Horror art cast in metal

June 27, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Artist Scott Cawood draws from the images of gargoyles and grotesques to create his nightmarish sculptures of masks.

Using scrap pieces of metal and objects he forges from his background as a blacksmith, Cawood creates horrifying images from mythology and his own mind.

The Antietam Furnace, Md., artist has an exhibit at A II A, an art gallery located just outside of Shepherdstown on W.Va. 230.


Cawood, 43, worked as a blacksmith, and years ago began creating the metal masks to give to friends as presents.

Soon they were telling him that he should do it for a living. He had bounced around from a variety of jobs, from the U.S. Coast Guard in New Orleans, to building log cabins to theatrical lighting in Washington, D.C.

But his friends encouraged him to turn to art after seeing the decorative, metal masks he created as a blacksmith.

Now he does, working out of a studio behind his log house in southern Washington County. His masks range in price from $400 to $1,700.

He has drawn inspiration for his work from gargoyles, Apache ceremonial masks and his own imagination.

When he was growing up, he was always fascinated by junkyards. To him, the metal pieces took on ghastly forms and shapes in his mind.

He also likes the idea of putting to use something thrown away.

For "Voodoo on the Radio," he has sculpted figures on top of a stack of old car radios.

He also draws from Greek mythology. A set of three metal masks represent the Furies, three beaked creatures that would peck the flesh off the accursed.

He also has "The Snipe," based on his boyish fears as a Boy Scout when the troop would be camping and he would be told to watch out for snipes in the woods.

"I always had this picture in my mind of this shaped beak, this nasty looking thing," Cawood said.

Viciously shaped pitchforks and other pointed objects often are used in his work.

He frequently prowls junkyards, carrying a bucket to collect scrap items. Sometimes his friends or past customers will bring him a piece of metal that they thought was interesting that he could use.

"When I do this ... hours just fly by. It's just totally fun," Cawood said.

The Herald-Mail Articles