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About Steve Kowats

Steve started his professional career at age 18 working as a welder fabricator in the Portland, Oregon shipyards. He moved on to a job fabricating and welding for Union Pacific Railroad and then on to his ultimate career, in the Sheet Metal trade.  He retired from the trade in 2019 after working the final 12 years as a teacher trainer. 

When not working in his studio you will likely find Steve on his mountain bike exploring the national scenic area around his Hood River, Oregon home in the Columbia River Gorge. He finds inspiration in nature and his work reflects it. Creating pieces that make people ask themselves “is that metal or wood?” “is that a leaf or copper?” 

Working with metal and welding make up a great deal of his identity and as it turns out that may have been fate. Steve’s last name was changed, probably at Ellis Island, when his great grandfather landed there from Hungary. His family name in the old country is Kovach. “Ko” means metal and “vach” means smith “Metal Smith” in his grandfather’s native language. So, it seems he was destined to be a metal craftsman. 

Throughout his career he worked to exacting specifications and blueprints. The logical side of the brain if you will. While he was very good at his craft, he has always found it much easier to use the creative side of his brain. He is now applying his creativity with the knowledge he has gained from decades of working with metals of all types.

His art is primarily created from found and scrapped objects. He loves coming up with an idea for a project and then figuring out how to create the shapes and features he has in mind from objects he has on hand in his studio. Often as most artists will tell you he finds that the piece takes on a life of its own and tells him what it needs and where it needs it. 

Steve creates for satisfaction, joy and for the process itself. When people appreciate his work it sparks and encourages him.  

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