Jack Barker's Sculptures

Jack Barker

c. 1934

333 North Merchant Street (shop is around the corner)

Essex, IL
Just six miles off Old Route 66 in Essex, Illinois, is the garage of Jack Barker, and his hundreds of welded sculptures.  This energetic and fun-loving 75-year old is one big kid.  He is having a great time bending, hammering and welding found materials into fanciful  people, animals and characters.  He happily pointed out to me that a number of the pieces are “kinetic…some art person told me that is what you call sculptures with moving parts.”  And the movements are pretty amazing, turning at different speeds, interacting with each other.

Watching him work in his shop, excitedly talking about how to get colors to pop out of the metal (heat and timing) makes you want to pick up the welding torch yourself.  But be sure to keep an eye on the flame, as when Jack gets to creating, he doesn’t always remember where it is pointed.