On Turbulence & Flow

The Fly Fishing Inspired Artwork of Val Kropiwnicki

Born in Connecticut on January 18, 1964, Val Kropiwnicki spent his childhood enjoying both artistic and outdoor activities, including fly fishing, hunting, making stained-glass artworks, playing guitar, building scale car models, dipping candles, and tying flies. He initially went to college at Southampton College, Long Island University to study marine geology, but eventually ended up transferring to the fine arts program.

After graduating with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1986, Val moved back to Connecticut, where he held jobs as a steel fabricator, TIG welder, and architectural aluminum estimator, all while making sculptures and building furniture in his spare time. In 2000, just after Val began his teaching career, a coworker reintroduced him to tying and fly fishing.

Currently a full-time public high school art teacher in New England, covering subjects like drawing, jewelry design, an art foundation course, and sculpture, he is still as devoted to his own art as ever. According to Val,

“My present quest of making artistic flies that combine metal and feathers brings the first monumental change in my adult artistic life, and it is not so much a change as it is a return to my creative beginnings. The interesting and ironic thing is that these flies look like the drawings and sculpture I made 25 years ago when I first became an artist and that they, too, are anything but monumental in size. My art has come full circle though it has diminished in scale, and it absolutely feels like 25 years of steel work has been the warm up to this present venture. These days, I work in steel with no self-imposed limitations on form or function. I paint, I draw and I make artistic salmon flies. Everything that I make is one of a kind…

“Sculpture is art, it is flies, it is real and the notion that my flies might just be fishable or in even the most remote way related to things fishing is just icing on the cake for me. When I first became an artist my passion was art. Then over time my art became a habit and my passions changed to fly fishing. Now I am swimming in a river in which my art, my addiction, and my passion have merged, and it’s about time.”

Video walk through with Val on opening day!