Thursday, July 02, 2009

Transformers world-over beware: Metal football monsters are ready to attack and block with a vengeance


Dominigue Martinez, born in France and raised in New York, is the driving force behind Rustic Steel Creations. The operation, begun in 2003, is inside (and outside) a 7,000 sq. ft. space that sits smack in the heart of Tampa's Channel District. Sometimes called the dragon guy because of the huge, incredible creature that stands guard out front of the studio on 12th Street, Martinez and his team of creative and talented metal artisans take on every challenge that's thrown at them by the art gallery crowd as well as the builder, architect and homeowner who has big, outlandish ideas for projects formed in metal. I posted a shot of the very tall and entertaining dragon on April 12th, Tampa's Channel District is filled with unexpected surprises. It really draws visitors to the otherwise quiet street. Rustic Steel is filled with positive energy and enthusiasm. I was warmly welcomed into their world and every member of the team, highly-skilled artisans all, exudes a confidence and genuine pride in their combined talents and abilities. A tour of the showroom and studio workshop reveal the wide range of client requests and projects in various stages of completion. Finely crafted railings, by the dozens, were being worked on as I walked through. Machinery and work benches were filled with works in progress and the entire shop area is filled, floor to ceiling, with metalworking machinery for cutting, drilling, welding and final fabrication and finishing. The space is a wild and eclectic collection of projects past and present, utilitarian objects and almost indescribable and unique metal artwork on the walls, hanging from the ceiling and just lounging around. The football player is just one oversize example of the fascinating steel and wrought iron creations they can bring to life. Found objects of every kind and description are reused and recycled into hard-to-believe artwork. Their philosophy, taken from their website, reads, "We believe in making something out of nothing, in turning trash into treasure. Whether we're forging cold steel into decorative art, or transforming found objects into real treasures, we return to this metaphor again and again in our endeavors." If you study football guy, the use of a shiny chrome radiator grill is obvious, but all of the other bits and pieces are harder to identify. A complete inventory of his many parts and their origin would be difficult (by this lay person) but like a scavenger hunt, the closer examination and discovery would sure be fun. Tampa is not the only city that boasts such great talent but we should be thrilled that Rustic Steel Creations is a viable business, perfectly combining our desire for sturdy steel and iron elements in our homes and offices, and our basic and innate human need for right-brain and creative stimulation in our lives. Football guy would like to offer his opinion. He says he is utilitarian. (Who's going to step up and argue with him?)

8 comments:

Vogon Poet said...

This is so original and creative, and you captured it very well.

cieldequimper said...

That's great stuff (and I'm not saying that because the man is French!) I'm a bit confused, you have two Tampa blogs????

Frank said...

I'm glad you like my post on the French-born artist. He is very talented.

Yes, I actually have three Tampa blogs: Tampa Daily Photo, Tampa Florida Photo and a third, Tampa Bay Daily Photos - all at .blogspot.com

Each one is different each day and gives you an opportunity to see and read more about Tampa then one blog site allows. If you want more of me, my thoughts, my photos and writng, please go to the other two sites. Tampa Daily Photo is my main site and was my first.

Visit the others and let me know what you think.

Steffe said...

Wow. Impressive.

Jacob said...

One more reason to visit Tampa! You're killing me, here, Frank! By the way, your photos today have been superb - very sharp, colorful and just plain fun.

I think you ought to plug this guy in and take him home...maybe you could train him to clean house?

Lois said...

Now that is really cool art!

B SQUARED said...

I'm pretty sure the Bucks could use him.

Frank said...

I appreciate the comments but all the praise belongs with football guy. He is cool and it's hard to shoot his bad side.

Cleaning house is one option, but I wonder if he could be programmed to do auto repair and detailing?? Of course on his days off from his pro football career. A transformer may have real luck with the Bucs.