"I look for objects that were destined to some mundane existence and
give them new purpose through my sculptures."
- Michael Ulman
A few months ago I was surfing the web for an image.
It had to be something unusual, a hot rod, with a touch of post apocalypse.
It needed to be just right to set the tone for an article I was writing.
Not only did I find that image, I found something else worthy of sharing!
Behold "Gone Postal", from the imagination of Michael Ulman.
Michael is an artist and sculptor living in Massachusetts.
His passion to create was instilled at a young age while helping his father weld
scraps of metal into sculptures twice his size.
He also has an obsession for motorcycles, both in his life and his work.
Indeed, prior to Gone Postal most of his creations were two wheeled.
But as it is written, there is a time and a season for everything!
If you look carefully at this hot rod, you will see the shape of a US Mailbox, or at least part of one.
When I initially saw the photos the scale of this sculpture was not apparent to me.
I presumed the hot rod was probably a couple of feet long. Way off.
It is actually five feet long.
The actual dimensions are 60 X 32 x 17 inches.
With rat rods all the rage now days it seems that Gone Postal captures
both the essence of a hot rod and possibly some of the philosophy of a rat rod.
The natural patina of the body and frame elements fit well with the rat rod philosophy.
Even more fitting is the idea of utilizing what's at your disposal, so to speak.
I have always been intrigued that a object such as a car can project soul and energy.
Indeed, that is part of the pleasure of owning a hot rod - the emotion that is evoked by simply gazing upon it.
Certainly this sculpture evokes similar emotions. But in addition to the lines and shapes,
the fun of looking at this sculpture is figuring out what all the parts are
(or what all the parts were). And one could spend hours doing just that!
For those of us who enjoy seeing the progression of a build you are in luck.
Michael was kind enough to allow Motorfoot to publish some images
by photographer Justin Craig Roth showing the stages of fabrication.
Prior to Gone Postal, most of Michael's creative thoughts were focused on motorcycles.
"After making seven plus motorcycles I was anxious to build a Hot Rod" Michael said.
"With the engine being the prominent feature in my work the motor had to be exposed.
The classic, and most sought after is the 32' coupe, it's the one you picture when you think Hot Rod."
Michael started building Gone Postal in 2002
and completed the work in 2006.
Early on in the four year build Michael recognized the similarities in the shapes of the
top of a mailbox and the back of a 32' coupe. "The scale was a perfect size."
Unfortunately finding a donor mailbox is not as easy as one would expect.
"The frustrating part" Michael said "was acquiring a mailbox with out evoking the wrath of the
FBI or Homeland Security. At the time my brother's girlfriend's mother, who worked
at a post office put me in touch with the right person. He had access to the damaged
mailboxes. The mailbox was given to me on condition that I removed the paint
and photographed the cut box."
So where does Michael come up with the many parts that make up his sculptures?
"My friends and acquaintances tend to donate parts.
Sometimes people just drop things off on the studio porch. Other times people read
about what we do (me and my dad) and make a call to bring over things they think
we'll like. Also there are times when I'll buy parts at a flea market,
I've learned not to tell some venders what I do with the item. If they knew that
it was for art or would be cut apart, they won't sell it to me."
Since Gone Postal Michael has been busy working on a few more four wheeled creations.
He just finished a 1960's slingshot dragster featuring a blown Hemi with NOS.
Also in the works is a salt flat hot rod and a Supercharged flathead going
into a sedan body, and a turbocharged plane. If it has an engine, Michael interested!
Although Michael hasn't mentioned it, I can see him venturing into the realm of
steam engine transport too!
Michael’s studio is in Roslindale MA and you can visit by appointment.
Michael also commissions sculptures and accepts donations of interesting 'junk' parts.
>> motorfoot.com/gallery - Check out more build pictures in the Motorfoot Gallery!
>> Rat Rod Inspiration - Part 1 - Also on Motorfoot.
>> michaelulman.com - Find out more about the artist and his machines.