Salt and Pepper Bike Rack

Artist: John Wood
Title: Salt and Pepper Bike Rack
Installed: 2014
Materials: Cor-ten steel and stainless steel
Location: 140 Fitzmaurice Street, Wagga Wagga

John Wood’s Salt and Pepper Bike Rack drew inspiration from the long history of café culture and retail stores in Fitzmaurice Street.

In 1849 Wagga Wagga’s first store was located on this corner of Fitzmaurice and Kincaid Streets. In 1855 the man who would go on to become Wagga’s first Mayor when the town was declared a municipality in 1870, George Forsyth, purchased the site which became a grain and produce store. In the 1920s, the area which had become known as Crown Corner housed a popular fresh fruit, confectionary store and refreshment room run by Italian immigrants Samuel and Robert Picone. From the 1940s to the early 1970s the corner of Fitzmaurice and Kincaid Streets was the site of the Crown Corner Café, a popular eating place for the many stock and station agency workers in the area.

Many of the buildings along Fitzmaurice St feature elements of Art Deco architecture, and it was this design feature that inspired John, who’s creativity was fuelled by imagining the décor of the Crown Corner Café during the 1940s and 50s.

John’s design borrows from those iconic early Australian cafés; the high pressed metal ceilings, fans working overtime, faded pictures of faraway places their owners once called home, and the then unremarkable, but memorable Art Deco salt and pepper shakers.

John Wood is a practicing blacksmith, designing, making, and installing architectural and sculptural metal work since 1999.

Wood's work is a response to his regional and rural environment designing large scale works that have sense of place, belonging and soulful purpose reflecting his rural roots.

Shape and form, juxtaposing organic and geometric lines are prominent in Wood’s work. His sculptures reference the co-existence of built and natural environments, influenced by the American abstract sculptor Albert Paley and the beauty of English artist blacksmith Brian Russell, whom he trained with in 2005.

Wood has won several large scale public art commissions for public collections along with numerous private commissions.