by Christy Rodriguez de Conte
The steel works created by Mark Georgiades and on display at the Gadsden Arts Center bring an edge to the Tallahassee area that’s sure to ramp you up.
Steel is cold.Steel is hard.Steal is sharp.
Yet even with the bruteness of those statements mirrored in the essence of the material, welder and artist Mark Georgiades can create a fluid pattern that brings elegance to the edge of steel.
From an early age, Georgiades was drawn to the sparks of sculpture. At age 5, he recalls his first encounter with a large metal sculpture of a winged Greek victor atop a world made-up of body parts. “It was so impressive,” smiles Georgiades. “Made of bronze. To this day, I can see it. I said to myself, ‘I really would love to do that one day.’ Make something that impressive.”
Georgiades indeed went on to impress. His love for painting and drawing evolved into a need to see those things in 3D. He quickly excelled in sculpting throughout high school and college, winning first prize in the Tampa State Fair and a scholarship to study art and sculpture at the Society of Bella Arts in Rio de Janeiro.
Upon returning, Georgiades took every class he could at Tallahassee Community College, Florida State University, Santa Fe Community College, University of Florida. Like a sponge, he absorbed many techniques and tricks he carried in his practice.
During his 10th grade year of high school, Georgiades bought his first welding gun. He has not stopped tinkering since. His love of automobiles led him to build and race cars. Over time, Georgiades opened his automotive shop and spent his days bending and binding the hot metals of gears and grind plates.
Only when he recently retired did he pick up the welding gun again, but this time he took his skills off the track and into the galleries. All the ideas he envisioned and had saved for years came flooding to the forefront, as did a need to create with it.
His sculptures utilize construction-grade materials such as copper, aluminum, wire, and steel. Georgiades’ process is delicate and based on basic welding techniques to produce a complex random pattern of steel and copper. He relies on the strength of the metal to dictate the process. His works are made of only new materials, usually 20 pieces of 3/16th by 15 feet long, to make a rough shape of what he desires.
To truly capture the form, Georgiades will take hundreds of photos as reference points and use live models.
“I’ll look at hundreds of pictures. Or use my daughter and granddaughter as live models,” says Georgiades. “And I’ll keep changing it until it feels right in my head. I’ll then add the pattern,” shares Georgiades. “I’ll cut pieces 3-5 inches long — hundreds of pieces — and I’ll use those. Instead of cutting [as I go.] That gives it a nice pattern, but it is random.”
Mark Georgiades prides himself on creating one-of-a-kind work. Each piece is individually constructed with its movement and flow in mind. Whether in his animal sculptures or torso structures, Georgiades can capture a moment in metal.
Currently, the Gadsden Arts Center & Museum is showing Georgiades’ exhibit, “Visage,” which primarily displays his welded metal sculptures of human faces and torsos, including his woman made of nails. He acknowledges the strength he has gained from the women in his family and celebrates their power through his sculptures.
This show highlights Georgiades’ skillful detailed technique to deliver a sharp edge Georgiades hopes no one has seen before. He continues to evolve and develop his art by including concrete and glass in his already dangerous metal aesthetic.
“You know, just here recently, I feel like the sky is the limit. I feel like this is just the start for me. This was just getting my feet wet,” Georgiades said. “I feel like from this point on, I’m going to ramp it up!”
Read the article on the Tallahassee Democrat.