Mother Earth as Adam Weiss' MuseMar 01, 2022 09:59AM ● By Megan Fabry
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
A small but mighty flame ignites in Adam Weiss’ workshop. Thousands of sparks dance around his feet as his newest metal artwork comes to life.
Weiss began his journey of creating in metal at the University of Nebraska at Omaha while pursuing a degree in art education. He got a job at a shop working with plaster molds and grinding bronze railings, and honed his skills with classes in painting, drawing, and sculpting.
At 19, the Omaha native and Creighton Prep grad was encouraged to participate in his first show, Rockbrook Village Art Fair. He sold 35 pieces and became engrossed in the creative world. Two decades later, he makes a living traveling the country and selling his work while finding inspiration on his excursions.
“I mostly identify with nature-inspired art,” Weiss said. “Abstract forms are a lot of fun to see what people envision the painting to be. Someone sees a waterfall, another a space shot of Earth, and another sees a grouping of trees.”
Weiss primarily creates and sells wall art and garden art for the home, but his true passion lies in sculpting. In 2010, two years after graduating from UNO, he displayed his first signature piece: a 12-foot-tall sandhill crane with a 13-foot wingspan at UNO’s Mammel Hall.
“Being able to put a huge statement piece at the place [where] I got my college degree makes it my favorite piece,” Weiss said.
Since then, he’s created hundreds of pieces of custom art and thousands of paintings, garden art, and jewelry. At one art fair in 2021, he sold 500 works. While he’s confident in his abilities, he said it’s been a long journey to perfect his metal art.
“I am self-taught, no college copper classes, no seminars, no techniques taught to me,” Weiss said. “It took me 18 years to develop my skills and designs and coloration processes.”
Weiss spends much of his time in his 1,800-square-foot shop, fabricating works and coming up with new ideas.
To create his sculptures, he uses an oxygen-acetylene torch with varying levels of heat. Patina paint infused with metal pieces gives his copper art an aged coloration. He uses 27 base chemicals to achieve the desired look. A trusty pair of pliers and a hammer allow him to bend the copper and bring his designs to life.
“Some clients have specific sizes that they like to have, certain designs or themes to work with,” Weiss said. “Most clients just give me a size and general color or design that they like. [They] like the expression of the piece designed and executed by myself, as the artist, rather than wanting things to be exact.”
Weiss knows that not every piece will go according to plan, but enjoys transforming mistakes into “happy accidents.”
“I was making a flower 12 or 13 years ago and forgot to weld the wire into the tubing for the flower pistols,” Weiss said. “I heated it for colors and dunked it in my water tank, then out popped my first ground bloom, a little sea anemone-looking wire sculpture. It has been a top three-selling garden art piece every year since.”
He recounted another mishap made good: “Once a bird pooped on a painting when it was outside being lacquered. I let it dry, ground it off with my grinder, liked how it turned out, and now people love my grind stroke paintings because of all the movement.”
Travel and nature give him ideas for new projects, but his family is his true motivation. Weiss typically works alone but said his 9-year old twins, A.J. and Adalina, are his best assistants. They help with tracing petals, pounding mushroom caps, and getting the art ready to display.
“My wife and kids inspire me to create wonderful works of art so we can enjoy our lives together, live in nature, and have family time as I work from home,” Weiss said.
It was at an art show that his wife, Lisa, first encountered Adam and became transfixed by his work.
“I met his art first and fell in love with it and said, ‘I need to meet the artist,’” recalled Lisa, whom Weiss married in 2011.
Weiss is honored to have his work embraced by so many, near and far.
“I have always been happy that people like what I do enough to pay me for it and hang it on their walls, put it in their gardens and upon their shelves,” Weiss said. “It keeps me making new designs and expanding my processes.”
Visit adamweissart.com to view more of Weiss’ work.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2022 issue of Omaha Home. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.