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David Monday (@darkmetalart)

Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with David from @darkmetalart and talk a little shop.
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Enjoy and Grind On!


Name:  David Monday

Business Name:  DaRk Metal Art

Location: Plainfield, IN

Socials: IG:  @darkmetalart   FB: DaRk Metal Art   TikTok: @darkmetalart
Specialties:  Metal Sculptures
Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
I'm a motor head. I love anything with an engine. I've had all types of motorcycles and even had a race bike for a while that I did track events with. Now I just have a scooter that I take on epic rides with friends, we go on a big ride every year that we call the ScooterBall. We've ridden Tail of the Dragon, all over Indiana and this year we rode the Ozarks. I've actually never had more fun on 2 wheels than riding with a half dozen friends at 40 mph on back country roads. After having a couple kids I decided I'd like to get some metal around me on track so I sold the race bike and bought a Mazda RX8 to build. I dropped an LS1 and a T56 in it and it's been an absolute blast of a car. Being mechanically inclined I think is a major benefit for me with my metal art and since I had so many of the tools already at my disposal it was easy to get started. I got into metal art in a really strange way, I had a dream about it. At the time I had bought a motorcycle that was completely torn down and was delivered to me in milk crates. Literally everything was taken apart including the carbs. It was a 1974 Honda Cb350four. There was no way I'd ever get it back together. I had a dream that I took parts from it and built a little metal motorcycle sculpture. Definitely a weird dream considering I didn't know how to weld and other than building with legos as a kid, I wasn't a sculptor. I didn't go to school for welding, I actually have a marketing degree from IU. Something was different about this dream though, it felt very important to me. I told my wife about it in the morning and told her I didn't know why I had that dream but I was going to go to the garage and build it. I did own a flux core welder that I had bought to tack together turbo pipes and then I'd take them to someone that could actually weld to finish them up. I built the motorcycle (build #0001) and I actually still have it in my office. I posted it to social media and several friends commented on it saying nice things about it. I thought to myself, they're my friends....they're supposed to say that. Next,I built another motorcycle and it was a lot better. Then I built another and it was even better. I started selling my builds on and I started building motorcycle replicas for people. From there I've really branched out. I actually don't build motorcycles anymore but switched to build sculptures that were more career focused. I built a lot of retirement gifts and I wanted to build art for people that was difficult to find anywhere else. I build a lot of mechanic themed builds. I like using shapes that are already in the parts I use instead of building all the shapes myself. I like that people look through my builds and identify the parts used. I've now been building for almost 10 years.
What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
I'm excited to build every day. I look forward to it. Some people like sitting down and watching tv or playing video games to relax. That's what building feels like to me, it's a creative outlet.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
I'd have to say my MIG welder. It's an old Matco welder that a friend gave me after finding out I had been using an HF flux core welder. It came over to America with Christopher Columbus. I believe George Washington signed it. It's my favorite because it just works and I use it every single day. Sure, it's almost caught fire before...but that just adds a little excitement to the build process.
What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
I love building and find myself often saying "this is my favorite build", but I'd have to say my Tool Box Tractor builds are my absolute favorite. I take an old, patina'd and worn out tool box and cut it up to use as body work for the tractor. I love thinking about what this tool box has helped fix, that it may have helped a family put food on the table and now I'll use it to create a unique cool build that will be admired for years to come.
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
I'm doing it, building metal art. You can't build art wrong, it's art. I build it how I see it in my head, it may be different than how someone else see's it in their head but that's okay. I find that people fall in love with the style of art and everyone's style is different.
What BA product is your favorite and why?
The 4.5 inch flap discs are great! I can't believe how long they last and I use them in every single build. It's one of the things I have in the shop that I can not run out of because I won't be able to finish the build if I do.
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
Again, I'd have to say the flap discs. I've had other flap discs lose flaps and that's not something you want to happen. I've never had an issue with BA's products.
What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
I don't have any tricks but I'm all ears. :)
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
I hope this doesn't sound bad but honestly, I don't want to collaborate with anyone. I like building what I build and while working together could be fun it also means you're going to have to agree on a design that neither of us love. There's so many great and talented artists out there and I don't want them to have to compromise for my style either. Well, maybe Tom Patsis from Cold Hard Art. He's a great guy, amazing artist and his goofy ass lives just up the road.
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
Try things. Do as much as you can while you're young to figure out what you're good at and what you're truly passionate about. I feel like we're all really good at something but there's a lot of people that never find out what that is because they don't try something new. Another thing is it takes time, so much time. You won't be Michelangelo starting out, you'll get better and you'll learn something new with every build. Don't copy people and call it inspiration. Build your own builds with your own ideas.
What are your future plans for your shop?
I stream live on Tiktok on most Sundays. I've got some ideas that would make it unlike any "art" streamer that I've ever seen, so some rearranging of the shop and adding some new software and hardware would be key.


A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, David! Love the original bike sculpture builds that came from real bikes giving them new life. It's also pretty surreal that you had a dream about metal sculpting and then just dove right in because I've had a dream about it in a similar fashion but just pushed it aside to try later. I need to stop slacking and give it a try myself!
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