Most Viewed Stories
Horseshoes turned into work of art
Randy Gray is an artist.
A charcoal pencil, kneaded eraser, sketchbook kind of artist? No way.
Rather, Gray’s artistry involves horseshoes, a reliable welding machine and a wild imagination.
You see, the 58-year-old local man creates creatures — some real, one imagined — by welding together hundreds, sometimes thousands, of the U-shaped pieces of metal.
He’s already completed sculptures of three lizards and a tortoise. Under way on the west end of his yard is a dragon, which he said will be able to blow fire at the push of a button once he finishes the sculpture and gets the propane tank and the igniter system all set up.
“If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right,” Gray said.
From the looks of it, all of his projects have been done right.
The biggest of the three lizards, a 21-footer named Inquisitor, took 233 labor hours and more than 2,000 horseshoes to complete.
Propped up on Inquisitor’s back is a whiptail lizard, and standing off to the side of the two is a western fence lizard named Jewels, each of which took another 132 hours to bring to fruition.
All three of the lizards have Civil War canon balls for eyes. Their mouths are made out of half-inch pipes that are hammered out and shaped.
“I’ve always enjoyed art,” said Gray, who began welding when he was 14 years old.
Gray said a couple of friendly lizards in his yard gave him the idea for the unique formation.
When he got home from different fishing excursions, Gray said he and his wife, Janice, would feed the bait — which included crickets and mealworms — to the lizards.
Eventually, one of the lizards was taking the bait from Janice’s hand. Not only that, but if the lizard wasn’t getting the amount of food it wanted, Gray said it would stomp its feet on the bench on which Janice was sitting.
“He was a brave little guy,” Gray said. “They’re funny to watch.”
Standing near the reptile trio is Lucky, a tortoise and Gray’s first creation that took 100 labor hours to complete.
And, of course, his most recent brainchild is a dragon that already has 312 labor hours and 2,080 horseshoes put into it. He said it will take at least another year to complete.
“As soon as I get this one finished, I’m sending it off to Barbra Streisand for her new castle,” Gray jokingly said.
Ideally, Gray said he would like to sell some of his creations. Until he finds an interested buyer, he will continue welding and let his creative juices flow.
Which is nothing new to the part owner of Gray’s Air Conditioning.
Gray has built everything at his home — from the rock patio with the coy pond to the home itself — except for a small steel building on the property. His mailbox at the end of his driveway is held up by a cactus made out of, yes, horseshoes.
“My father always told me, ‘You can do anything you want to do. Just get started.’”
It looks like Gray has heeded his father’s words quite well.