Parsippany resident creates sculptures from common materials

Henry Simon

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany resident Henry Simon is a sculptor who creates with copper and bronze.

All of his sculptures are crafted from common materials: plumbing pipes, roofing copper, copper wire, brass, and other everyday items. I have recently started to experiment with color using glass enamel powder melted with a blowtorch.

Henry Simon was born the son of sharecroppers in Lake City, South Carolina. Because they were so poor, his father taught him and his brothers to make toys like busses, cars, and farm equipment.

They used aluminum soda cans and coat hanger wire, as well as wire from bales of hay and electrical cattle fences. Henry’s schooling came to a halt when his father became ill and he had to replace him in the fields to feed the large family. After moving to New Jersey, Henry began his career in the international moving business. He never abandoned his interest in sculpture, first teaching himself to solder and then to weld. He became interested in assembling found objects, plumbing pipes, roofing copper and brass into larger and more intricate sculptures. He started entering art shows and craft fairs.

His work sold well and some commissioned pieces have been sent as far as Germany and Poland. In 1985, Henry was commissioned to create a full sized sculpture of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that was dedicated by former Governor Thomas Kean of New Jersey and has been permanently installed in Passaic County Community College in Paterson. This event was covered by all major area newspapers including the New York Times and television news stations. Henry was interviewed in a segment of “Midday Live” with Bill Boggs, and on “Images /Imagiones” on public television.

His sculptures have been displayed throughout the area. His most recent creation, Zonora Plays Carnegie Hall. a life sized sculpture of an African American woman playing the violin was displayed at the Paterson Museum in February and March of 2007. Henry is the recipient of the Parsippany, New Jersey Mayor’s Award.

Simon said “My sculptures reflect my life. Many of them portray people and things that I remember from my childhood in the rural south. Since I have never taken an art lesson in my life, I feel that these works are really extensions of myself. I am not happy unless I am working on a sculpture and always have something in progress in my workshop. I feel that my work has steadily progressed as I have learned by trial and error new techniques and materials to incorporate into my sculptures. I have recently started to experiment with color using glass enamel powder melted with a blowtorch. My mission is to bring some visual pleasure and beauty to those that see my work and to perhaps allow them to look at the world through my eyes if only for a moment.”

One of Henry Simon’s recent sculptors