Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

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Heavy Metal

As a Detroit-area sculpture student, David Petrakovitz sold his first piece to Mrs. Edsel Ford.

Al Parker - April 14th, 2014  


It was an auspicious beginning to an artistic life revolving around metals, gears, wheels, and spheres.

Petrakovitz’s engineering of steel, bronze, and aluminum is a nod to his passion for Michigan’s industrial history; many of his hulking works are found statewide, including the Michigan Legacy Art Park at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville.

Growing up in the Motor City during the heyday of the automotive industry, Petrakovitz developed an avid interest in industrial machinery. He says he sees the raw beauty in their functions and their forms. He features gears, wheels and levers prominently in his creations.

Petrakovitz works most days in his roomy, well-lit workshop in rural Wexford County. He is constantly adding to the assortment of more than a dozen metal creations that dot his acreage southeast of Cadillac.

Petrakovitz is currently working on a public sculpture for Elk Rapids. He recently put down his welding equipment and took a few minutes to share his story with the Northern Express.

HOW I GOT STARTED

I was born in Detroit and started out studying engineering in college, but took a sculpture class and it changed the course of my studies and career. I kind of fell in love with it. The first sale I ever made was as a student, I sold a small sculpture to Mrs. Edsel Ford.

I went to the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit and studied ceramics. I met my wife (painter Joyce Petrakovitz) there. We started a ceramics studio together after graduation and made our living as potters for the next 25 years.

We sold our clay pieces at art fairs and in galleries across the country. In 1998 we retired from the traveling art fair life. Joyce took up painting and I returned to being a sculptor.

THE STORY BEHIND MY ART, MY INSPIRATION

Most of my inspiration comes from what I knew growing up in Detroit. It was the automotive industry. The automotive, mechanical themes. I enjoy spending time exploring in old barns, scrap and junkyards looking for weathered and rusted old metal parts that retain a hint of their original use.

Sometimes I employ that original function, other times I simply allude to it, such as wheels that do not move or gears that do not turn. Or I just ignore the original use and let the part stand on its own strength and uniqueness.

WORK I’M MOST PROUD OF

I’ve done a series of small abstract works in wax that I’m proud of. Some of those have been cast into bronze.

YOU WON’T BELIEVE

I biked almost 2,500 miles in 2013. I rode the White Pine trail from Cadillac to Grand Rapids and that was fun. I usually try to ride 25 to 30 miles a day.

MY FAVORITE ARTIST

Like my art has evolved, so has my favorite sculptor. If I had to choose now, I’d say Richard Hunt is a favorite. Rodin and Michaelangelo are up there too. Among other artists I admire are Jerry Gates and Howard and Nancy Crisp.

ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ARTISTS

You have to have a real passion for it, the attitude that you have to do this. If you have that drive, then go do it.

MY WORK CAN BE SEEN/PURCHASED

Since most of my sculpture is large in scale, it is easier to make sales from my home. So if anyone is interested in seeing what I have, they should contact me directly at petroart@charter.net or go to Gallery Fifty in Traverse City. There are some smaller sculptures there.

 
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