Right Brain: Todd Buckendahl | SummitDaily.com
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Right Brain: Todd Buckendahl

Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc
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Three years ago Silverthorne resident Todd Buckendahl transformed the Salt Creek Saloon from a Country-Western bar to a hip-hop club through the artistry of functional metal sculpture.

“It combines all of the newest contemporary stuff I enjoy doing,” he said.

More recently he’s added to the Breck bar a 25-foot piece with a motif of Breckenridge’s Peaks 7, 8 and 9.

The Boulder native began learning his craft welding in high school and at home putting dirt bikes back together. He continued his education at a school of welding techniques in California and later studied environmental design and art at San Diego State ” after a brief time in the college of business.

He said of his art, “I combined everything I’ve been doing for a lifetime, everything I learned in school and life.”

Buckendahl hand-bends the smaller metal and uses heat treatments and chemical treatments to get the desired look. The artist prides himself on his green point of view in his work, using reclaimed material from the recycling center drops, railroad discard and remainders from other jobs.

I enjoy exploiting material to achieve results opposite of what you’d expect ” like steel looking like aspen bark or brushing stainless steel to give the look of infinite depth. I also enjoy bringing an environmental or green design approach to my art. I’ve been dreaming of spending less time fabricating in my shop and more time designing.

I do it because it combines everything I am. It’s what I know, it’s what I do. I honestly don’t know how to do anything else for money (anything else wouldn’t be natural).

Themes and budget constraints, which I solve by using reclaimed materials. Over 90 percent of the iron work I did for the Samplings restaurant had a previous use somewhere else. I bought almost zero new.

I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve combined several trades to the point of making me a bit of a specialized tradesman. You have a lot of great welders and a lot of great artists, but not too many good welding artists.

What I really need is anything south of the border that involves surfing, salt water fly-fishing, sailing and diving. Adventure of the safari-style for two to four weeks a year ” that’s what really charges my batteries.

I am pretty much the same adrenaline junkie that moved up here in ’96.

” Leslie Brefeld

Personality: Extrovert

Hours per week dedicated to art: As many as possible

Favorite artist/mentor: Leonardo da Vinci and Santa Fe artist Shadonni

Sensitivity: 1-10: 9


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