Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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April 9, 2013

Sculptor looks to trash for his treasures

TIFTON, Ga. —  

An odd sight grabs the attention of an unsuspecting driver as he enjoys the warm, spring afternoon, with his arm out the dark car’s window. He slowly passes a modest home and sees a tall yard sculpture that appears to be ready to attack.

“I call him ‘Alien’,” said John Davis, a 19-year-old, self-taught sculptor who creates yard art from metal that most people would throw away. Welding was alien to him until a teacher provided the missing spark three years ago that ignited Davis’ latent creativity.

That was all he needed, except for a steady supply of scrap metal.

The freedom made a lasting, artistic impression on Davis, who has a quick, broad smile and muscular arms.

“I’ve never had art lessons,” he said.

The talent comes as naturally as sparks from a welding rod touching a piece of metal. He particularly likes to take random parts that look ready for the scrap heap and see how they fit.

“Once I get going, it takes about two to three days to finish a piece,” Davis said.

He creates in the family’s small garage, on a recycled metal table.

A rusted chain hangs from the ceiling to hold his larger pieces during construction, with boxes of metal pieces sitting below, ready to take on a new life assignment. Nothing goes to waste.

A small army of family and friends stay on the lookout for thrown-away metal that John might use.

Even with a ceiling chain to hold works in progress, the small one-car garage isn’t anywhere large enough for his bigger creations.

“Sometimes I have to go outside, take the welder with me and work where I have more room,” said Davis, who often creates works 8 feet tall.

He enjoys teasing viewers with artistic puns.

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