Summit Right Brain: Keith D’Angelo will present 7-foot high flaming sculpture in Breckenridge
IF YOU GO
What: Second annual Fire Arts Festival
When: Thursday, Jan. 28 to Sunday, Jan. 31 from 5-9 p.m. All sculptures will be ignited on the hour.
Where: Breckenridge Arts District campus
Editor’s note: The second annual Fire Arts Festival, in conjunction with the International Snow Sculpture Championships, begins Thursday, Jan. 28. The festival, presented by Breckenridge Creative Arts, is a multi-day celebration and exhibition of fire, metal, glass and light art. The event runs the evenings of Thursday, Jan. 28 to Sunday, Jan. 31 from 5-9 p.m. on the Breckenridge Arts District campus in downtown Breckenridge. This is the first in a series of Q&A’s with nationally known fire sculptors who will be bringing their pieces to the event. All sculptures will be ignited on the hour, starting at 5 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m., from Jan. 28–31. Look for an event preview on the festival in Thursday’s Summit Daily.
Keith D’Angelo returns to Breckenridge after bringing his flaming heart piece to the 2015 inaugural Fire Arts Festival. The former Summit County local and 10-year veteran has been making public sculpture since his high school years and creating fire sculptures since 2012. He will be presenting his new piece, a 7-foot high flaming sculpture called “Love,” this week in Breckenridge. D’Angelo has public art installations in Carbondale, Aspen and Telluride.
Summit Daily News: Tell us what we can expect from your piece “Love”?
Keith D’Angelo: This piece is a simple reminder — love is simple, love is love. This piece is all about simplicity. It’s what I’d like to see more of in the world. Expect some warmth from this piece.
SDN: How long did it take you to create your project and what was the process behind it?
KD: This piece took many long nights in a cold workshop. I never keep track of how many hours I spend on a project. But from conceptualization to completion it was about a month or six weeks. The process behind creating it was again, all about simplicity. So first, I ask myself, what do I want to see, convey, share and initiate. Once I discovered what I was going for it all came together. I wanted it to be simple so no one has to think about it, you see it and you get it — or you don’t. Once I knew what I was going to do I gathered what resources were available to me at the time and figured out how to convey that message in a simple, straight-to-the-point manner. So, being that I wanted to use flame as a medium, I went off how I know to control fire. I welded pipe together to create the word love. Then I made it so propane could travel through it and come out little holes where I wanted the flame to create the word love out of fire.
SDN: How did you first get into fire sculptures and how long have you been creating them?
KD: I got into creating fire sculptures while I was living in Summit County a few years ago. I was working as a welder making gas fire pits when I started to discover how I could manipulate steel to control a flow of gas and ultimately control fire. Once I realized what I could do my mind started wandering with the idea of controlling fire. I got really excited about essentially creating sculpture out of flame, it was something that I had never really seen done before. I thought it was such a cool idea to create sculpture that was fleeting, something ephemeral using a medium that isn’t necessarily capable of being held but you can still touch it. See, what’s different about my fire sculpture is that it is all about what the flame creates — the piece isn’t intended to be seen until it is lit. I don’t incorporate fire or flame into a piece, instead it’s all about what’s created out of the flame. I have been making fire sculpture since 2012.
SDN: What was the inspiration behind this piece?
KD: The inspiration for this piece is what I want to see more of in the world, and in people. Love, unconditionally. It can be so simple. I have heard people either act from a place of love or fear. I want to encourage love, I want to evoke love on all realms, all aspects. Corny as it may be I want there to be more love in the word. I think it’s simple, and can be hot and spread out like a fire. I want people to love themselves, love their surroundings and love unconditionally. This is just a simple reminder.
SDN: What else inspires you in your artwork?
KD: What people do inspires me. The way people live is inspirational, whether it’s what they are doing or whether it’s what they aren’t doing. When people live boldly, when they act from the heart and live passionately, I get inspired. Those individuals that are reckless when it comes to affairs of the heart, those that are passionate and have a sincere love for life, this is what inspires me.
SDN: What is the most important tool you have when it comes to your work?
KD: That’s a really hard question. It is so case specific, some work needs a welder, other work doesn’t; some needs a plasma cutter, some doesn’t. I would say a welder is the most important tool for the majority of my sculptures, but that’s not always true. But of course if you count the mind as a tool, I would say my mind is my most important tool for creating.
SDN: Do you have any other projects you are currently working on that you’d like to mention?
KD: I’m working on a giant Ganesh head that will be suspended in the air for a friend to perform aerial stunts on.
SDN: What are you most looking forward to doing while in Breckenridge?
KD: I can’t wait to be in Breckenridge to do some skiing and ice skating with my daughter. I love it up there, and actually I lived there from 2006 to 2015 with a few big vacations in between.
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