It’s rare to find a US Army engineer who doesn’t pursue an engineering career after retirement. Well, Michael Vivona just did that; he took up what he was passionate about. And that’s metal sculpting. He describes himself on his Instagram page as “I’m an artist that welds, not the other way round!”
This 39-year-old did not plunge into sculpting immediately after leaving the army but waited till he bought his own house. This provided him with the space to pursue his craft. He has been into metal sculpting for the last five years.
Asked about his sculpting, Vivona told AwesomeByte, thus, “I’ve done commissions in the past, but I prefer to build what I want. I usually get a smaller figurine of what I want to build and scale it up from there.”
Vivona, who was raised in Long Island NY, USA, first honed his skills by using vintage tins and utensils and gradually reached his current amazing level. Today, he boasts of selling hundreds of sculptures to people around the globe.
Vivona’s work is not easy. He has to spend a major portion of his time in searching for the right metal pieces and parts. Then he has to think imaginatively of how to use them to make the object that he has thought of. Afterward, he spends hours hunched over his work table, working with his welding torch, metal cutters, and filers.
One look at Vivona’s sculptures can convince anyone of his environment-friendly approach to his art. For one, he uses recycled or discarded metal pieces that he collects from vehicle dumping yards and scrap dealers. The popularity of his works is not surprising. He creates large metal sculptures of such exquisite beauty and complexity that it both thrills and boggles the mind.
Take, for example, Vivona’s ‘Nude Man Mannequin’. This six-feet-tall tin-man with an impressive posture took him four months to complete. It has been welded completely from behind to give it a clean appearance. Although it comes with a stand, it doesn’t require one, since it’s strong enough to withstand strong winds.
Vivona’s other works also display his signature style. These include birds and animals, such as sparrow, owl, whale, and horse. Of these, his life-size horse sculpture, which he has named Phoenix, is most intriguing. He first crafted its head and patiently waited for the right parts to come by to complete it. Little wonder, it took him a total of 25 days to complete it. His ‘comical’ creations include table lamps of all shapes and sizes.
Vivona’s artwork can be seen on his website and it’s up for sale. He also has a sizeable fan following on Instagram.
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All images are used with Permission from Michael Vivona