MARLOW HEIGHTS – For one employee at Sheehy Ford, the body shop is not only a work place—it is also a treasure chest of art supplies.
Harold Kyle, an auto body mechanic of 40 years, not only rotates tires and changes oil, but he also creates works of art by making use of old and unusable auto parts during his down time.
Kyle was first introduced to the world of cars when he was young by his father, a body man himself. As a young man, Kyle went to the Navy and when he returned from his service, Kyle and his father began working together at a body shop.
Kyle said he always knew he wanted to pursue art. Now, he incorporates it into his work.
“I used to customize cars when I first started,” Kyle said.
He then started to recycle unusable auto parts.
“I started thinking well this is pretty cool. I can make something out of it other than what it is supposed to be,” he said.
Noticing the artistic element of auto body repair, Kyle honed his skills at Prince George’s Community College where he began taking all of the art classes that he could.
Kyle’s exposure to various facets of art provides him with the flexibility to use practically anything he can get his hands on to craft a piece. Kyle said he considers his artwork simple, geometric and original. “Very seldom do I have a direct idea of where I’m going with something when I start,” he said. ”I’ve never made two pieces the same.”
He finds most of his tools in dumpsters, junkyards and places with scrap metal.
“I just love what I can find in a dumpster,” said Kyle.
Scraps of heavy metal, unused wrenches, pitch forks and metal wire are just a few materials he uses to craft his masterpieces. Kyle also incorporates recycled car parts such as broken Ford Focus headlights and rearview mirrors into his artwork—something Vince Sheehy, Sr., founder of Sheehy Auto Stores, supports.
“He [Sheehy] bought six pieces for the show room and they have pieces in the corporate headquarters,” said Kyle. “I am very fortunate I am able to both work at a job I love and create artwork during my spare time. I can’t imagine doing anything or working anywhere else.”
Kyle’s original works of art can be found at the Mattawoman Creek Art Center nestled among trees embracing autumn in Marbury, Md. Along the sidewalk to the art center stand welcoming outdoor art pieces from Kyle’s one-man art exhibit the “Heavy Metal Sculpture Invitational.” Some of his pieces can be moved gently and those made for the outdoors move gracefully in the wind.
Kyle currently has more than 40 pieces of artwork that can be viewed and purchased at the art center with prices ranging from $150 to $2,000.
The one-man show is open every Friday through Sunday until Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kyle will be in attendance on Sundays providing demonstrations and answering questions about his masterpieces.