Piano Sculpture Series

This series explores deconstructed pianos - a way to interpret the many facets of the structure and sound of music. The journey of leaning how to dismantle pianos has been fascinating and has given me a heightened respect for the artistry and craftsmanship of building a piano. The harp of a piano is the heavy metal element that holds the strings and the immense pressure when strings are stretched and tuned. In most pieces I utilize the harp (all very unique in their sculptural shape), the keys and the action board where the hammers and many moving parts live. Each work is lit with backlight, and in the case of Sagrada Sonata, with neon and LED lights as well. 

Reclaimed glass was used to create the clear panes, and custom stained glass was created for the Sagrada Sonata work.

These pieces are ideal for a foyer in a concert hall, a personal music room, or any space that enables them to breathe and fill the room with visual music (suited for indoor placements). All lighting can be turned on or off with ease. The photos and videos demonstrate the diverse looks that can be achieved with front and/or backlight. 

The unique, three dimensional sculptures are conversation pieces and will enliven any environment - classical to contemporary. The works can be shipped and I will personally install them in their new homes.

All pieces below are for sale. Please inquire for prices. 


(63” T x 28” D x 56” W)

Highlighted by a purple neon circle over the largest round opening in the harp, this sculpture is playful and alluring. The deep blue backlight gives the piece a dramatic silhouette. It can take on many different looks with front and back light, in daylight and at night.


(73” T x 20” D x 32” W)

Constructed with the action board and free moving hammers, and the keys of a piano on a triangular metal base, Alegro is upbeat and embodies movement. The hammers are all able to be positioned in never-ending positions, creating fascinating visual patterns. Though delicate, the hammers all move to touch and will hold their positions, making this work very interactive. Backlit in purple, Alegro offers a very striking look of dramatic silhouette when only the backlight is used.

Sagrada Sonata

(6' T x 29” D x 55” W)

This is the largest of the piano series, constructed with a grand piano harp featuring an unusual convex eagle emblem in the metal, which is highlighted with tiny LED lights. The custom stained glass panes were inspired by the magnificent stained glass windows in the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. Backlit with an extensive pattern of deep blue lighting and clusters of LED lights, This impressive sculpture morphs into multiple, colorful looks, dictated by light. 

Like the Sagrada Familia, it celebrates light with vibrant and joyful colors, and the spiritual nature of music.

Ideal for a concert hall, or a large music conservatory or library. 

Pablo’s Piano

(69” T x 51 1/8 W x 23” D)

This is the first of my piano sculptures. The genesis of this piece is one of great serendipity and was due to the generosity and great timing of good friends. The story begins in New York City in September of 2016. I stay with my dear friends Jeannie, Pimm and Lila Fox in their apartment across the street from MoMa. I became an avid fan of the art in MoMa and that Fall there was a wonderful exhibit titled Picasso 3D – a fantastic collection of Picasso’s many stages of sculpture works. I was so inspired by these works I visited them many times. Picasso’s influence soaked deep into my head and soul. Upon returning to Santa Barbara, I created a Picasso inspired assemblage titled “Music Deconstructed.”  (First image on Assemblage Art Page)


Earlier this year, my friend and uber talented composer Michael Mortilla called and said he found an abandoned upright piano on the street waiting to go to the dump. He asked if I wanted any pieces and of course I said yes! He removed all of the ivory-topped keys –and the hammer board for me. Then my friend and Associate Artistic Director at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, Brian McDonald, posted a photo of the harp from their grand piano that had been dismantled and was also heading for the dump. I jumped at this opportunity and the final piece began to take shape in my head. I have directed and acted onstage at The Rubicon and it is special to have this piece of the Theatre’s history. (I met Jack Lemmon leaning on that piano!) The owner of my gym was carrying out a set of thick glass shelves to dump in October of 2017 while I was sweating on the Elliptical machine. I saved them from the dumpster. They became the glass sculpture windows in the harp. All of the elements (other than the lights and custom metal stands) are recycled and happily re-purposed.  


And with these gifts from friends and the Universe, Pablo’s Piano was born. The way Picasso deconstructed his objects fascinates me. The visual metaphors for music are endless. The way music radiates from a piano and impacts our sense of sound, our emotions and touches our soul is what this piece embodies for me.  Music has played an integral role in my life and I know it to be as crucial as air and water. It does indeed soothe the soul; it powers our light and energy that ripples into the Universe. I dedicate this piece to Marcos Garcia Lecuona whose gift of music and timeless kindred soul has deeply touched my life.


© 2018 Rod Lathim.