Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

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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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