Man of Steel

Metal scraps get new life under Stan Smokler’s torch.

Not many people look at an old pipe and think “Picasso.” Stan Smokler does.

The sculptor, who maintains studios in New York and Kennett Square, creates art from discarded steel objects. And because Picasso was a strong influence, Smokler’s art reveals similar humor and complexity.

“There’s some wit to my work,” he says. “People can laugh about what they see, but then stop for a second to review it once more.”

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A bronze wall hanging.Smokler, an adjunct professor at Delaware College of Art and Design in Wilmington, is known for pieces large and small, including gates. His “Garden Gate,” commissioned in 2002, guards the Delaware Center for Horticulture.

There is, apparently, meaning in meaningless scraps. “My goal is to resurrect materials and give them a new life, not echo its history,” he says.

To create a moon, Smokler used refrigerator coil for its sphere, train shoes for its face, and pitchfork teeth for its hair.

Smokler is an adjunct professor at the Delaware College of Art and Design. For commissioned work, Smokler likes to get a feel for the home or the homeowner’s tastes. “I love to go to the site where the work is going to be,” he says. “I sit, contemplate and feel what the person wants within the space.”

Customers can view their commissioned works in progress. The pieces, made mostly with high-carbon steel, but also bronze and copper, can take a month to six months to complete. They range in price from $4,000 to $8,000. Gates start at $6,000.

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So don’t cast off that castoff. Smokler will recycle artfully. “I want to recreate it and give it a new existence,” he says.

Contact Smokler at or 622-8000.                 


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