It is when Shea Slager is cleaning up his workshop that inspiration usually strikes.
He will see some scrap metal lying on the floor, that didn’t make it into the last project, and think to himself, “that looks like a motorhome” and then set about trying to make a chainsaw, or a tractor, or whatever sparks his imagination.
Needless to say, he rarely finishes cleaning.
|Shea Slager is a new artist in Revelstoke how welds sculptures out of scrap metal. (Submitted)|
Slager first started collecting the scrap materials he uses for his creations at his job with a natural gas company in Calgary. He still has a friend with a bucket under his work table where he throws scraps that cannot be reused, in the traditional sense anyway.
Slager’s upcoming exhibition at the Revelstoke Fine Arts Centre later this year, is called No Path is Set. He said he likes the idea that he takes parts that were made for a specific purpose and uses them for something completely different.
Slager had been working with the same company since he finished high school. In 2018, eight years earlier than planned, Slager retired to pursue art.
As a kid he recalls be interested in art, drawing mostly, however, his dad was critical of artists, which lead Slager to a life-long career in trades.
He didn’t get back into creating art until his five year old daughter asked him to make her a robot.
“That’s how it started,” he said.
|Tin Man was Shea Slager’s first sculpture welded with scrap metal. (Submitted)|
It was then that he started collecting scraps.
Slager started out making fairly large sculptures that are difficult to move due to their weight and complexity. That is where his artist moniker ITSHEAVY came from: a garage full of art that isn’t going anywhere quickly and a play on words. (You can find his first name hidden in the middle of the moniker).
Since moving his family to Revelstoke, though he still travels back to Calgary to work on a home renovation, Slager has been experimenting with smaller pieces that are both easier to display at Art First and easier for a buyer to take home.
Though the pressure of supporting his family is hanging over his head, Slager said he is committed.
“I am not going to abandon the art thing,” he said. “I think eventually it will come around.”
You can find Slager’s art at Art First or online at itsheavy.com