Rob Varela

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Rob Varela

Moby Dick, 2021

Metal - sterling silver, brass, copper, red bronze and steel, 11 x 16 x 8.5 in


On display at the Downtown Eugene Public Library

Artist Bio

My path as an artist began as a jeweler. Utilizing a combination of traditional metalsmithing and lost wax casting, I create true one-of-a-kind whimsical works of art that depict stories filled with deep emotions and characters. Every piece illustrates in some way my conceptualization of the world and the challenge and inspiration of transforming my idea or interruption to a narrative work of art.

Within the past few years I've further challenged myself to create artwork that goes beyond jewelry to tell even more elaborate stories with both wall and tabletop pieces. Each piece is created by hand using a variety of metals (sterling silver, red bronze, copper, brass and steel) while adding semiprecious stones along patina accents that create depth and character in each unique piece.

Participating in mostly fine art festivals, I've recently started submitting to exhibitions outside of the art festival world in hopes of growing and challenging myself as an emerging, self-taught artist.

Artist Statement

My 2022 Mayor’s Art Show submission, “Moby Dick”, is a great example of the progression of my work over the past several years. In 2019, I created a Moby Dick inspired ring and later that year was commissioned to do a small Moby Dick wall piece. Covid-19 and the cancellation of all art festivals allowed me to create a number of pieces that I normally would not have had time to create. As I look to transition from jewelry to strictly metal wall and tabletop pieces, the tools and methods I use to create these larger pieces are the same that I use to create my jewelry.

“Moby Dick” was created using a combination of lost wax casting and hand fabrication. The water (brass), ship hull (red bronze), whale and elephant (sterling silver) were all carved by hand and cast in metal. The remainder of the piece was fabricated from sheet metal, wire and tubing in various metals (sterling silver, steel, red bronze, copper and brass). All colors are in their natural form while using only black patina to provide accent and aging. The base of the piece was created out of steel with a black semi-gloss finish while the feet of the base were hand-fabricated out of brass and copper.

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