Big Daddy Metal Art

Part of our whirlwind tour through New Jersey this weekend had us walking from 53rd street in New York City (near Rockefeller Center) down to 4th street (near NYU) and along the way, in search of a bathroom -- a theme that would repeat itself many times throughout our epic journey -- we landed in Bryant Park. The sign welcoming visitors to the park informed us that while the park allowed blankets on the "great lawn", plastic tarps were prohibited. A rather peculiar disclosure since a complete circumnavigation and bisection of the park revealed not one solitary blade of grass, let alone anything approaching a lawn. As it turns out, the great lawn is but a fantastic mystery. I digress, as usual...

That didn't mean the diversion into this park wasn't a welcome respite from our beating of feet in the downtown direction. Oh no! Not only were the public bathrooms in the park meticulously maintained and, dare I say, pleasantly aromatic (a theme that would certainly not repeat itself during the day) but the dozens of gift shops and kiosks had many interesting items on display. One such shop sold metal art. You've likely seen them before -- pieces of art resembling dogs or cats or snowmen figures comprised of hundreds of tiny pieces of scrap metal ripped from a junkyard.

Although the highlight of this particular shop was a 7-foot tall Darth Vader that weighed 800 pounds and cost $7,000, what caught my eye most was much smaller and staring from a shelf in the window. At first I refused to believe it was real.

"Is that a Big Daddy?" I said aloud to nobody in particular.

I couldn't believe that mixed in with all of the Star Wars and Aliens figurines would be a Big Daddy. It's just too new. Too niche.

Kristin said she believed it was in fact one of Bioshock's Big Daddies. We went into the tiny shop and found another Big Daddy, albeit a smaller one, on a different shelf near a lamp. It had to be a Big Daddy! What other character has a diving bell, a large tank on its back and massive guns for arms? The guy manning the shop confirmed that it was in fact a Big Daddy. His friend makes the sculptures and was a big fan of Bioshock.

Who isn't?

I really liked the statue but when I went to pick it up and realized it weighed about 12 pounds, I put it right down and was set to leave. There was no way I was going to carry that thing around the city all day.

Kristin would have none of that. "Just get it. You loved that game and you wrote the strategy guide for it. It would look awesome on your desk."

She had a point, but I was still unsure I wanted to splurge for it.

Then she offered to carry it for me, if I was too tired. Mockery is a powerful tool in our relationship and it works well.

Naturally, if I was going to get one of them I would want the larger of the two, but that wasn't going to happen. The larger Big Daddy weighed 30 pounds and cost $300. No thanks, the smaller statue would have to suffice. And I did carry him all day and then through the airport on Sunday and back home to where he now sits on my desk.

I'm not one for action figures or dolls on my desk, but I do enjoy looking at the detail in this Big Daddy. Here's a photo of him near my mouse and keyboard for scale.

You can check out the shop I bought the Big Daddy from at The website shows many of their creations but don't expect to find a Big Daddy on their site just yet. That said, I may be convinced to part with mine for the right price. Hint, hint.

Update: I just noticed that the business card I took from the shop contains a description of the process on it. The sculptures are recycled motorcycle parts and other scrap metal. They're ARC-welded piece by piece and polished with a wire brush before being coated with lacquer.

1 comment:

Brad Gallaway said...

Looks pretty sweet. Interesting that you came across it... outside of the Halo 3 phenomenon, Bioshock seems like it's generated the most penetration and awareness of any game in recent memory with the "not usually into games" crowd. your statue, case in point. BTW, does it smell like engine oil? ; )