Metal Work – A man's Art

In Art, there is one form that is almost fundamentally within the realm of Masculinity. From the moment that a man discovered that metal could be obtained from rock, men have strived to tame and create something useful.


It has an almost mythical quality, being first rooted in mysticism. In Conan the Barbarian we are presented with the Riddle of Steel, explains the answer, “Flesh grows weak. Steel becomes brittle. But the will is indomitable.”




Metal Work – A man's Art

It is through the will that one artist has mastered the use of metal in creating his artwork. Michael Davis of Perth, Australia managed to teach himself the mystery of metalworking to create amazing masterpieces of Art.

Inspired by his love of old Sci-Fi movies and motorcycles, the classically trained artist has managed to create works that are technically challenging even for highly skilled fabricators. They are also appealing to the eye of even the most casual observer.

Metal Work – A man's Art

When I asked him why he created Art with so many various angles to view from he had this to say; “When I observe people in galleries looking at Art, a lot of people seem to spend only a few seconds looking at something and walk on to the next piece.

I want people to actually stop and spend time looking at my work, taking in every different angle or detail or working mechanism that is there, and people do. Every part has to be aesthetically pleasing and interesting to the viewer to keep them there for some time.”

How did he learn how to do this work? Do they have a version of shop classes in Australia that we here in America have all but forgotten?

“Yes they do teach basic metalwork in Aussie schools, but I like to obviously go much further by mixing creative Art with metal, plastics, copper, and brass. I’m self-taught at metalwork, but my thought is simple if you can imagine it you can make it.”


Photo: “Stingray” on display at a local High-End Men’s Store.

There is a reason for this. The pieces contain many different focal points, points of interest if you will.

He is an artist first, having had some formal education at Claremont School of Fine Art, he left and began painting. I think, however, that discovering his talent in this new form for him has been one of the best moves he could have made. I asked him about his previous work.


“In 1994 had my first solo art exhibition, consisting of 34 paintings and 2 metal sculptures. It was a sell-out. Up to this point I was painting in egg tempered, acrylics, pastels and lead /colored pencil.


My second solo exhibition was in 1998 and again 34 paintings and 2 metal sculptures, also a sell-out. Also had done 100 band posters and approx. 90 blackboards in cafes etc. around the southwest of Western Australia all whist working fulltime.


It was at this point that I started to think about metal as a medium for Art.”


Metal Work – A man's Art
Metal Work – A man's Art

Each piece takes several hundreds of hours to make. Why so much time and effort for one piece?

“They are all made from scratch, I create, find or buy items that I’m looking for and manipulate every piece into its position, its very time consuming when there is no plan or drawings, just an idea. All from the imagination.
To me, Art is being able to think, outside the box and putting the thoughts into reality. Its fun and I love doing it.”

The worst question for any artist is to ask, Where do you get your ideas from? But I’m a guy, so I asked anyway.

“Because pretty much everything I look at, I see from a design or creative point of view, and then I imagine all the options that some random piece of material could become. Or sometimes I just have an idea and follow through and make it, see where it leads.”

Metal Work – A man's Art

Already, his work has slowly leaked out of Australia into the rest of the world. He has this to say;

“I’m so thrilled that a gentleman from NYC has commissioned a piece from me, it’s been on the go now for 5 months, and he should have it for Xmas.”

Because each piece is unique and one of a kind exclusive, and because of the sheer technical difficulty in accomplishing what is a considerable amount of finishing, why does he do it? Ultimately, what does Mr. Davis hope all his efforts taking him?

“My other dream is to work in the film industry, making machines like I do. Maybe one day all this may happen, but at the moment it is all just dreams, and I have a lot of machines to make

Hypothetically, if someone came and offered me a job or to make something significant, the answer has to be yes. I wouldn’t waste a once in a lifetime opportunity like that. If it meant I had to move my family to do it, for the right money and exposure, I would.

My best dream is to be able to make and sell these worldwide and to give up my full-time job. My other hope is to work in the film industry, making machines like I do. Maybe one day all this may happen, but at the moment it’s all just dreams, and I have a lot of machines to make.

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