Gary Brown sees potential in every piece of scrap metal
Gary Brown has welded parts for the some of the U.S. military’s most famous fighter jets and bombers. But his real passion is reclaiming scrap metal and discarded hardware to create colorful works of metal art.
“I worked at Jedco in Michigan for about four-and-a-half years. We welded parts for the B-52 bomber, Joint Strike Fighter, the Raptor and also ground-based generators and turbines,” Brown explains. “When we weren’t busy, they wouldn’t send us home, they’d just say ‘practice,’ so we started making all different kinds of stuff.”
Brown discovered his artistic ability in high school and credits a high school teacher with inspiring the passion that he puts into every piece of Gary Brown Metal Art.
“I had a really, really good art teacher and he kind of showed me the way,” Brown said. “He made me understand about putting passion into your art.”
For Brown, there is potential in every piece of scrap metal. For example, his giraffes have horns made from old mixer beaters and a mane of large finishing nails. Then there’s a bird’s beak that once was an air horn and a sailboat created from a pick mattock.
“I can look at parts and say, ‘that part right there is going to be a good shoulder or part of a head or a leg,’” Brown said. “I have this color TV in my head, and I can just turn it on and see a picture, then just build it from there.”
Brown began by selling his metal art at the Anderson Jockey Lot. Then one day about seven years ago, he stopped at McCall’s Produce Market in Honea Path.
“I thought I’d take a chance,” Brown said, “Mike (McCall) looked at all of it and said, ‘Yeah, I’ll buy all this stuff.’ That’s how it started about seven years ago and we’ve been family ever since.”
For those driving past McCall’s on E. Greer Street in Honea Path, Brown’s work is hard to miss. From a giant giraffe looking over the fence to flowers lining the greenhouse, there’s a yard full of Gary Brown Metal Art, along with several pieces inside. And if you don’t see what you’re looking for at McCall’s, Brown accepts commissioned jobs.
“I enjoy seeing the smiles on people’s faces when I bring them something that they ordered or wanted and it’s above their expectation,” Brown said.
You’ll find a wide selection of Gary Brown Metal Art at McCall’s Produce Market, 306 E. Greer Street in Honea Path. To see more of Brown’s work, visit Gary Brown Metal Art on Facebook.