This week on Vivography I’ve got some product/art photography to share!
I discovered this really cool local artist, Gino Torelli of Spike Art, this past winter, who makes figurines out of railroad spikes and other sweet pieces using donated and scrap steel. After promising to come back and interview him, I let a few months slip by and then I saw his business card in my purse a couple weeks ago and I headed over to the Rust Belt Market the next day.
And good thing I did, because I found out it was his second-to-last weekend at RBM!
First things first, he’s an artist out of the countryside of Michigan who uses railroad spikes because he believes they look like people. And they do! They look like little people with hats on, which is awesome for scenes where the figurines are doing things like golfing.
If I’m reading my scratchy notes correctly, the first figurine he ever made was a weight lifter, for his son. Afterward, he made a football player and began numbering his pieces. Each and every piece, whether it’s a spike figurine or an awesome R2D2, is numbered and signed. If it’s not numbered or signed, it’s not an original Spike Art piece.
Gino is big on humor, and many of his figurines definitely evoke this quality. He’s got pieces with the spikes on toilets, hookers on 8 mile, and even a pretty awesome Walking Dead themed collection. But even from the first time we spoke, he was very clear that he’s into humor and not perversion. He has declined to make figurines that would be deemed perverted, stating that he doesn’t want to put his name to something that would be distasteful. It’s all about tasteful humor at Spike Art. Strippers and 8 mile hookers is as raunchy as it gets!
And speaking about special pieces, aside from the railroad spike figurines, he also does special bigger pieces. My personal favorites are the R2D2’s and a particular life-size violin he made from a thick steel door. I also recall seeing the twin towers, a stingray, a guitar, and a Spartan in a chariot. Gino also told me he makes model trains that sell pretty well to train collectors, but he prefers to make and sell the spike figurines because they’re less time to make and sell quicker than specialty pieces, which are always going to be more time to make and more expensive. As he put it, it takes a special customer to walk in and say “yes, I want that $800 piece of steel.”
So if you’re ever in the Michigan area and attending any kind of art show or fair, make sure you look for Spike Art! There are some truly incredible pieces to check out.
P.S. I need that R2D2 and violin.
P.P.S. If you want to get in touch with Gino or check out his website, click here: spikeartinc.com
P.P.P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Instagram @lovelikeangels for more photography and my Society6 shop for watercolor art.