Tony Fisher: From Hot Rod Fenders to Textured Metal Art
Corvallis native Tony Fisher is no stranger to working with his hands as well as with metal. His family has owned Ken Fisher Auto & Truck Repair since 1982. You might already know some of Fisher’s work, or another incarnation of his work, as his first creative love and profession for the last 25 years has been restoring classic hot rods. “My first car was a ‘72 Nova,” said Fisher. His most recent handiwork, however, is of a slightly different nature, though still working with the same medium. He describes his style as textured metal art.
When asked about how and when he became an artist, Fisher replied that he created his first piece last August. He said that when remodeling his shop, one of the new walls in the front office had a breaker box that he wanted covered up. He ended up using his grinding tools and went to town on a piece of metal to create something to cover the unsightly intrusion. Someone saw Fisher’s work and purchased it. There was then a need to create another piece. At that point, a simple necessity turned into something more like a passion. “The more I explored my art, the more I became aware of new techniques and discovered new ways to make art; it has also been very therapeutic.” Fisher lost his twin brother, deputy sheriff Terry B. Fisher, unexpectedly last summer, and expressed that the process of making art has also been a way for him to work through his grief.
Fisher’s artwork is solid and definitely dynamic. Using a grinder as his “paintbrush,” he works in layers to achieve the finished product. Color is added after the image is ground out by painting on spray pigments. “Sometimes, I grind over the paint and a new color emerges,” explained Fisher. Having no formal training in art, other than some high school art courses, it’s more than apparent that Fisher has raw talent. He stated that he loved to read, as well as create his own comics as a kid and always liked to draw. His piece titled “The Iron Eagle” is especially eye-catching. The wings and feathers of the eagle showcase impeccable skill and attention to detail. Another favorite is “The Year of the Dragon.” In this piece, a fiery, undulating dragon coils its way across the “canvas.” The gyrating serpent-like creature almost looks alive. The way the light bounces off of the filed metal creates a holographic effect that’s best seen in person.
Fisher confided that he’d like to make more time for his art and maybe turn it into a part-time business in the future. “I’d really like to explore more to see what this could turn into,” he said. For now, he continues to create new artwork as he has the time, and also continues to raise funds for his brother’s family through the sale of his work.