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City tunes up art collection with new piece

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

Trent Leach of Rogue Art and Design Studio in Red Deer holds “Liberace,” a piece commissioned by the City of Lacombe’s art committee for the public art collection on Friday afternoon. The piece will be displayed in the upstairs foyer of the Lacombe Memorial Centre. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)

Trent Leach of Rogue Art and Design Studio in Red Deer holds “Liberace,” a piece commissioned by the City of Lacombe’s art committee for the public art collection on Friday afternoon. The piece will be displayed in the upstairs foyer of the Lacombe Memorial Centre. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)

The City of Lacombe’s latest addition to the public art collection marries the city’s arts culture with its music scene.

Trent Leach of Rogue Art and Design Studio in Red Deer is behind “Liberace,” a life-sized steel guitar with a candy apple red stained glass cover, which has now taken up residence in the Lacombe Memorial Centre’s upper foyer.

“This piece is my favourite right now,” Leach said. “It’s called Liberace just because it’s so shiny – flamboyant, almost.

“It’s an ode to music.”

Based on a 1620 Gretsche electric guitar, he estimates he spent over 100 hours working on the piece, making sure it looked as close to the real thing as possible. Approximately 150 individual steel parts and over 30 pieces of stained glass with a mirrored backing are part of the piece.

It isn’t Leach’s first musical instrument work. After switching from drawing and doodling to working with steel to create in the 3D form, he was asked to participate in the Night of Artists in Edmonton, a music-based art show.

“I was doing other art at the time, and because of the music base to the show, I decided to do instruments. Ever since, I’ve kept a whole series of instruments,” he said. “If one goes away, I add another so I always have a show of instruments.”

Over his 14-plus years working as an artist, he estimates he’s created 20-30 instrument pieces, including saxophones, trumpets, trombones and violins. He was also commissioned by Sylvan Lake to create a 1930’s-era sculpture based on the old Varsity Hall which features a full upright bass, drum kit, saxophone and trumpet. He also has works in Red Deer.

“Music lovers always gravitate towards it,” he said. “Also, the mixture of metal with glass – they both come from a molten state but they’re very different materials. The glass is so fragile and the steel is so strong that just mixing them together is intriguing.”

His own sentiments were also felt by the city’s art committee, who had originally planned to buy an existing piece, but ended up going with the idea from which “Liberace” was born.

“His art is so unique and different. Lacombe is such a musical community that it just felt right to add a musical instrument to the collection,” said Community Services Executive Assistant Maureen MacKenzie. “It looks absolutely amazing. He knocked it out of the park.”

The guitar piece will remain, at least for the foreseeable future in the LMC’s upper foyer. Several other works will also be on display for about the next month, including Leach’s new series of sculptures which feature ties made out of steel.

-abarrett@postmedia.com 



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