World-renowned sculpture artist Albert Paley and Jesse James of West Coast Choppers fame collaborate to make two sculptures.
Each artist starts one sculpture and finishes the others.
With unprecedented access to both artists, WXXI spent roughly a year chronicling the creative journeys of Paley and James as they worked to create these two different sculptures. Filming began in January of 2017 when Paley traveled to James’ studio in Austin, Texas. There, James revealed the impetus behind this project, his long-time admiration of Paley’s work.
After that meeting in Austin, the two artists returned to their studios to begin construction of their sculptures in isolation. Neither one knew what the other would do. WXXI’s camera crew visited Paley’s studio in downtown Rochester to document his work, and then returned to Austin to see James’ progress. The half-finished sculptures were then delivered to their respective studios and a new chapter of work began. Along the way, Paley and James share their techniques and explain various processes in metalwork, including the oldest form – forging.
As both artists dramatically differ in function, form, and process, WXXI captures their styles, personalities, and the way they embraced the challenges of each other’s creation. The end result was the unveiling of the sculptures at FABTECH 2017, North Americans’ largest metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing event in Chicago. Viewers will see the artists’ reactions to each other’s piece as they share their thoughts on their work and the journey. The project was more than just Jesse’s dream or an artist challenge, it was a philanthropic endeavor with proceeds from the two sculptures funding a scholarship in support of students pursuing metal work.
Production funding for Dialogue in Metal was provided by partners of FABTECH, ESAB, American Welding Society (AWS), Fabricators & Manufactures Association (FMA), Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), SME, Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI), and the Jane K. and Robert C. Stevens Fund for New Programming.