It’s often said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. For salvage artists, one man’s trash is another man’s masterpiece. Stephen Antonson and Dave Calfo are popularizing salvage art in the northeast in a big way.
As someone who’s lived in Pittsburgh through its transition from old steel town to what it is today, Dave Calfo has made it his mission to rescue these pieces of history and turn them into art that can be appreciated by all. Calfo recently headlined the Liquid Sundays art show in Pittsburgh’s South Side area. The event drew out local art fans as well as interest from New York City’s art scene. Many artists were present but Calfo’s industrial art stole the show, and he’s now in talks with several galleries in NYC and abroad interested in showcasing his work. He displayed a wide array of artwork made from a variety of salvaged materials.
At first glance, Calfo’s artwork is aesthetically pleasing and could easily be appreciated simply based on the quality, color and craftsmanship present in each, but there is a story behind every piece that he creates. To this effect, the “Hunky Rail Gang” is of special mention. Crafted from vintage molds dating back to 1924, which were salvaged from a Beaver Falls steel mill, this sculpture is a true testament to his integrity as an artist. “When you peer at the piece you can see four figures taking a break from their hard day’s work,” Calfo said.
Salvage art has recently created quite of bit of buzz in the New York area in particular. Brooklyn, for example, has seen artists like Stephen Antonson, who studied at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, receive a newfound appreciation for being able to turn what others would consider junk into art and design pieces for display. Antonson designs unique furniture and signature pieces for professional decorators and art enthusiasts alike.