Copper in the Arts

October 2010

Modern Abstract Decor: Melding Modern Art and Science

By Ashley Morris

Barren Season Barren Season

Photograph courtesy of Nicholas Yust

Nicholas Yust has his metal art bent down to a science. And that's just the way this engineer likes it.

"My inspiration for entering into metal art itself is in studying the scientific fundamentals - the thermal and chemical properties of metal, the scientific elements and how they react to metal," says Yust. "On the art side, of course, it's not as controlled, but I understand the physical nature of things and what's going on with different chemicals to create those colors."

The Cincinnati native started out in oil pastels while a student at University of Cincinnati's School of Design Art Architecture and Planning, but after two years, grew bored of the medium.

"I always loved math and science on the side, so that began to spark my interest on the more technical side of things," says Yust. He completely switched majors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in materials engineering and a master's degree in metallurgical engineering in 2002.

Yust's passion for science, however, would soon fuse with his undying love for art after he worked on some experiments for the United States Air Force on thin, film-coated conductors and cut out patterns in aluminum.

Scientist evolved further into artist after he fell in love with a metallic triptych at the mall but couldn't afford it. So he ground out his own aluminum triptych for his apartment. "That's where it all started," says Yust. "I got a lot of positive reviews from friends and family, sold one on eBay and have gotten a good response ever since."

Reluctance Reluctance

Photograph courtesy of Nicholas Yuth

Yust grinds stainless steel, aluminum, copper and bronze, manipulates the mediums chemically or through heat-tinting and protects the abstract wall artwork or sculptures with layers of a perfected clear coat. His online company, Modern Abstract Décor, showcases more than 600 different designs that can be handcrafted to order to any size. Yust also creates custom-designed wall art for businesses.

Yust's business, needless to say, has taken off, with work sold to collections in more than 36 countries. And that's his own triptych passion, along with creativity and science: his business. "The thing that's kept me focused and interested beyond the art is the development of a small business," he says. "A lot of artists don't know how to control or expand their business. I've been able to go from making a couple pieces here and there and now I'm finishing up a 3,500-square-foot studio and gallery space to open near Cincinnati and really close to where I live."

Yust says he also appears in local shows throughout the city, as well as art expos along the East Coast, such as shows coming up in Boca Raton, Fla., in January; Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Fla., in Feb; and Manhattan in March 2011.

For the future, Yust says fans of Modern Abstract Décor can expect him to "continue to make monumental designs and gain popularity with art collectors. I also hope to build art galleries in other parts of the country."

Resources:

Modern Abstract Decor, Cincannatti, OH, (866) 533-1339

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