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Heavy metal

Dion Horstmans is a hands-on artist turning steel into sculptures. There can’t be too many people using angle grinders artistically! He even reckons steel is ‘forgiving’.

RYOBI TEAM Sat, 09/09/2023 - 13:29

Tell us a little about yourself

Hi there, my name is Dion Horstmans, I’m a full time practicing artist. I mostly work with steel. My practice is hands on, I draw…more like block shapes, I find it quicker to make manageable models if I need to scale up. The beautiful thing about steel, you make a mistake…cut it out, re weld, grind and file it smooth. For its hardness its incredibly forgiving. I started working with steel in 1998….on The Matrix. It was a really fast learning curve.

What were some of your first projects/steps/iterations?

I was asked to design the front façade of a bar, so I cut a tonne of MDF up, small triangles and facetted cubes, I then stuck them to small boards, they were like tiles for a better description. From there I created a lineal cube or cell which I reproduced and then connected randomly like a cellular structure in long lines… my first steel sculptures. At the same time I still had half a foot in the entertainment industry, so I was working on product launches and TVC’s….problem solving. There’s a lot of growth in the unknown.

Dion Horstman using angle grinder on metal artwork in workshop

From where do you get your inspiration?

That’s a reacuring question, inspiration is the love child of passion and discipline. Inspiration can be taken from everything….look around.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Hands down my two daughters…Juna and Zaza

Over your journey, what have you learnt about yourself and your passion?

I’m vulnerable, I’ve learnt to be thick skinned, to take criticism, and to also take compliments. It has been a 54 year walk so far, I’ve tripped, lost a bit of skin, got up and sometimes jumped straight into a wall. Hell of a ride this thing called life.

Dion positions his piece against a black wall

What is your inspiration for this piece?

Firstly I'd like to say thanks for the opportunity to work with Ryobi. I’m going to use the Ryobi name / logo as a reference point here, I’ll do some loose fast pencil drawings, plot some points then map the points. With straight lines and arc’s.

What tools do you use?

I’ll have 2x grinders on the go, one 125mm grinder set up to cut. The 100mm grinder to clean up the welds. Then I’ll go in with a die grinder and clean up before finally hand filing all the joins.

Dion sketching the design for Heavy Metal

What is the toughest part of a project like this?

The first part, thinking of what, how, where…how do I make this piece different, but not too different…then you have that light bulb moment….it might be a conversation, just as likely to wake you up at 3am.

What advice could you give others who want to pursue a similar passion?

To be honest, unless your prepared to be brave, unless your driven, unless you have discipline and your not afraid to make sacrifices ….stick to your day job. But, on the other hand if making stuff gets your heart pumping, jump in, give it everything….it’s the long game.

Dion Horstman and Barry DuBois smiling with metal work in background

What is your next goal or achievement you want to work towards?

I’m looking at property out west….2.5-3 hours south west. I want to build a studio/ home. Purpose built, a mad kitchen… multiple bbq’s. steam & ice bath. A hideaway, but also a place I can go to, reconnect with the earth, chop wood, have a fire. A place where I can problem solve on scale. In the mean time I’m making the world a better place one sculpture at a time.