There is no doubt that life as an artist is difficult. From struggling to hone your craft to fighting for the respect of your peers and the attention of an audience, it’s often seen as a career only pursued by the obsessed. While we’re certain that you don’t need to be insane to be a successful artist, we’re also pretty sure that it doesn’t hurt to be at least a little compulsive in your dedication.
When it comes to driven art, Ono Gaf may fit the archetype to perfection. And if you disagree, you can take it up with that giant, hand-built turtle standing over him!
It’s often said that great artists are only appreciated after they’re dead, but Ono Gaf, who’s recently gained world-wide attention thanks to his monstrous metal turtle, is smashing that idea with a giant steel mallet.
▼And looking more badass than Professor Badass while doing it.
Ono, an Indonesian artist whose primary medium is steel and iron, has been obsessed with his artistic pursuits from a young age–despite early admonishment from his father. Though he also paints, he’s gotten the most attention for his amazing sculptures.
▼His backyard also looks like a scrap iron yard.
Where others might see trash, Ono sees possibility. Though most Indonesian artists apparently use wood, this sculptor prefers steel and iron, because “[it] lasts.” As Ono told the Jakarta Post, he learned how to forge and weld and found he could “communicate with metal.” Unfortunately, he hit a bit of a roadblock–at first, most people didn’t consider his work art because of the medium.
Fortunately, not everyone was so closed-minded. Ono got his first bit of good luck from a Dutch doctor who paid ten times the asking price for one of Ono’s works just “to encourage him.” Since then, Ono has gone from taking commissions from military officers looking for something unique to 11 exhibitions where he’s met more and more foreign artists and collectors.
The work earning Ono the most attention right now is the behemoth of a turtle pictured below. Equal parts Darwinian mutant and Transformers, this hulking metal sculpture is nothing short of amazing.
▼Or is this a behemoth of a tortoise?
▼My what giant steel claws of (slow) doom you have!
▼Bolt cutters for a jaw!
▼We’re guessing this guy won’t be surfing the East Australian Current any time soon.
▼The master and his creation!
Of course, with over four decades working as an artist, the 64-year-old Ono has plenty of other creations as well, like these bizarrely beautiful–and slightly terrifying–metal birds.
Though Ono has received some attention from abroad before, his current skyrocketing popularity on the Internet is actually thanks to another artist, Gina Sanderson. The Australian was apparently traveling in Indonesia and got a chance to meet the metal-working sculptor. They are apparently working on a plan to bring Ono to Australia–which could result in even more giant metal creatures to blow our minds. A huge thank you goes out to Gina for bringing this genius to the world.
Now, we just need to get Ono to work building a life-size statue of Mechagodzilla!