Elevating Surface Finishing to an Art Form

Elevating Surface Finishing to an Art Form

January 11, 2022

Despite being the worldwide Zinc plating expert for more than 45 years, Columbia Chemical experienced a first recently when our Zinc plating process was utilized in an art exhibit in New York. How does something like this come about? It begins in a location that represents one of the most dominant influences in the evolution of art: Italy. Located in San Giuliano Milanese, Italy, is Tecnochimica, a longtime global partner of Columbia Chemical. No stranger to providing decorative plating to the fashion world and beyond, Emanuele Grillo, Technical Manager for Tecnochimica, has been involved in another manner of bringing the world of surface finishing and the world of art together through his connection to artist Namsal Siedlecki.

Born in Greenfield, USA, in 1986, Namsal Siedlecki lives and works in Seggiano, Italy. Through a diverse range of media and processes, including 3D printing, casting, and intricate chemical treatments, Siedlecki’s work interrogates questions of transformation, change over time, and extinction. To help realize the portion of his art exhibition that would involve utilizing a galvanic process, Namsal began consulting with Emanuele to discuss the chemistry needed and test scenarios to ensure it would reflect the vision he had. Emanuele has become the “zinc art” technical expert that Namsal refers to regularly for his unique electrodeposition art questions. In addition to hosting successful art exhibitions in Italy and France, Namsal was proud to recently showcase his work in the United States. Magazzino Italian Art, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in New York and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at New York University, presented the first U.S. solo exhibition and new site-specific work by the artist. Emanuele connected Namsal and members of his team Chiara Mannarino and Thomas Huber with the home office of Columbia Chemical and President Brett Larick worked with them to provide an appropriate amount of our COLSID AP process for the show. Anodes and a rectifier were supplied by Roberto Muniz at Lune Industries. More information about the exhibition can be found below.

Namsal Siedlecki: Viandante (translation: Wayfarer) features new and recent bodies of work in a variety of media, ranging from sculpture and painting to installation. Siedlecki’s work typically explores dichotomies, such as the natural and manmade, as well as the relationship between nature, time, and human intervention. This exhibition illuminates his ongoing investigation of these concepts while taking a particular interest in themes of travel, transformation, and extinction in the artist’s practice.

As surface finishers, we know the impact of the work we do makes a difference across multiple industries and includes the science and technology behind it to deliver the critical protection needed to products used every single day around the world. We are also well familiar with something as simple as a galvanic reaction in a zinc tank. What we don’t stop to think about, however, is how the physical material loss and change involved in these galvanic reactions that we witness every day can represent something much bigger through the eyes of an artist. We are thankful to Namsal Siedlecki for making that connection through his artistic vision and to our partner, Emanuele Grillo at Tecnochimica, for bringing us together for this unique opportunity.


Pictured together at a previous art exhibition: Emanuele Grillo, Tecnochimica, (left) Artist Namsal Siedlecki (right).