Rodger “Grizz” LaBrash


Rodger “GRIZZ” LaBrash
Artist Statement
For much of my subject matter, I draw inspiration from nature, forging leaves, flowers, plants, and other  types of vegetation from slabs of metal. This interesting paradox, the transformation of hard, inorganic  material into representations of nature’s most delicate creations, accounts for the subtlety and  emotional resonance in my work.

Rodger “Grizz” LaBrash is an artist/blacksmith whose artwork and profession have their roots in the  ancient trade of metal work. The essence of blacksmithing—forging metal with heat, hammer, and  anvil—has not changed since the beginning, only the tools have changed (although an anvil is basically  the same as ever). Rodger learned recently, to his delight, that he is a sixth generation blacksmith,  having had ancestors in the trade as far back as the early 19th century. This may explain why he has been  drawn to metal in all its decorative, artistic possibilities since he was a child. “It’s in my blood,” he says.

While the pieces look realistic and even evoke the calming effect of nature, there are definite hints of  the literal collision between the organic realm and industry. Many of the pieces he creates, bears  hammer marks, showing that it came from his hand and wasn’t simply rolled through a machine.

Most blacksmiths in the U.S. are hobbyists, but Rodger is a full-fledged professional, one of probably no  more than several thousand in the country. His company, Grizzly Iron, Inc., has been in operation for  more than 30 years. Initially he trained as a welder/fabricator, but commissions requiring more intricate  work came his way steadily and eventually he taught himself how to make art from metal. Rodger’s  artwork draws from the same techniques and occasionally the same figurative subject matter as his  professional work. The art, however, is usually freestanding and is more of a vehicle for self-expression.


Wild Ocotillo 72" x 42"

Large Triangle Bell w/Stand 84" x 42"w x 24"d