The website for Veer Off Industrial Designs features a gallery of creations by concrete artist Trevor Osburn. The photos show the basic look of Osburn’s finished products, but they don’t do justice to the skill and imaginative touches of his craftsmanship.
“They way the light hits them, plays off the metal or glass — you can’t get that in a picture,” Osburn said. “It doesn’t show the movement you get when a piece catches the light just right.”
To display his work in a truly eye-catching way, Osburn recently opened a showroom in downtown Kalispell on First Avenue East, next to Bias Brewing. He converted a building last used for a massage business into V.O.I.D., a space designed to entice customers into commissioning a personal piece or purchasing a one-of-a-kind table or wall hanging.
Each of his concrete creations is studded with new or salvaged glass, copper or other industrial materials, and Osburn seals the surfaces to a glossy finish.
One of his common designs features glass circles that deceptively appear as indents on the smooth concrete surfaces.
“One thing everyone does is poke the bubbles,” he said. “They look concave, but they’re not.”
His style ranges from abstract clusters of colorful dots to rustic images of a fly-fishing fly. He has also created a concrete form that follows the contours of the Montana state map, into which he embeds a colorful and intricately detailed American Indian themed pattern.
Osburn grew up in the Flathead Valley, and many of his showroom products feature Montana themes.
“Concrete is an industrial material, so I wanted to bring a Montana touch,” he said.
A close inspection of many of Osburn’s pieces reveals their depth. Inserts supplied by glass blower Hunter Linstead may be filled with spirals or layers of color.
Osburn works in traditional river-rock aggregate-style concrete as well as glass fiber reinforced concrete, which he called a “game changer” for its acceptance of color, lighter weight and flexibility.
His showroom pieces includes coffee and end tables, finished with sturdy wood legs and supports, bar tops and wall art. Osburn’s professional mainstay is in commissioned items, such as high-end countertops for kitchens or bathrooms.
He also creates custom furniture such as the monolithic concrete bench for Tate Interiors in Whitefish, into which he incorporated the company logo. His shop space is currently consumed by a breakfast nook inset for a private home that features a glass mosaic portraying the insignia of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division.
OSBURN HAS worked in the construction industry, mostly on custom home projects, throughout most of his adult life. He became adept at building with high-end materials, and grew to like the look of artisan-style concrete.
His construction career was interrupted by an accident on a job near Whitefish Lake in 2013, when his knee was crushed between two vehicles on an icy slope. During a long recovery period that involved two surgeries, he investigated the possibilities of concrete as an art form.
“I’m not the first person to put something into concrete, but I saw a more aesthetic application,” he said. “Once I had the chance and the time, I started trying to get more creative.”
His initial forays involved a lot of recycled glass.
“I had family and friends save beer bottles, wine bottles, mayonnaise jars. I would crush and break them into different sized pieces, integrate them into the mix. It was very random.”
He started his endeavor in a shop off Rose Crossing that didn’t have indoor drainage. He could pour the concrete inside, but then had to wait for summer to bring it outside for wet grinding.
After about a year, he moved to a shop in Evergreen on Ash Road, which provided him with shop space, an office and a place to stock some pieces, but lacked a good display area.
His new space, by contrast, has the feel of an art gallery and offers the chance that pedestrians will be intrigued when walking by the large front windows of V.O.I.D.
And having a brewery next door doesn’t hurt in generating foot traffic.
“There’s so much potential,” Osburn said of the downtown area. “It’s getting better for art, and getting a little livelier. Bias is a good draw.”
For now, the V.O.I.D. showroom, which also features metal sculptures by Peg Ganley and blown glass pieces by Linstead, does not have regular hours of operation. Osburn’s workspace is on site so he is readily available for appointments.
For contact numbers and more information, visit veeroffdesigns.com
Business reporter Heidi Gaiser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org