Gurley artist raises metal to new art form

Alan Derrick leans more toward the 3D metal pop art as an artist.
Alan Derrick leans more toward the 3D metal pop art as an artist.

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - To watch Alan Derrick at his computer, you might think he's just browsing, but he's actually researching familiar faces.

"I get constant requests and that influences what I do. I don't do custom commissions," said Derrick.

He said that would be very expensive. Part of his style grew from working in his father's furniture and appliance store.

"One of the jobs I had was to unpack the G.E. appliances, and the back side of the washers and dryers had this black and white paint splattered on it."

It's that "splatter" technique which influences today's pieces.

Derrick started working with metal, designing large feathers. A display in his gallery shows a raw metal sheet and the progression of the feather work step by step.

Derrick no longer makes the feathers. He's morphed, like so many artists do. Instead, now his attention leans more toward the 3D metal pop art.

Once he has drawn the design on his computer, he moves to the next step.  That same image transfers to another computer.  That computer aids in cutting out the intricate pieces.

"After the parts have been cut out, it comes over here to this side of the room, where it has a template uses where the parts go. We take these standoffs," said Derrick."They're just placed on here in certain pre-determined spots, and the welder welds them on."

The pieces are taken to another room and washed.

"We fasten hangers to the back of them," said Derrick. "We bring them in here to the spray booth and this is where I splatter the paint."

He uses car paint and finds just the right mix for what he wants.

"So once we've got it all painted up, and I've left it overnight to dry. I bring the easels back into the assembly room and remove the parts."

He said the rest is easy.

"Set them up and assemble the piece. We just screw it together."

Whether it's Marley, Jagger, or even Gandhi, there seems to be something for everyone.

"I'd be comfortable continuing to do this until I can't do it anymore, but I suspect that it will change over time."

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