Flagler Artists: Old metal becomes new art

Ron Wallace is way into metal these days.
No, not musically, speaking. Although this next statement by him rings familiar of lyrics to Van Halen’s version of the Kinks’ song, “You Really Got Me” just with a few different words.
“Metal, it has really got me right now,” Wallace told the Palm Coast Magazine in a recent phone interview. “I really like the different colors and variation that happen when metal is burned with a torch. I am really immersed in metal now.”
He isn’t kidding.
His garage turned art studio at his Palm Coast home has all kinds of metal as its occupants. It is a testament to the adage that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. These discarded metal pieces Wallace has rescued from abandonment alongside the road and often a refuse pile await his creative attention. Once selected for transformation from its current existence as a charred barbecue grill or an old hot water tank or a car fender, these metal pieces are destined for a new expression as parts of maybe an eagle or an elephant or fish sculpture.
“I float around collecting junk driving my old pickup truck just picking up stuff that gets my interest,” he said.
He does buy a lot of flat sheet stainless steel. It works well to cut out fish shapes, he said.
Home Sweet Palm Coast Home
Like most other folks recently making Palm Coast home, Wallace too has an amusing story regarding how that happened for him.
“My wife and I were driving around in our RV visiting other parts of the county. We traveled all over. We loved New Orleans but could not live there. California, no way. Tennessee was pretty but that wasn’t it either,” Wallace said of the adventures he and his better half had after retiring from owning a hair salon in Bethesda, Maryland.
“So, after having a crazy night drinking too much gin, I thought, what about Florida. A friend said to me, ‘go to Palm Coast in Florida.’ So, we had two days left on our trip then and so we went. After kicking the tires a bit and acting like peeping toms checking out houses on our own, we said we need to get a realtor. We looked at 20 houses and the last one we saw is the one we bought.”
He welcomes visitors to his garage gallery. One just must catch up with him on his website to set an appointment.
For now, probably for the rest of his metal-cutting life, Wallace’s artwork is a diversion to occupy his retirement.
“I don’t love doing the art. I like it,” he said, noting that he never wants his artwork to become a job. “I don’t really know what I am trying to accomplish except that it gives me an outlet and gives me something to do which I like and keeps me out of the bars and off the streets. I call it a labor of fun.”
You can learn more about Ron Wallace and see many examples of his artwork on his website at www.ronwallacestudios.com.
— Amy Armstrong