Last year over Thanksgiving weekend, I wrote about the whimsical sea creatures of the metal artisan Dave Dunn, who draws inspiration from his family’s coastal home locations. Over the past year, he continues to refine his work and increase the diversity of his nature-inspired sea creatures as well as fantasy works, including his “Leviathan” and “Dragon” creatures.
Dave’s workday still begins by looking at life that exists in and around the Bay waters and foraging for items he then re purposes into new life forms. Industrial parts, bike gear mechanisms, clamps, bolts, and other items from debris washed up on the beach are transformed in his creative hands into boldly colored “sea creatures.” Many of his new works are hydro-dipped and multicolored as in the past, but current creations have different colors.
Dave’s Eastern Shore Autumn Collection includes classic fall colors such as green and brown but also shades of purple and the silver tones of a new group of creatures. Dave continues to work both from his small studio in Bozman and a larger studio space in Silver Spring, MD.
Once completed, his new creations don’t reside in the studio for long. The “Crab King,” made from repurposed bike cassettes and chains, traveled to California to become the centerpiece of an LA law firm conference room table. The “Octopus Chieftain,” made from repurposed trailer hitch balls and chains, now lives in a DC dental office. The “Chieftain’s” larger cousin, the “Octopus King,” first exhibited at the Easton Academy of Art Museum, now has a permanent island home with a client of a Key West Interior Designer. A pair of Eastern shore collectors have expanded their “Dunninmetal” menagerie to include five sea and insect creatures in their garden overlooking Harris Creek.
Dave is especially delighted when clients commission him to create new work and present him with what he calls a “Creature Challenge.” Bozman resident, Commander Everett Alvarez, Ret., was the first American aviator shot down over Vietnam and the longest-held prisoner of war in North Vietnam. This summer, his wife and son commissioned Dave to create a birthday surprise for Commander Alvarez. Dave used a repurposed WWII helmet to create a “Roadrunner,” Commander Alvarez’s squadron’s mascot.
After only one year, Dave’s art can be found in collections and gardens in Paris, France, Shelter Island, NY, New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Key West, FL, Hunt Country, VA, and numerous Eastern Shore locations.