Forged and hammered entirely from recycled scrap metal, Luke Russell’s twist on the world tree motif is set in motion by curling branches and ribbon-like leaves. Perched throughout are hybrid fish-elephant creatures symbolizing evolution. The tree’s suggested, partial immersion in water echoes climate change.
“Most of the inspiration for the work comes from a love of nature’s asymmetric patterns. The spaces between the branches are as important as the branches and creatures are to the sculpture’s form. The leaves were originally individual sculptures of form, and one night the idea came to use them as abstract leaves blowing in the wind. While the sculpture is meant to look like it’s growing out of the ground, it also represents the human desire to create and design.”
Luke Russell sold his first metal sculpture—a smiley face with crossed-out eyes and protruding tongue—to a teacher when he was in fourth grade. He’s made sculptures, functional and garden art and furniture since learning metalsmithing techniques at his family’s industrial blacksmith shop. He’s shown his work at galleries in Chicago’s West Loop art district and at the Oak Park Sculpture Walk.