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'Upcycled' Metal Work Among Art On Display at Peoria Heights Art Show

Steve Tarter

Marty Mitchell is literally turning trash into treasure with his art while producing lamps fashioned from old fire extinguishers.

The former Caterpillar IT employee will showcase many of his works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 22 at the Peoria Heights Fine Arts Show.

“I call it ‘upcycling.’ I like to take objects that have been discarded by people, whether it’s old restaurant equipment or tools or other items made of steel. I’ll make sculptures and wall hangings out of these objects,” said Mitchell, 64, who calls his enterprise M2MetalArt.

Mitchell used to go through alleys looking for art items, but said that the present supply of bric-a-brac in his garage will probably last several years.

That doesn’t mean Mitchell is entirely through with trash-picking. “As I drive around, if I spot something, I’ll stop and pick it up,” he said.

As one of 61 artists who will display work at the art fair on Saturday, Mitchell said he had created more than a year’s worth of objects during the pandemic.

“I have nightlights made from tuna cans and a full-sized sculpture of a cat that weighs 45 pounds,” he said.

As for future efforts, Mitchell said the recent purchase of a large roll of old wire gave him his next project.

“I see that as a horse’s head,” he said.

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