The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Baggett displays unique metal art on TR Campus

By Andrea Conley/tr news editor

Richard Baggett, Untitled
Mackenzie Ashton/The Collegian

A crowd of roughly 130 students, faculty, administrators and community members spent a recent Saturday morning admiring an exhibit of ornate sculptures on display in the Trinity River Campus gallery.

Organic Metal, a collection of works by artist/blacksmith/sculptor Richard Baggett, opened on Feb. 20 to an appreciative and diverse audience.  As small children scampered about eating fruit and cookies from the catered brunch, a number of TCC students spoke to one another in hushed tones, admiring the unique art pieces while Baggett’s grandparents beamed with pride.

Sporting a full beard, a tousled mane of shoulder-length blond hair and a fringed leather jacket, Baggett pointed out a rather large, lifelike rendering of a potted plant and talked about his creative process.

“I think it took me about a month and a half to do this piece,” he said. “In fact, it was one of the first pieces for the collection.”

Baggett explained the technical term applied to his particular work as free-form forging. When asked about the source of his inspiration, he had a ready answer.

“Organic things. I love Mother Nature. I love things that are alive … and to be able to take steel and give something that has no life to it, and heat it to a point where it lets go of that coldness and you are allowed to shape it, that’s what inspires me,” he said.

Baggett also said he has no formal training in his craft but has been an artist in various media for at least 20 years and has been creating the iron sculptures in Organic Metal for seven years.

His advice for students and others who want to create: “Find what you love. And then go find somebody who does that and ask them lots of questions. Ask them questions until they run you out of their shop. And then they will let you come back because they know you care about their work.”

Psychology major Alejandro Soto was impressed with the exhibit.

“It’s something different from what I’ve ever seen before, it’s nice,” he said. Pointing to a nearby sculpture, Soto said, “It’s pretty realistic.  I didn’t know you could do that with metal.”

Humanities dean Cheryl Roberts said the opening had been scheduled for the previous weekend but was postponed because of the heavy snowfall.

She said she was pleased with the event.

“We’re just delighted to be able to bring an artist of Richard’s caliber to the campus, and we’re delighted with the turnout,” she said.

Angel Fernandez, TR art appreciation instructor, agreed.

“We are very happy to have Richard Baggett’s work here.  It’s something completely different than what people — students in particular — are used to seeing,” Fernandez said. “He is essentially utilizing the blacksmith technique to work these pieces, so it is great exposure for our students. Our gallery is a great extension of our classroom as well. It’s a good support for those art appreciation classes that we have, which is where we draw a lot of our majors from.”

Fernandez said his students had voiced their approval with expressions like “cool,” ”awesome” and “fantastic.”

David Blair, curator of the TR East Fork Gallery, thanked the attendees, the artist and individuals who had loaned works from their personal collections, as well as TR President Tahita Fulkerson and other administrators for their support of the event.

Blair noted that in the near future, many of Baggett’s larger works, some weighing hundreds of pounds each, will be displayed on the TR grounds.

The exhibit can be viewed on campus through April 3.

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