June 28, 2024

Bollinger Atelier: Local Fabricator Highlight

Bollinger Atelier is located in Tempe, Arizona. Photo: Bollinger Atelier

Creating public artwork often requires a collaborative effort from a diverse team. While the artist and the commissioning agent play pivotal roles, the involvement of a specialized fabricator can be used to translate the artist’s vision into reality. Bollinger Atelier, located in Tempe, serves as both an art foundry and fabricator.

Tom Bollinger acquired what is now known as Bollinger Atelier in 1997. Photo: Bollinger Atelier

Tom Bollinger acquired what is now Bollinger Atelier in 1997, though the building has been used since 1977 as an establishment operating under the name Arizona Bronze Fine Arts Foundry. Under Bollinger’s leadership, the foundry transformed into an atelier—a term that typically means an artist’s or designer’s studio or workshop. Presently, Bollinger and the team oversee art projects comprehensively, from inception to fruition, collaborating with artists globally.

At Scottsdale Public Art, a part of Scottsdale Arts, we have overseen numerous public art projects involving collaborations with Bollinger Atelier. Most recently, we celebrated the completion of one of our newest installations, Breakaway, by Tucson artist Barbara Grygutis. This dynamic sculpture occupies the underpass located at Drinkwater Boulevard, spanning the stretch between 2nd Street and Bennie Gonzales Way in Old Town Scottsdale.

Bollinger Atelier played a pivotal role in bringing this artwork to life, molding and casting the sculpture in aluminum, and working with Grygutis to ensure the molds and casts matched her artistic vision. Breakaway stretches over 600 feet, adorns both sides of the underpass, and stands as a testament to Bollinger’s craftsmanship. Bollinger Atelier not only fabricated the artwork but also meticulously assembled, cleaned, and installed it, all by the skilled hands of their artisans. Regarding the Breakaway project, Tom Bollinger said they “learned to break down the large project into more easily produced smaller sections, in effect to make a Breakaway kit. Wash, rinse, repeat—in this case for over 21 months of planning and production.”

Breakaway public artwork by Barbara Grygutis is shown here during fabrication at Bollinger Atelier. Photo: Bollinger Atelier

One of these skilled artisans—and Arizona-based artist—Nicole Davy recently installed a public artwork that was crafted at Bollinger Atelier. Desert Bloomis located on Scottsdale Road and Oak Street and is part of the latest series of temporary artworks commissioned by Scottsdale Public Art. Alongside a sculpture by Zach Valent and a mural by Shela Yu, Desert Bloom was unveiled earlier this year.

Davy is not the sole artist from Bollinger Atelier who has collaborated with Scottsdale Public Art in creating temporary artwork. A former employee of Bollinger Atelier, Daniel Mariotti, showcased his temporary artwork, Meditation on Fragmented Space (which was also fabricated at the atelier), as part of the IN FLUX program Cycle 9 in 2020. Meditation on Fragmented Space, a sculpture designed to immerse the viewer in an alternate reality, offers a unique opportunity for introspection.

In the subsequent IN FLUX program Cycle 10, artist Christopher Luper partnered with Bollinger Atelier to fabricate the sculpture Fragmented Reflection, displayed from May 2022 to April 2024 at Scottsdale Road and Roosevelt Street.

Jack Knife by Ed Mell. Photo: Scottsdale Arts

In addition to Breakaway, there are several other permanent public artworks in the collection that were produced at Bollinger Atelier:

In fabricating all these artworks over the years, Bollinger Atelier has displayed technical capabilities that include work with bronze, aluminum, resin casting, complex metal fabrication, digital enlargement, and 3D scanning. To learn more about the staff at Bollinger Atelier and the work they do, visit the atelier’s website and follow Bollinger on Facebook and Instagram @BollingerAtelier.

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