Rusty Art

Old tools find new life in the sculptures of Jerry Brooks.
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Credit: Lance Thompson

Credit: Lance Thompson

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This is especially true when the junk falls into the hands of Jerry Brooks, creator of Rusty Art. 

Brooks spent part of his childhood on a cattle ranch on the Virgin River, northeast of Las Vegas. Brooks recalls, “I played like Huck Finn, running the river bottom and letting my imagination run wild.” Today, that imagination is put to use creating incredible sculptures made from the scrap metal odds and ends found on any ranch.

Brooks’ foray into metal art happened one day after he asked his farrier what happened to all the shoes he pulled off horses. The farrier replied, “I give them to people like you who want to make things with them.”

“Well, that was the start,” says Brooks. “I had a bucket of used horseshoes and oxygen and an acetylene torch setup, so I was ready to start creating. Having a welding background, the welding part came easy; the idea part came a little harder.”

Using skills he learned in a pipefitting career, Brooks first designed cowboy wine holders made out of horseshoes. Soon, his work had evolved to creating outdoor art.

“I moved into experimenting with different shapes,” he explains. “When I see a piece of rusted metal or parts of machinery that have been bent and worn by time and the elements, I sometimes see a picture in my mind of what they could become—how they could become pieces of art.”

Credit: Lance Thompson

Credit: Lance Thompson

Brooks is as genuine as the pieces he fashions, and his art reflects his down-home roots and love for the earth. A dedicated sculptor of found objects, in Brooks’ hands, discarded farm implements find new life as bow-legged cowboys, soaring eagles, or leaping salmon. Piecing together used shovels, rakes, pitchforks, and other farming tools, Brooks fills his corral with animals of the Mountain West. A sculpture of a bald eagle with outstretched wings looks poised to take flight over Idaho’s Snake Rover, visible from Brooks’ log home.

jerry-brooks-eagle

“My favorite piece is probably the one I haven’t started yet but have been thinking about for a long time,” muses Brooks, as he watches a hawk circle his spread, doffing his well-worn hat to shield his eyes from the sun. “I spend a lot of time thinking about something I would like to do. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. It gives me a great feeling of satisfaction when it all comes together.” 

For more information about his Western metal sculptures, contact Jerry Brooks at 208-850-2529 or badkneejerryb@aol.com.

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