David Monday has built a heavy-metal life with a weld iron and old engine parts.
Every evening after a full day of work, David Monday settles into his home studio in Plainfield, Indiana, to dig through old motor parts, tools, and scrap metal. He waits for inspiration to spark, and then he gets busy welding original works of art for customers around the world. He’s built thousands of original sculptures and gathered tens of thousands of fans, but it wasn’t long ago that he didn’t know how to weld at all. David spoke with Cuppa Wow about his discovery of metal art and his progression to this point as a respected metal artist with fans all across the globe.
What was your early introduction to art?
I remember that I was good at drawing when I was about seven years old. I actually joke that my drawing skills are still at that same seven-year-old level. I would say that was my introduction to art.
When did you first start working with metal as an art form, and what has the journey been like since then?
I have five brothers, and we were always playing with Legos, and I think that helped develop my problem-solving skills and creativity. I think both are very important when you’re creating sculptures out of metal that was never intended to be used like I use it. I like using shapes that are already present and make small changes to them to shape the metal in the way I need. I don’t lay out builds before starting. I usually see a shape that I think looks like something else, and that’s what starts the build. It could be a shape that I think looks like an animal’s head, for example. From that point I’ll sit down and build it as I go, using the head and building everything to scale off of that.
I’ve been building metal sculptures for over six years now and have built a couple thousand sculptures. I actually number them and put the build date on them and keep track of every one in a notebook in my shop. The only ones that aren’t numbered and dated are the builds that are too small or builds where I don’t want your eyes to be drawn to the etching instead of the build, like my Eternity Roses [below].
What are the biggest challenges of your work?
When I started I didn’t actually know how to weld. So I taught myself as I went. That was a big challenge in the beginning. The main challenge that I face now is finding a balance between my day job, metal art builds, and family time. You need balance. I usually knock one to two builds out every evening. I try to take one day off a week from building.
What are the greatest rewards of your work?
The rewards are much more than monetary. It blows my mind to know I have builds in every state in the U.S. and all over the world. I’ve run into fans of my work when I’ve been out and about on different occasions, and it makes me feel very proud and flattered that my builds have inspired others and touched the hearts of so many.
What’s one of your favorite pieces you’ve made, and why?
My favorite build is probably the Hammerhead Shark that I make [above]. I love how I take so many random pieces and put them together in a way that makes it look alive. No two builds of mine are exactly the same. I keep joking that I need to make one for myself, but I never have time. I have made a few builds that I’ve kept, like my very first build, and I’ve built some special builds for my wife.