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Published August 01 2013

ND man’s passion: ‘It’s a labor of love’

HORACE, N.D. - Brent Hansen doesn’t go to an art supply store to get the materials to create his works.

He’s more likely to get what he’s looking for at thrift stores, garage sales or the curb during cleanup week.

“Just wherever,” said the 49-year-old Horace resident.

Hansen’s chosen medium is metal, which he bends and cuts and welds to form his various creations.

“I love working with metal. That’s my passion,” Hansen said. “I like the smell. I like getting dirty. I like all that.”

For one project, Hansen made a tank, incorporating a military helmet someone brought to him. Another sculpture features a cowboy made of horseshoes (with a round, metal washer for a hat), roping a metal creature while sitting on a fence of four nails. He’s made vehicles and motorcycles. And he’s done

stylized sculptures of

athletes in motion like a basketball player

dunking the ball through the basket and hockey players duking it out on the ice.

“It’s a labor of love,” Hansen said.

Hansen puts his

personality into the pieces, and he says he builds things that he would want in his own home.

“My art definitely has my taste to it,” he said.

He doesn’t know what a sculpture will look like when he starts making it. The details fall into place as he creates the art. Sometimes he puts a piece in place, decides he doesn’t like it, and takes it back off.

“This is stuff that even as I’m making it, I don’t know what the outcome is going to be,” he said.

Hansen says the work is therapy for him. He said he was injured when hundreds of points of steel fell on him at work years ago, and that he lives with constant pain.

“I’m always hurting,” he said. “It just never goes away.”

But the metal work takes his mind off of the pain. And it also allows him to give back to the community, which he says he can’t do in ways that he used to before the injury.

He’s donated sculptures, including two that were sold in a February auction benefiting longtime basketball referee and ShareHouse CEO Bill Lopez. Lopez died in May after battling bladder cancer for more than a year.

Diane Krile, of rural Hitterdal, Minn., was one of the lead coordinators for the benefit. She grew up with Hansen and approached him about making a donation for the benefit. She noted his creativity and his ability to “make something out of nothing and make it beautiful.”

“It’s not something that you can walk into a store and find,” she said of his work. “It’s not something that’s mass-produced.”

To inquire about purchasing work by Hansen, go to Facebook and search “Welding by Brent.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734