Entries in Salvage Artist (3)


David Calfo Brings Salvage Art to the Steel City Big Pour

Lawrenceville salvage artist and master carpenter David Calfo is becoming well known for turning one person’s trash into another’s treasure – and he recently showed his stuff live in front of an audience at the sold-out Steel City Big Pour main event at Construction Junction. Workers at Construction Junction collected pieces of scrap metal for weeks, which Calfo transformed into one-of-a-kind pieces that are still on display on-site.

“I’m pretty much going into the project blind – I don’t really know how much of what kind of materials I’ll have to work with.  To be honest, I’m excited for the challenge,” Calfo said before the event. “Construction Junction is all about conservation and community, and that’s a message that I try to preach through my art. They do great work, and I’m honored they invited me to the Big Pour to show what I can do.”

In the end, David created four pieces out of salvage -- all while an enthusiastic crowd looked on. Even while it was raining, Calfo kept his blow torch going. This is what his efforts translated to:

Interested in buying any of these pieces? Contact us today!

The Big Pour live event comes on the heels of the Crest Hardware Art Show in Brooklyn, which showcased eight pieces of Calfo’s work during the month-long event. As the only Pittsburgh artist invited to the show, Calfo represented the Steel City with art made entirely from locally salvaged materials. Earlier this summer, Calfo created an interactive piece for the Three Rivers ArtsFest that was a big hit with the crowd. He’s been invited back to all three shows next year (the Steel City Big Pour included).

“So much of what people throw away is actually completely usable, it might just be best used to serve a different purpose,” Calfo said. “I’ve turned discarded railroad spikes into gorgeous coffee tables and dancing figurines. It’s amazing what you can come up with when your first thought isn’t to throw the stuff away.”


Steel City Art Meets the Big Apple 

For the last few months, David Calfo has been working on getting his salvage art into more shows and galleries. He hit paydirt earlier in June by scoring an invite to the Three Rivers Arts Festival, and he was subsequently invited to take his art on the road to the Crest Hardware Art Show in Brooklyn, which averages around 4,000 visitors a day. Calfo was able to get eight pieces into the show -- including "Every Key," a piece made entirely of discarded metal keys arranged in the shape of a heart on a pedestal.

Calfo is also showing several photographs taken around Pittsburgh, illustrating the fact that he's one of the city's most versatile artists. All of the art at the Crest Hardware Art Show has to be either made out of or inspired by hardware, and it's received a ton of media attention. Here's what people are saying about the show Calfo's featured in:

  • Named one the top "Cool Free Events" in the city by Time Out New York
  • "The Crest Show has gained increasing stature as an important showcase for emerging breakout artists and is now considered a stepping-stone to acclaimed group shows," The Wall Street Journal

After making the drive from Pittsburgh to Brooklyn and setting up his pieces on display, Calfo decided to mingle with the crowd a bit - and there was quite a crowd. The feedback on his work was all positive, and Calfo hopes to leverage the publicity from this show to gain entry into others. The Crest Hardware Art Show runs through July 31st, and proceeds go to The City Reliquary Museum and Civic Organization.


Interactive Artwork in 180 Minutes 

On June 4th, David Calfo and Darrell Kinsel were invited to participate in a rotating wall of art at Three Rivers Arts Festival (ArtsFest) in Pittsburgh. Throughout the day, a handful of artists took 180 minute turns with the wall, which they were allowed to do whatever they wanted with. The idea was to crank the work out quickly, so that the remainder of the time could be spent interacting with people interested in the artist's work.

In 45 minutes, Calfo had added old bike rims (courtesy of REI Pittsburgh), colorful fabric and a little bit of his own personality to the wall -- and everyone loved it. Little kids were spinning the wheels alongside people in their 60s, proving that you can be young at heart at any age. What better purpose for art?

Next up, Darrell Kinsel hit the wall (he's also on Twitter, in case you want to stay in touch). His art was up and running in a little over an hour, and he integrated Dave's spinning wheels into his vision. In fact, the rest of the artists woking on the wall that day kept the old bicycle rims up -- and people kept playing with them.

At the end of the day, the event was a huge success. Both David Calfo and Darrell Kinsel were invited back the following year, so keep an eye out for 'em both at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in 2012. Special thanks to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for helping to keep art alive in the city!