man of steel
Cape Ann sculptor Chris Williams turns metal into creatures great and small
written by dale koppel • photographed by katherine richmond
The first time someone called him a sculptor, Chris Williams was caught off-guard. After all, he had no formal art training. He had never even been to an art museum. He was a tinkerer, curious about how to take scraps of metal and turn them into figments of his imagination — the way his father, a metalworker
who owned a machine shop in Rockport, Massachusetts, did.
From his father, Williams learned not to be afraid of failure. “
Failure,” he says, “allows you to keep trying, to change course if something’s not working right.” Often that means improvising, something
Williams does with ease. When conventional tools refuse to shape
metal the way he wants, he makes them himself. Half the tools in the
27-by-27-foot studio attached to the house he shares with his wife and
two young sons in Essex, Massachusetts, he designed and fabricated.
And at 6 feet 2 inches tall and 200 pounds, Williams, 44, uses his
sculptor chris williams stands in front of the exterior bronze stair railing
(above) he created for a residence in Gloucester, Massachusetts. For a dragon
sculpture (right), he connects a 12-foot tail onto a piece of granite with what
he calls a “magic wand,” a gun that injects intense heat into small spaces.
online video of chris williams at work