William ChapinMetal Sculpture
William Chapin attended the University of Virginia, graduating with a degree in Architecture and
a minor in sculpture. He spent a year at Oxford, followed by a summer spent observing the
work of Michelangelo Buonarroti throughout Italy. He was elected President of the American
Institute of Architects, during which time he travelled around the world extensively, which gave
him the opportunity to visit all the great art venues of Europe and Asia.
While architecture has been my main focus over the years, art has always been at my elbow.
After all, architecture is design with practical restraints, and sculpture is design with virtually no
restraints, but in the end, both are art, so I can claim to have been a lifelong artist, with both
buildings and objects as my products.
I find welded steel to be the most dramatic and flexible of mediums. It’s strength, plasticity,
permanence, and scalelessness, lets steel sculptors transform into the third dimension anything
their minds may conjure. Working with torches and high pressure flammable gasses and highvoltage
electricity and molten metal at 2000º +, provides continuous stimulating drama, to say
the least. As much as I enjoy architecture, there is nothing more fulfilling than being able to
hold in one’s hands an idea, emotion, design notion, or just a practical object, translated into the
language of steel – particularly after it has cooled off. I hope observers of my pieces glean the
same fascination I get by pursuing themes such as “against all odds”, “encounter”, “frozen
motion”, and “clocks of life”.