Would you work on anything, nonstop for three years?
Gary Monaco just did. He welded a bison entirely out of salvaged metal.
“I was at the mercy with whatever a construction guy or somebody threw away,” he said.
Monaco said he’s been an artist for all of his life. As a child, he started with the chalkboard, paper and the kitchen tabletop.
“Everything got abused by a pencil or whatever I could make a mark with,” he said.
The bison sculpture started life as a drawing, as all his projects do. But “the frustration of it being trapped on a piece of paper” is why he’s a sculptor.
“It needs to become 3-D and become part of an environment,” he said.
He’ll be 65 soon, and age is catching up to him.
“There were times when I thought I had to stop doing this,” he said. “But without it, I’m empty.”
Art is a shared experience, he said. Sure, artists feel their own pride in their work, but feedback and other’s enjoyment is what he feels keeps them going.
“As an artist, you’re never satisfied,” he said. “Next, will be another bison. More realistic, maybe larger in size. We’ll see where the journey goes.”
Monaco lost count of how many metal hairs he twisted onto that bison with his own hands. He quit counting after 10,000 of them.
After all that work, Monaco's not even keeping his piece. The bison will be on display in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Gary will drive it up there later this week.
Watch Gary's full story, shot by visual producer Cody Broadway, in the video above.