Visual Art

Merging Metal

Bob Heller creates one-of-a-kind motorcycle sculptures

Thadeus Logan |

Bob Heller may call his Bike Dreams creations "junk art collectibles," but that adjective junk only describes the materials used in construction, not the creative product. Each piece is a unique blend of skewed contortionism applied to metal, and plied into the form of motorcycles. The character of each individual work is assured because no one sculpture employs the same angles, odd oblongs, or endearing forms. "I can personally guarantee that no piece will ever be exactly alike," says Bob, obviously proud of his varied, lively bikes in an age where the norm is mass-produced uniformity. According to Bob, five to ten different metals are used in each masterpiece, from copper to lead, from zinc to aluminum, and almost entirely from scrap metal, "It's a lot about reusing and recycling, on not just a global, but a local level." And that sentiment blends right into local vendor Just Local Food's motif of environmental consciousness and community solidarity. Just Local Food has pursued a goal of sustaining the local economy through support of Chippewa Valley farmers, but it's obvious that displaying Heller's Bike Dreams, while having nothing to do with agriculture, still supports homegrown goods. While Heller hopes for further community exposure for many reasons, one main hope is the opportunity to establish local student-workshops: "Schools are hacking art classes from here to Tallahassee, and it's a shame. Everybody could do what I do, and I want to inspire students to give art, this art or any, a try."

Through August • Just Local Food • Monday-Wednesday and Friday 10am-7pm, Thursday 10am-8pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 9am-2pm • FREE • 577-5564 •