A wizard with a hat made from a sousaphone, a seahorse with wings made from gold Chinese fans, a lion with a body made from a padlock – these are some of the weird and wonderful metal art creations from artist Rob Igl through his business The Metalest Artworks.
Normally, June, July and August are busy seasons for Igl to show his artwork around Wisconsin including at the Agora Art Fair in Fitchburg, Midwest Fire Fest in Cambridge and the Spring Green Art Fair.
This year, COVID-19 led to the cancellation of Igl’s regular venues for exhibiting his welded metal artworks.
Igl said his welding re-purposed steel metal materials to make sculptures is a hobby.
Igl, whose day job is in facilities management at Epic Systems, held an art show at his own home on County Road A for the first time on Saturday, Aug. 29.
Edward ‘Smitty’ Smith joined as a guest artist.
Igl said most of the items he uses to make his fantasy inspired creations are donated by various people and companies, such as H.J. Pertzborn Plumbing.
“Sometimes I come home at the end of the night to find a box of materials and have no idea where it came from,” he said.
He acquires other more “unique or ornate” items at antique stores or auctions.
“Common stuff like pulleys and gears accumulates fast, other stuff like old farm equipment is harder to get, but better quality,” he said.
After a slow couple months in spring at the beginning of the pandemic, he started receiving custom orders in June, which helped push him toward the idea of a private home show.
He first got his start fashioning sculptures when his wife needed a hammock stand and the one he built for her looked like a Viking boat. He decided it needed dragon head to accompany it, which resulted in his first piece – a seven-foot dragon.
“I have found my niche in taking an everyday item and seeing its potential through the sculpting process,” he said. “As an artist, I am a hobbyist at heart, by which my work cannot be determined from my play.”