Steel Artist Eric Strauss Forges Successful Art Career
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Steel Artist Eric Strauss Forges Successful Art Career

Strauss is perhaps best known locally for his horse sculpture, installed in Johns Creek, which he titled “Entwined Strength.”

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Local steel artist Eric Strauss is known for his monumental, welded sculptures. Here he is pictured in his studio with the Gibbs Gate.
Local steel artist Eric Strauss is known for his monumental, welded sculptures. Here he is pictured in his studio with the Gibbs Gate.

Eric Strauss is a powerhouse of steel, metal and fire. An accomplished artist, with many works on view around town, he grew up in Sandy Springs and attended Riverwood High School, then earned his BFA at Georgia Southern University and studied abroad in Cortona, Italy.

It was at Riverwood that Strauss started welding, back in 1978. While in business school in 1983, he was reintroduced to welding in an assembly welding class at Georgia Southern; by the end of the semester, he had switched from the business school to the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art.

In 1991, five years out of art school, Strauss held a sold-out exhibit at the noted Fay Gold Gallery in Atlanta. Sir Elton John purchased his first monumental horse sculpture in 1993. Strauss also spent a year forging a stainless steel, bronze, brass and glass memorial wall of Jerusalem for Congregation B’nai Torah; the Jewish Women’s Auxiliary commissioned another version of it for the lobby of the Jewish Tower. Several of his early sculptures are on view at the William Breman Jewish Home.

“Entwined Strength,” a 4,000-pound sculpture Strauss created from hot forged steel, is installed in Johns Creek.

“In the mid-90s, having solo exhibits in Santa Fe, N.M., influenced and changed my artistic blueprint,” Strauss recalled, “and, in 2006-2008, I had a traveling museum exhibit, consisting of 18 sculptures, with the Booth Western Art Museum. The exhibit would go on to win The Georgia Museum and Gallery Association’s top award, and my biggest achievement so far in my career. I have two monumental works in The Booth Museum’s permanent collection.

“Recently, spending the last two years forging my first public sculpture for the City of Johns Creek has truly been a highlight of my career. I immersed myself in the horse, as it was not about capitalist gains, it was to see how far I could push myself as an artist. I wanted to build a monumental work, in my pure assemblage style, with all my tooling and experience I had gained doing commissioned works during the last 15 years.”

Strauss is perhaps best known locally for his horse sculpture, installed in Johns Creek, which he titled “Entwined Strength.” Johns Creek Beautification approached Strauss, but “they had no funds, sculptural theme, just an existing sculpture pad in a roundabout,” he recalled.

Strauss is nearing the installation of this forged grapevine-inspired railing he created for the new Roo Mountain Vineyards in Ellijay, Ga.

“The horse was born from living on a horse farm for 10 years, two miles from the roundabout. I had visions for forging a steel horse using my new technique and tooling. Johns Creek was the perfect opportunity to explore my new series.”

Students from Centennial High School, under the guidance of Christopher Buechner, “photographed, videoed and documented the two-year build from the garden tour fundraiser, start-to-finish and installation. The photographs and footage will be used for a documentary on ‘Entwined Strength,’” Strauss said.

In July, Strauss will participate in the Broadmoor Galleries summer art exhibit at the historic Broadmoor Hotel.

“It will be my first gallery exhibit since 2009,” he says. “I am also preparing for my second exhibit at the Booth Western Art Museum in March 2023. My new works will be created with inspiration from various artists, musicians and world events.”

Strauss in the studio with the horse he created for Sir Elton John, circa 1993.

There’s also no shortage of commissions and new clients.

“I recently installed massive fireplace doors for my client in Miami,” Strauss said. “Carlota Estates is his five-star event facility he is building in Ellijay. I am also near the installation of Roo Mountain Vineyards, which will be one of the premier vineyards in all of North Georgia. Their vineyard is in Ellijay and is 40 feet of heavily forged grapevine-inspired railing. I have various other requests, from koi pond art bridges, fireplaces, gates and two horses to go out in front of Carlota Estates that I am designing.”

The artist is still dreaming big, even on a regional scale.

“I would love to have work in the Atlanta Botanical Garden, design public art for Chastain Park and the Buckhead area,” Strauss says. “I want to expand my regional footprint to more of a national one and secure representation and exhibits in the Southwest and Colorado, which are also heavy on my mind. One of my most important goals is to also get my new 501c nonprofit up and running. Ellijay Art and Beautification will be for bringing fine art and high-end architectural elements to North Georgia cities and parks. Placing public art would play a key role in this, too.”

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