John Barber is a metal sculptor working in carbon steel. He has a degree in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University, and he’s worked with metal his entire career. He has made his living in the field of museum exhibit work over the last 30 years working as exhibit artist, designer, shop supervisor, and project manager His clients have included several natural history museums, zoos, aquariums, and children’s museums.
Around Houston, Texas, you can see John’s work at the Museum of Natural Science. In 1974, he designed and built the armature for the huge Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton now residing in the new Dino Hall. He is also the official “dino duster,” coming in quarterly to dust all the dinosaurs in the hall using a specially-modified air compressor to clean the delicate pieces.
In 2006 he spent the year as an artist-in-residence at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, perfecting his fish sculptures and educating the public about his love for craft.
John has maintained his own studio where he has produced custom-made furniture, fixtures, museum mounts, and, of course, his fish sculptures. He taught a basic welding class for over 17 years in which more than 3,500 students have learned basic welding techniques. The metal fish are made from sheet metal that is plasma-cut, hammered, and welded. Glass eyes are applied, and the fish is completed with artist acrylics or a patina finish.
John Barber Studios was located in Houston for over 20 years, and in April 2018 moved to Richmond, Virginia.