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The Paley-James Project

Jesse James of West Coast Choppers fame and world renowned sculpture artist Albert Paley used their unique styles and collaborated to make two sculptures.  Each artist started one sculpture and finished the other. The completed sculptures were unveiled at FABTECH 2017 in Chicago on November 6 and displayed throughout the show.

“When two craftsmen that truly love metal can come together in an organic way and create, expect something amazing to happen. My biggest hope for this project is to inspire people and let them know that nothing is impossible. As long as you are willing to work hard and never quit.” 

-Jesse James

Now, the sculptures will be auctioned by Wright Auction House in Chicago on November 17.   This is the ONLY time Albert Paley has collaborated with anyone…these works are truly one-of-a-kind collector’s items. There are many way to participate in this extraordinary auction: you can bid in person, via phone or the auction house app, online. For information on the auction, bidding instructions and more please visit: https://www.wright20.com/auctions/2017/11/the-paley-james-project/info.

The proceeds from the sale of the sculptures will benefit the five FABTECH cosponsors, AWS, FMA, SME, PMA and CCAI supporting grants and educational opportunities for careers in the metal working trades. Learn more about the organizations that will benefit here. The project was sponsored by ESAB and the five FABTECH cosponsors, AWS, FMA, SME, PMA and CCAI.

About the Sculptors:


Albert Paley’s most famous commission, the portal gates of the Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution at Washington D.C., was completed in 1974 just five years after he made his first piece of ironwork. Trained at Tyler School of Art as a jeweler, Paley acquired a command for working with metals exploring the inherent and natural qualities of his materials and pushing them to their full potential.


Paley’s jewelry of the 1960s and 1970s were exceptional statements of bodily ornamentation or wearable works of art that forged the way for the functional and decorative objects he would later make. Crossing the boundaries between art and craft, Paley has established himself as one of the greatest metal artists in the country. Throughout his career, he has completed several important private and public site-specific commissions; his works have been widely published and can be found in multiple major museum collections around the world.

“Both Jesse and I have worked several decades with metal and metal technology. What I do and what he does is incredibly sophisticated. In the past, people have approached me to collaborate but I never thought it was a situation that was viable. What we have established about building these two sculptures is a very unique opportunity.”

-Albert Paley


Jesse James was born in Lynwood California in 1969. Raised in Long Beach, James learned to weld at a young age working in his father’s antique shop. At twelve, his first project was restoring an old Schwinn bicycle which he promptly sold for a profit. By his freshman year of high school, James had fashioned his first motorcycle exhaust system in his mother’s garage. After an injury ended his college football career, James worked as a bodyguard for big-name musical acts including Soundgarden, Danzig and Slayer.  In the late 1980s, his focus returned to motorcycles and he studied welding and fabricating skills under legendary hot rod designers Boyd Coddington and Fay Butler. In the early 1990s, James founded West Coast Choppers and quickly gained a reputation for fashioning extraordinary and expertly built custom motorcycles. In 2002, his series Monster Garage debuted on The Discovery Channel, launching James into stardom. The following year, People magazine named him one of the sexiest men alive, although James insisted that he would “…rather be named Welder of the Year”. While his professional titles have transitioned from custom car and motorcycle builder, to producer, CEO and philanthropist, James remains a passionate craftsman and master welder intent on creating with his hands.

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