Local welder and metal artist part of creative team in Sturgis, SD

ARAB, Ala. - Welding is in David Hammock’s blood. “When I was in high school, I started going to technical school, learned out to weld,” he said standing in his shop at his home in Arab. David comes from a family of welders. “I build ornamental iron, fences, handrails, gates,” he said, “a little bit of everything.” And he means everything.

“When I first learned to put two pieces of metal together, I started making stuff,” he told me. But he’s also an artist. “I've always been kind of artistic,” he said with a smile, “I used to like to draw and build things and kind of right off the bat.”

His pieces sell for anywhere from $25 to $800. He finds treasure in others junk. “I go to a lot of scrapyards and I might see a piece and it might look like something and then I'll put it together or I’ll have the inspiration and I'll go look for the piece,” he said.

And no two pieces are alike. “A shovel's a shovel but they're all different,” he said with a grin. David’s art can be enjoyed inside or outdoors. Several years ago, he created a piece to honor cancer survivors in Guntersville.

David’s talent took him to Sturgis, South Dakota for two and a half months this summer. He teamed up with two other artists from California to create two works for the owner of the Full Throttle Saloon. “It was a massive undertaking,” David said, “We basically took items we found there, and we had another scrapyard we could check into, so we built both sculptures out of found objects.”

The team gelled at the right time. “I kinda had experience in one end of the fabrication,” David Hammock said, “They had different experiences so we just kinda came together and after about a week, we got to where we could all work together.”

Mike Ballard wanted to honor the memory of his friends, legendary motorcycle builders Jesse Rooke and Indian Larry. Both died in accidents. The pieces were larger than life. Each bike was about 35 feet long. The one of Indian Larry standing on his bike was close to 40 feet tall.

The trio built them in pieces and used a small crane to lift them into place for welding. They’re in front of the saloon and right next to a busy road for bikers and visitors to enjoy. They’re also among David’s all-time favorite pieces. “One of the motorcycles out there was probably the most challenging and creative,” he said, “and once we got it up on the pole, it was amazing.”

If you’d like to see some of David’s work, he’s one of the artists every year at the Monte Sano Arts Festival. That’s September 21-22 this year. And he’ll be at the River Clay Fine Arts Festival in downtown Decatur, September 28-29. You can also check his work out on his Facebook pages, Hammock Iron Works, Clucked Up Metal Art or Rebel Iron Stands.

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