Paley-James Steel Sculptures Revealed at FABTECH

The Paley-James steel sculptures. (Photos: AISC) 

After being hidden from public view for months, two steel masterpieces created by world-renowned sculpture artist Albert Paley and West Coast Choppers founder Jesse James were revealed at FABTECH 2017 last week in Chicago’s McCormick Place.

The two steel sculptures are the result of a unique collaboration between Paley and James to each start one sculpture, switch halfway, and then finish the other’s piece. The months-long collaboration, known as the Paley-James Project, sparked from the artists’ shared love of steel and fire as well as the desire to pay it forward.

“We are honored to have these two great metal sculptors choose FABTECH to reveal their masterpieces,” said John Catalano, FABTECH show co-manager and SME senior director. “Their incredibly unique sculptures will have immense artistic value, but the altruistic value of Paley and James to benefit the future generation of metal fabricators is what makes this collaboration truly remarkable.”  

The sculptures will now be auctioned at Chicago’s Wright Auction House at noon this Friday, November 17, with proceeds supporting grants and educational opportunities for careers in metalworking trades at FABTECH’s co-sponsor organizations.

While the sculptures have been publicly hidden, the entire journey of the Paley-James Project and the sculptures’ creation has been captured on film by Rochester, New York-based WXXI. The PBS station is turning the footage into a 60-minute documentary of the project, which will air in early 2018 on PBS stations nationwide.

The Paley-James Project is sponsored by ESAB (an AISC member) and FABTECH’s five co-sponsor organizations: American Welding Society, Chemical Coaters Association International, Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, Precision Metalforming Association and SME.

To learn more about the Paley-James Project and watch segments from the documentary, visit

FABTECH 2017 hosted more than 1,700 exhibiting companies and a total of 44,935 attendees from 120 countries to celebrate manufacturing’s industrial evolution. To learn more about FABTECH 2017 and FABTECH 2018, which will be held in Atlanta, go to