January 30, 2012

The Art of VK Steelworks

Stumbling into the vast sea of "stuff" that is the Somerset, NJ Fly Fishing Show yesterday, one of the first things that immediately caught my eye was a stunning wall sculpture of a wet fly made of steel, looking aggressively medieval.  Actually, I think my reaction was, "damn, that's crazy..." as I went in for a closer look.

the Blackmore.610.VKS

Once in the booth, Matt (aka Functioning Fishaholic, who made the trip to NJ with me) & I were greeted by Val Kropiwnicki of VK Steelworks, who eagerly showed off this beautiful piece of art, in addition to many other smaller flies that were pretty much beyond anything I had seen before.  I'm not exactly sure what you'd call them, perhaps fly tying with a touch of fantasy...but do I know you would not want to get stuck by the "Circus Circus" during an errant backcast!!!

the Circus Circus.710.NP
(would love to see Val's interpretation of a Sakasa Kebari)

Honestly, I could go on, but anything I write will not really give this work justice.  It's so visual in nature, I'm going to stop with the adjectives now.  Instead, please click HERE and then click on the "Play Slideshow" link in the middle of the page.  Believe me, it's worth the few minutes it takes to view.

And if that piques your interest, please also check out the full VK Steelworks website.  

In a show filled with amazing fly tiers, $3,000+ bamboo fly rods, and beautifully machined reels, Val's work really stood out from the rest as something distinctively unique.  It was my honor to see these flies in person, and a great way to start the day at the Fly Fishing Show.


  1. I saw Vals work in a small gallery at a local community college here in Norwich, Ct a couple of years ago. Truly outstanding works of art!


  2. I just checked his slide show. Thanks for sharing that visual feast. What do you call that category, "Ceremonial Battle Flies"?

  3. Troutrageous...I completely agree with you. I was there on Sat. and it was amazing to see his art. After visiting with Daniel at Tenkara USA and visiting a few of the celebrity fly tiers, I would have to say that display was hard to beat.

  4. Those are amazing. I want the 'Freedive'...and several others. Ok, maybe an entire collection. Beautiful!

  5. someone should point out that barbed hooks are considered gauche in our elite ranks. ;) "could you please crimp that, sir, and make sure you leave it as a big misshapen lump on the sculpture so i can point out to everyone i did it because i am an catch and a release sporting gentlemans."

  6. one artist to another - freeking great stuff!!!! Hopefully they will be in NC show. thanks for sharing that!

  7. Those are amazing. But...they kinda remind me of the giant-sized wooden spoons everyone had in their kitchens in the 1970's. :)

  8. Sometimes you see art that just blows you away. This is one. If they are at the Pleasanton show on the 24th, I'll be sure to stop in.


  9. Incredible work that blew me away, and meeting Val was the highlight of my trip to the show.

    j.d. wagner

  10. Val's work is really special. You want to see the dude's kayak!