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Chasing Shadows: David Ponsler




David Ponsler (American, b. 1961), ‘Chasing Shadows Series: His Closure’, 2016, forged and fabricated steel, 96 x 26 x 30 in., On loan from the Artist.


David Ponsler describes himself simply as “a blacksmith, a metalworker,” but it is clear by this video that he is much more than that. The metal glows bright orange as it is heated to temperatures that allow him to shape and reshape it. Sparks fly like fireworks with every strike of Ponsler’s hammer. It looks deceptively easy as he molds unyielding metal into beautifully-curved arches and sculptures. Watch the magic happen here.

As a child, he began bugging the workers in his father’s shop to teach him to weld. The men finally relented, thinking if he got burned it would end the eight-year-old’s curiosity. Instead, it ignited a passion and intense focus that has lasted a lifetime. His career started with designing architectural objects, like railings and staircases, but over the years has blossomed with his ability to transform industrial remnants into elegant sculptures. Listening to music, from classical composers to classic rock, Ponsler finds inspiration in discarded objects he finds around town. He twists wrought iron, steel, and copper into works of art, sometimes using sketches and other times letting a creation form organically. His designs often incorporate circles to convey a sense of protection, and the graceful curves lend a quiet strength to his sculptures. His artistry blends traditional blacksmith tools with a modern day approach, and the result feels like a moment captured in time.

Chasing Shadows: David Ponsler is on display through October 4, 2017 in the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Community Sculpture Garden & Plaza. Take some time to view his work and get to know more about one of Jacksonville’s talented artists.

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