Park City High School Junior Zane DeKoff stands by his sheet metal work of art "Voyager" that won the People’s Choice Award for the Summit
Park City High School Junior Zane DeKoff stands by his sheet metal work of art "Voyager" that won the People's Choice Award for the Summit County Public Art Advisory Board's Artscape. (Photo by Deborah DeKoff)
When Zane DeKoff started welding a sheet metal rendition of a paper airplane a couple of years ago, he had no idea that his work, called "Voyager," would win the 2014 Summit County Public Art Advisory Board's Artscape People's Choice Award.

But it did.

Last week, Coalville City announced it will purchase the Park City High School junior's sculpture for $1,250 and include it in its permanent outdoor art collection.

The work, crafted from a 16-gauge sheet of metal fastened to a pole, was voted on by Summit County residents online and with paper ballots during the past couple of months.

DeKoff, 16, said he was taken aback when he got a voicemail from Artscape Chairwoman Lola Beatlebrox.

"I had to listen to the message three times to make sure I heard everything right," he said during an interview with The Park Record. "I was with my friend and we were heading down to the DMV to get his driver's permit test done."

DeKoff checked his messages and listened to what Beatlebrox said.

"I was kind of awestricken when I first heard it, and I was like, 'Hold on. Hold on. I have to hear this again,'" he said. "I played it over and over again. It was really cool."

"Voyager" was one of the first projects he did after he decided to work as a welding sculptor.

The idea came to him while he participated in the Kimball Art Center's Young Artist's Academy (YAA) program, led by then Education Director Jenny Diersen.


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"I was in class and Jenny told us about an upcoming project she wanted us to do," DeKoff said. "It had to do with folding paper and origami, and asked us to make something.

"I didn't now how to make anything out of paper but an airplane," he said. "After I folded it, I though how cool it would be to do something like that with metal."

It so happened the DeKoff had purchased his welding equipment.

"Initially I kind of wanted do a small sculpture and started working on it in YAA," he said.

Zane DeKoff in action. (Photo by Deborah DeKoff)
Zane DeKoff in action. (Photo by Deborah DeKoff)
"Then I heard about the Wasatch Back Student Art Show that had the theme 'Around the World' and I chose a paper airplane shape because kids around the world have made paper planes, which represent fun and childhood and are so easily recognizable."

DeKoff's first metal airplane is currently on display at Flight Boutique on Main Street. It was his second that he entered into the Artscape contest.

"I heard about the contest through Lola and that led me to becoming an apprentice with her husband Zaphod," DeKoff said. "That was really cool, because I do what he does with the welding, but he has been doing it way longer than I have and it was pretty cool to learn from him."

He entered the contest not to win anything, but to get his name and craft into the public eye.

"It's exciting that I won, but it wasn't part of the thinking when I entered," DeKoff said. "I just wanted to enter the contest to get myself noticed as a new welder, because I was really new to the whole thing."

The artist, who also is a sculptor and photographer, said he was attracted to welding through YAA.

"It seemed like a strong and physical art form," DeKoff said. "You work with metal, you work with fire and you use your hands to mold and shape things. I have taken several wood shop classes and have enjoyed working with my hands."

After assessing his different art styles and mediums, DeKoff said he enjoys welding the most.

"I know it sounds cliché, but the reason I got into it was because it is so fun," he said. "I get the most kick out of it and I enjoy it."

Winning the People's Choice Award at Artscape is just one of the art-related excitements that has found its way to DeKoff. The day he was notified of winning the Artscape competition, he was invited to show his work at the Dreamathon exhibit in Salt Lake City from May 19 to May 24.

The works of more than 150 artists that depict the power of dreams will be on display at the old Granite High School, 3305 S. 500 East.

"It was a good day." DeKoff said. "I got a call from Lola and my mom told me this guy wanted so show my work in Salt Lake.

"I'm still contemplating about what I'm going to do," he said. "I am going to check out the space to see where my piece will be shown, so hopefully that will help me get a better idea of what I will do."

In addition to Dreamathon, DeKoff's works will be seen at Park Silly Sunday Market this summer.

"I will be with my mom, showing some of my smaller pieces," he said. "But that's all that's going on right now."

For more information about the Summit County Public Art Advisory Board and Artscape, visit www.summitcounty.org/publicart , or see accompanying story titled "Artscape submission deadline is Monday, May 5." For more information about Zane DeKoff, visit www.inzanewelding.com.