift on April 4. The show will continue throughout the month.

Andy Phillips
Phillips strives to create visually appealing art that people will enjoy while enhancing their lives. His works aren’t meant to be static or purely looked at, rather interactive. The Moustache Ride exemplifies this, a kinetic ride that Phillips made for Movember, Cancer Awareness month. Phillips, 40, of Black Fin Design also builds functional furniture: a multi-purpose bike rack, railing and bar made from materials including a steel tractor tire for Kulshan Brewery and benches for Elizabeth Station.
“They’re at meeting places and improve people’s lives,” Phillips said. “People can interact with it all day.”
He enjoys the accessibility and durability of his works and the fact that people can have fun with them. “Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can,” Phillips said.
A freestanding Flower sculpture and The Moustache Ride will be some of his works exhibited at Make.Shift.

Aaron Loveitt
Meanwhile, Aaron Loveitt’s personal, environmentally influenced fine art aims to give viewers a perspective of the interconnected relationship they have with the environment. The landscape, mountains, water and the community’s appreciation for those elements interest him. Loveitt, 35, dissects the common patterns that are found in an urban, natural environment and addresses their larger issues through his metal works, he said.
“It’s important for me to be a part of my localized community and touch upon subjects that are important and help us create a sense of identity,” Loveitt said.
Using a minimalistic combination of industrial and organic forms, Loveitt produces a sense of transformation of material. His sculptures are interactive in a passive way, he said. They create an experience for the viewer, a space for people to walk in and around, and change mood from different perspectives.
Loveitt produced “Shift,” a site-specific piece made of salvaged galvanized steel, located outside of the historic “flatiron” building.
He has lived in Bellingham for four years and cherishes how the art community is truly interested and excited to come out and see artists’ work, he said.
“I feel fortunate that I can do what I want to do here,” Loveitt said.
As sculptors, they scavenge for salvaged items to turn into something new and create exciting objects for others to experience.

Thor Myhre
“Junk has soul,” said Thor Myhre, sculptor and founder of R.A.R.E., the Recycled Art and Resource Expo. Myhre, who started with Allied Arts, spent his childhood on a farm repairing and building things. He discovered the world of art in college, he said.
Unlike the other sculptors, Myhre, 38, explores how to make human figures using few unrelated found objects. His main inspiration is the found objects themselves, he said. “I’m intrigued by their story, soul. They’re much more interesting than store bought materials for me.”
Myhre’s favorite place to find inspiration is barns. He is attracted to rusty, industrialized ‘junque’ and believes rust, nature’s protective coating, can be a more intricate and complicated finish than a paint job, he said.
Myhre specializes in using recycled materials and built a stainless steel bike rack using beer-brewing equipment for Chuckanut Brewery.
Bellingham has a great supportive network of recycled artists, he said. April 4 also marks the opening night of R.A.R.E

View the metal artwork of Aaron Loveitt, Thor Myhre, and Andy Phillips at Make.Shift during the month of April. The April 4 Art Walk event includes a musical performance by Tyson Ballew and Jaedyn McGregor singing approximately 22 Taylor Swift songs and more. Make.Shift is located at 306 Flora Street. For more information, see makeshiftproject.com.