Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Heavy Metal
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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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