July 8

SEE: Dakota Native John Lopez’s Incredible Metal Works

It’s true what they say that “another man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” And in John Lopez’s case, he turned trashes into artworks which now have become treasures for our country. Let’s take a peek on how a single man turns farm scraps into structures with his wit and sculpting skills.

John Lopez

John Lopez is a South Dakota native who received a bachelor’s degree in commercial art. He had quite a pace going with his career on bronze sculpting where he crafts miniature horses. During the peak of his bronze sculpting career, his aunt passed away, marking his transition from being a bronze sculptor to an iron sculptor.

“I was dealing with the loss of one of my biggest fans, so I put all my energy and emotion into it,” Lopez said. He crafted an archangel near his aunt’s grave made from scrap metals. He felt personal satisfaction with that work, thus, beginning his journey as an iron sculptor.

Lopez collects iron from the local ranches and farms. His family and friends were also supportive, giving him help when needed. As for his crafts, Lopez gets most of his ideas from his personal life, ranch, history, and cattle around their area. “I am never bored! I look forward to each new creation, and it is helping me grow and develop as an artist,” John said as he explores his new style of craft: iron sculpting.

Over the years, many commissions were assigned to him by various people. His creation “City of Presidents” included life-sized statues of the 12 United States presidents like John F. Kennedy and John Jr., Grant, Carter, Harrison, Coolidge, T. Roosevelt, Garfield, etc.

But among all his crafts, Lopez’s personal projects have a special affinity with the western and rodeo cultures. These include the Chief Red Iron located in Groton, South Dakota, and the life-sized bull “Dakotah” which is a bronze and metal hybrid.

Because of his unyielding love for his art, Lopez is able to spur change in the sculpting world, and his numerous contributions to the art culture have been commissioned by the United States itself.

Here are some of John Lopez’s famous masterpieces!

  1. Bison Scupture

2. The Bucking Bull!

3. Triceratops Cowboy in Lemmon, SD


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