MEET THE ARTISTS: Charlotte and Ben Zink, Berthoud CO
Welcome back to our Artist Spotlight series, where we feature our contemporary makers and also share backgrounds on the creators of our vintage and collectors' items.
When we made the decision to build TennisAlley, our days turned into a series of decisions, one after another after another! One of the quickest of these for Bob and me was our signage. We're in a residential neighborhood, so it had to be attractive and a quick read: the timeless artistry of tennis (a Rolex Wimbledon ad, of sorts). The solution? A steel two-dimensional tennis sculpture of tennis players by our friends at Zink Metal Art in Berthoud. We never entertained another idea. Fortunately, even though tennis isn't in their wheelhouse, they said Yes!
We'd met the Zinks years ago when our kids were all little and both of our families were navigating the curveballs of combining careers and start-up home-based businesses and family life, back before Zoom meetings and social media marketing simplified a thing or two (maybe, sort of).
It was the early 2000s, and Charlotte and Ben had already started Zink Metal Art and were active members of Trimble Court Artisans Cooperative, as was I. And I remember thinking that the metal figures they made—Charlotte would sketch her fabulous designs onto a sheet of steel with chalk or soap, as I recall, and Ben would do the cutting and finishing—seemed to exude the same centered and joyful spirit of their creators. Their art always made us smile.
This wonderful husband and wife collaboration has flourished. Charlotte, originally from New Orleans, describes their work life this way: "We are a husband and wife team collaborating and creating marvelous metal works for home and garden. Based in Berthoud, we have been fabricating our own designs as well as custom work, logos and signage for the past 21 years."
That's a humble description, so I'll brag on them a little. In addition to making works "for home and garden," the Zinks have been commissioned to created dozens of public installations for cities throughout Colorado—from a Sculpture on the Square in Fort Collins to the Washington Heights Arts Center in Lakewood to Sky Ridge Hospital in Denver. Even while they were busy raising two terrific kids, they stayed active in the arts community. So we were pretty delighted that they agreed to create our signage and logo.
Driving up the alley behind our house on Eisenhower Boulevard in Loveland, this is how you'll know you've arrived at TennisAlley! Introducing Pistol Pete and Artisan Andi, our near life-size steel sculptures, custom made for us by Zink Metal Art.
For Bob, it was important that Pistol Pete demonstrate good technique! Just look at that service motion. And I wanted Artisan Andi to be more free-spirited and ready for post-match happy hour; one version of her actually had a martini glass in hand. We just love her whimsical style—that hair!—and his Loveland-esque shirt. Working with Charlotte on these designs was the positive an experience we'd imagined. Mostly we love how she captured the spirit of TennisAlley Pro Shop & Gallery, a place for people who are obsessive about the art of tennis. And Ben worked to make sure the oxidizing was even, as these pieces will continue to weather together over time. This was a bit of a challenge, partly because we ordered the pieces almost a year apart, as the fluctuating price of steel had us put completion of the signage on hold for a bit (Artisan Andi almost never saw the light of day). Fortunately, the Zinks had some good connections. Didn't they do an excellent job?!
You'll also start to see Pete 'n Andi on more items in our shop, like these stainless steel insulated wine tumblers from NoCo Metal Prints.
Check out this sweet interview, Conversations with Charlotte Zink, which recently ran in VoyageDenver, to hear from this inspiring human directly. And of course visit their website at ZinkMetalArt.com to see photos of their metal and clay sculptures, jewelry, and paintings. Stay up to date by following them on Facebook: Zink Metal Art to find out about shows and the next open house at their studio gallery in their charming 125-year-old home in downtown Berthoud.
We appreciate you, Charlotte and Ben!