Painted steel, 2000
Strzelec once worked as a studio assistant for a sculptor doing steel sculpture work. This challenging job required working within the confines of a large rectangular three-dimensional steel format and using pipes and supports within this space. Strzelec found this to be restrictive, both in work and in form, almost like he was stuck inside. A byproduct of the sculptures was these lengths of steel that he began to craft for his own art. Jungle references tightness and frustration from the boundaries he was working in. It is also playfully linear, with people seeing the title Jungle as a reference to a jungle gym. The artist’s first works in this style were small and handheld; he later scaled them to this grander size.
This piece appeared on the Karl Stirner Arts Trail from July 2017 until 2022. Strzelec also created Jack and Jill, another sculpture formerly on the arts trail.
A native of Chicago, Strzelec now lives and works in Carversville, Pennsylvania. He likes to work on a scale that is comfortable for his stature. Rather than laboring on oversized pieces, he feels more connected to the creative process this way, seeing his process as an extension of himself.