SHOW LOW – What happens when you put a pipefitter, an artist and a blacksmith together? You get Mbm Artisans — Marc Simpson, Bobby Roberts and Mark McClain, environmental artisans who not only found a use for discarded motorcycle tires, but definitely have crafted a 12 foot 6 inch high sculpture of the elusive Bigfoot, on display in a Show Low neighborhood.
By trade Simpson is a pipefitter, Roberts an artist and McClain a blacksmith. They can do murals and all forms of art. Roberts painted a flower mural on a container (pod) for a company as a demo and bees flocked to the artificial flowers on the pod because they looked so real. She said the U.S. Forest Service saw it and bought that container. McClain has wood and metal carvings at Bear Wallow Antiques in Lakeside and each of them can draw and paint pretty-much anything.
As artists, they hope their environmental tire sculpture of Bigfoot will lead to commissioned art projects for them. The three say they are “just driven to make things.”
Working together on a job – the three do welding and construction, they discovered an artistic link between them. Drawing from the right side of their brains, these three have found a niche’ that addresses both an environmental concern and an outlet for their creativity. In fact, their brains have been working overtime. This project took them about three and a half weeks working six to eight hours on it every day.
Roberts had been looking at tire art and told the guys they could create something like she had been looking at online. Heading out to a local motorcycle shop, they found tires – about 400 of them – and loaded them up in their trailer and Roberts said, “Now, we are committed.”
After getting started, they realized they had to come up with a way to cut the motorcycle tires which are vastly different than car tires. Curved for leaning, they are not easily cut. They went to Harbor Freight and purchased every kind of tool you can think of to see what would work for the project. When Roberts made her own blade for cutting, Simpson and McClain came up with their own blades too and all had to be sharp – very sharp.
As they got into the project, they actually had to take Bigfoot apart to reinforce his legs with steel so he could stand erect and not be blown over. They also adjusted his stance to resemble photos they had seen of different people’s perception of the big guy. They had to use sheetrock screws to secure the rubber to the steel. According to McClain they used around 400 to 500 screws.
They wanted to finish their project in time for the Show Low 4th of July Parade, but didn’t quite make it. But, they did come up with more ideas as they continued to work on it. While at Auto Zone, Simpson casually mentioned that some taillights he saw would make good eyes for Bigfoot. They added them and used a battery, neatly hidden under the beard by the neck, where they can turn them on.
They are now on a roll. They would like to sell their Bigfoot so they can continue their tire art. Roberts has made doggie beds, chairs, planters and more with the tires. She is taking orders and making them as more people find out about these unique creations.
Their Bigfoot sits in the front yard of Roberts’ and Simpson’s home at 660 S. 11th St. in Show Low and necks are turning as they drive by. Their Bigfoot won’t blow over with the wind, and they are not concerned with someone stealing him. He can, however, be moved with heavy equipment, and they have a Bobcat they can use to do that.
“We are turning trash into treasure,” said Roberts.
Mbm Artisans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you could just do the drive by and see their Bigfoot yourself.